Those who know me know that I am not very political. I am not a dedicated democrat or a dedicated republican. I do make my voting choices through speeches and on where these politicians stand on various issues.
As you can imagine, I am up in arms over the insensitive and crude remarks made by Democrat Harry Braun during his speech at the Iowa Caucus. It is extremely disheartening to hear a public figure, one who wants to run for president no less, say
“Are you going to go and have your blood checked to see how many poisons you have in it or do you want a child like [Sarah Palin's son] Trigg who is never going to grow up?... “We have millions of them now and we don’t even talk about it.”
--Harry Braun, Democrat
You all know that I tend to ramble a bit, but I am hoping that I have gotten my point across in this letter emailed to:
I am writing as a concerned citizen. I am writing because I would like to believe that you have been misinformed or are just plain ignorant about people with different needs.
While the environment is a noble and one that must be addressed, the use of a politician’s family members, especially a small child with special needs, is completely unacceptable and in poor taste. In actuality, targeting a specific group of people as the result of gender, race or ability is defined as Hate Speech.
You see, my aunt who was born in 1958, and my 2 year-old daughter, Ellie have Down syndrome. Like Sarah Palin’s son, Trigg, they have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. That means they carry 47 chromosomes instead of the 46 chromosomes that you and I possess. That means people with Down syndrome take longer to learn and longer to walk and longer to talk. However, they will & do learn, walk, and talk, just like everyone else. Just like you.
Down syndrome was actually first “labeled” as Down syndrome back in the 1860’s by Dr. John Langdon Down. It is a syndrome that has been around for centuries. . . long before the energy crisis. That is not my point. However, my point is that in your speech, you have offended many people--parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, and uncles by targeting a specific group of people. You have targeted those with Down syndrome. I have had the privilege to grow up around my Aunt Peggy who has made me a better person. Now, my life has been completed and bettered by my daughter Ellie who will, might I add, “grow up” just as my Aunt Peggy and numerous other individuals who carry that extra 21 chromosome have.
Did you know that many adults with Down syndrome work? Did you know that they vote? Get married? Drive? Did you know that they are tax-paying FIRST-rate citizens?
It was very heartbreaking to hear your speech. I only hope that you, personally, read my letter and take it to heart. That you find yourself more educated and that you take it upon yourself to apologize to everyone. This is your opportunity to set the record straight. This is your chance, while you have the media’s attention, to show that you can learn from experience and are willing to admit that you made a grave mistake in dragging a fellow politician’s little child into a campaign and insulting a group of fellow Americans.
If you would like more information, I encourage you to visit the National Down Syndrome Society at http://www.ndss.org
You may also learn more about Down syndrome and about my beautiful, smart daughter Ellie at http://ellietheurer.blogspot.com
Anna C. Theurer
When, or more likely IF I get a response, I will be sure to update this post.
Co-Founder of Stop Disability Slurs http://www.facebook.com/stopdisabilityslurs