Hey, Ann Coulter: Really? Again?

Ann Coulter tweet calls President Obama retarded – for a second time. He's gonna be OK. But for most folks, while sticks and stones won't break your bones, words can really hurt you.

Reuters
Ann Coulter called President Obama a "retard" in an Oct. 22 tweet. Here, Ms. Coulter addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Feb. 10, 2012.

Words are all we have, to paraphrase the Bee Gees. Words express ideas. Words change lives, for better or for worse. Words like "I Have a Dream” or “Tear down this wall” or more recently Malala Yousufzai's "I have the right of education" are revolutionary.  Words that are slurs are marginalizing, hurtful, destructive. Choosing our words wisely isn't about being politically correct. It's about being better human beings.  

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If the late Sen. Joseph Welch were here today I think he’d say, not to Joe McCarthy, but to Ann Coulter, “have you no sense of decency?”

For any of you who haven't heard, Ms. Coulter has referred to our president not once but twice, on Twitter as a "retard.”  President Obama has been called names before, so I’m not worried about him.  He can take it. He’s a forgiving man. That being said, it's reprehensible to treat a US president with anything but respect even if you disagree with him.

Especially if you disagree with him.  

So maybe Coulter was paying him a compliment? Anyone who has ever watched the Special Olympics, or known someone with Down syndrome would agree that to be called retarded is the same as being called brave, courageous, inspiring.  

Our children learn their words from us, the grown-ups in the room. They call each other “gay” or “retarded” and mean it (truly mean it) as a put-down because that’s what they've heard adults say.  

The same goes for the “n” word and all the derogatory terms for women that punctuate some rap songs.  

Face it folks, sticks and stones won't break your bones, but words can really hurt you. What do most of us have a hard time getting over? The hurtful things others have said about us. So let's clean up our verbal act. Meanness is contagious, but so is kindness. Let's take a time-out from the vitriol.

Are you listening Ann? Can you kick it up a notch? Can you be a caring, compassionate role model for young women and men everywhere?

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As Stephen Sondheim wrote in his  wonderful musical 'Into the Woods:' 

Careful the things you say

Children will listen

Careful the things you do

Children will see and learn

Children may not obey, but children will listen

Children will look to you for which way to turn

To learn what to be

Careful before you say "Listen to me"

 My thoughtful wise and wonderful daughter says the way to defeat Coulter is to ignore her. But I can't. So I guess I'm just going to have to love the hell out of her.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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