Monday, March 23, 2009

I Bowled A LOT ...

... but I never bowled over a 90 or maybe even less. I also never referred to myself or anyone else in quite the way President Obama did just last week.

Some of you may have been thinking to yourselves, "Hm, why hasn't she jumped on the Bad President Band Wagon?"

Simple. I needed time to think this through. I was surprised to hear a man of his stature make such a gaffe:

“I bowled a 129,” Obama said to Jay Leno on Thursday night. “That’s very good, Mr. President,” said Leno. Obama replied, “It was like Special Olympics or something.”

:I was borderline outraged. Borderline supremely pissed off. Borderline calling the White House and yelling at a staff member. Borderline insensitive to his, er, ah, well, whatever. I thought "give the guy a break."

But where would that get me? More importantly, where would that get all of our very hard working Special Olympians?

Not very far, I think.

So what do I have to say on the subject?

Dear Mr. President:

Initially I was shocked and somewhat stung that you would make such an insensitive, offhand remark comparing yourself to Special Olympians. These athletes work at and practise extremely long hours to accomplish their goals.

I am quite sure that if you were able to travel to Danvers, MA on a Tuesday evening and join the ranks of our SO bowlers you would find that on a bad night for them, they would far surpass your abilities.

But then, you'd have to pay close attention to the bowlers and not their scores.

I'd like to sit down and lecture you the way I feel you sometimes lecture us, but I don't want you to tune out to me, the way I tune out to your voice when you drone on and on about what bad citizens we are.

Read very carefully the next few lines.

I wanted to give you a pass on this. After all, we've been giving George W. Bush passes on his verbal gaffes for way too many years. What's one pass? In this case, it's a lot.

You campaigned opposite a woman who has a son with Down syndrome. You yourself, if you are to be believed, were not immune to teasing, racism, bigotry, discrimination and prejudice. You portray yourself as a man of the people. But what people?

Shame on you Mr. President. For your insensitivity; for your insincerity in suggesting you'd like to invite some Special Olympians to the White House to bowl and to get to know them.

It's time to educate yourself on stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination. Oh, and while you're at it, you need to train your brain to tell your mouth when to shut.

Kathy Zolla

That, my friends, is what I have to say on the subject.


FrankandMary said...

I'll admit I looked at it slightly differently, partly because I thought the fact that so many liberals jumped on some many tiny really-don't-matter-bs things that an Repub said, even when some of things sounded quite accidental. I was sooooooo tired of that and don't ever want to turn into that kind of person. A person who is WAITING for someone to say something wrong so I can bitterly blast them; I've just seen liberals do that way too much and it disgusted me.

And also I cannot be a hypocrite. On AOL journals, when someone was writing about using a diet pill with terrible side affects I wrote that people just shouldn't eat a sheet cake and then they'd not have to worry about it. Now what I MEANT was why the hell would anyone want to risk all the medical problems surfacing from that pill? Just eat less!
Yeah, uhm, I REALLY hurt the feelings of the woman whose journal I wrote that on. REALLY.

I am going on & on. I will defer to you on this one because I think you have a lot more experience with this particular subject matter than I do.

Kathy said...

Ah Mary. You see, it would be easy for me to give a pass to him. I believe we should all learn to accept that life is tough and most people don't necessarily mean to be hurtful. But. This is the President of the United States on a national broadcast. He didn't hurt an individual with his words, nor did he hurt 'just' a few -- he hurt an entire segment of the population -- by taking a step backward in the 'fight' that parents and individuals with special needs battle every day of their lives. Sometimes we forget that special need doesn't apply only to individuals with cognitive difficulties. Sometimes those very Special Olympians are folks with very sharp minds but physical difficulties. I could easily have given him a pass, but his words, the words not only we here in the US hear, are heard worldwide. I know he didn't 'mean anything' by it, but the more explanation offered, the worse it became. In my humble opinion.

I'm no expert on anything. Other than I grew up with a wonderful set of parents, one of whom was a bigot. What I learned from that one, was not to be ... a bigot.

FrankandMary said...

You changed my mind.......

Lisa said...

Hi Kathy... Great entry... good banter going on in the comments too which helps readers understand how important this issue is... so many people do not understand until they have a special needs child or relative. I have an award for you by the way in my "Eight Cool Blogs" entry in my journal... stop by when you can to pick it up... hope you have a great week!
Lisa in KY

Missie said...

My nephew is currently training in swimming right now for the special olympics. Needless to say....his comment didn't go well with my family.

Lynne said...

I posted on this subject matter too. I am sorry to hear that he went for public image repair vs. being real about it. Sad.

Mary, I am stopping by because you won an award on Lisa's blog. Congratulations! Look forward to reading more of your posts.

~ Lor said...

Can you believe this is the first I've heard of this? We all have our days where we stick our foots in our mouth, but it still makes me sad.