Unapologetic ignorance

Ann Coulter is rude, no surprises there

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Whether you’re a Spider-Man fan or not, that ubiquitous phrase pretty much applies to nearly everything in our lives.

By Emily Lakehomer
Ann Coulter is rude, no surprises there

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Whether you’re a Spider-Man fan or not, that ubiquitous phrase pretty much applies to nearly everything in our lives.

It’s always surprising when someone with vast political sway does something incredibly immature and unwarranted. That’s precisely what happened a few weeks ago on Ann Coulter’s Twitter account.

After the final presidential debate, Coulter tweeted: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.” Shortly after, she used the word a second time while reprimanding Obama for using the term “Stage 3 Romnesia,” saying that he was making fun of cancer.

With a Twitter audience of more than 200,000, it’s no wonder Coulter’s tweet didn’t go unnoticed.

Shortly after the first tweet, Coulter came under attack from every angle. As is tradition when a celebrity says something not-so-nice, Twitter users, concerned parents, doctors and many others came together in an attempt to persuade Coulter to acknowledge that her words were both inappropriate and rude.

Rather than acknowledge a fault, Coulter responded to her critics by saying, “Screw them” on a Fox News Radio show. The Huffington Post reported that Coulter didn’t regret what she said because “she wasn’t referring to someone with a disability.”

Whether or not she meant it as a derogatory slur, Coulter shouldn’t have used the r-word in the first place. Instead, she’s defended herself, saying she’s a victim of “authoritarian bullying.”

Her defense? She said, “Look, no one would refer to a Down syndrome child, someone with an actual mental handicap, by saying ‘retard.’ Where do you think the words ‘imbecile,’ ‘idiot,’ ‘moron,’ ‘cretin’ come from? These were all technical terms at one time. ‘Retard’ had been used colloquially to just mean ‘loser’ for 30 years.”

Which she followed with, “But no, no—these aggressive victims have to come out and tell you what words to use.”

Real mature, Ann.

Just because society’s changed a word’s meaning doesn’t make it all right for someone to throw it around with no regard for the audience. Sure, we have the right to free speech, but we should know better than to feel comfortable using offensive words and terminology.

Since the Twitter scandal, a petition calling for Coulter to apologize has made the rounds. An Arizona man who signed the petition said, “My special needs nephew is one hundred times the human that Ann Coulter will ever be. She should make a public apology and save us from ever having to listen to her insipid harangues ever again,” according to the Huffington Post.

The public’s general response mirrors that of this man, and many Special Olympics athletes have come out against Coulter as well.

John Franklin Stephens, who has Down syndrome, posted a blog that said Coulter and the rest of society need to learn that “being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor,” and that “no one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.”

When it comes down to it, Coulter is a major player in the world of political commentary. Whether we like her or not, there will always be people who agree with the wacky, inappropriate and just plain rude things she says.

Even if she didn’t have the strange amount of support from people all over the U.S. that she does, she’d still say questionable things. We can’t control what she says or does, and even if the petition gets enough signatures, it’s no guarantee that Coulter will make an apology, or that it will influence what she says in the future.

We need to remain incredibly critical of this level of ignorance and blatant disregard for others, but we also have to remember that Coulter is only human. Humans make mistakes, and we don’t have much control over what other people say.

That’s life.

By being conscious of the things we say and do, however, we can avoid becoming insensitive, rude and downright foolish. You know, like Coulter.