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Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

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Friday, March 20, 2009

President Obama, you have broken my heart

I was a supporter of Presidential candidate Obama for the reason he campaigned that he would fully fund IDEA so that our children can receive all the supports and services needed in order to be fully included in public schools. He lost that support last night when he appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. “President Obama attempted a “joke” about his bowling abilities, and told Leno that his bowling score, with practice, had risen to 129. “That’s very good, Mr. President,” Leno deadpanned. It’s “like the Special Olympics or something,” the president replied. During the campaign season, then-candidate Obama described his bowling skills as “terrible” after scoring 37 when he hit the lanes on the campaign trail in Altoona, Pennsylvania. A perfect score is 300. “

Sure, a White House spokesman said the remark was not intended to disparage Special Olympics athletes, who have intellectual disabilities. “The president “thinks the Special Olympics is a wonderful program that gives an opportunity for people with disabilities from around the world,” said White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton.”

I understand Timothy Shriver has accepted the President’s apology, but for me his remark cannot be “apologized away”. It came from President Obama’s beliefs; that those with intellectual disabilities are “beneath” others in society. It's almost as bad as him using the R-word. You can’t just make an off-hand comment like that if you truly believe in the abilities of those with disabilities. I know I would never make a comment like that, as I know better.

Maybe he meant it only in the context of their athletic ability? Perhaps, but it is still deep rooted belief of his that cannot be explained or apologized away, and no amount of “face” he will no doubt now have at Special Olympics events will change this belief. A belief that will continue to spread through the country, and the world, now that our President espouses it.

I voted for Mr. Obama because he promised change, and provided the promise of Hope to our country. I thought he “got it”.

Instead Mr. President, you have broken my heart. But worse, you have broken my son’s Hope.


Molly C said...

ugh I know. I'm super disappointed.


Molly C said...

oh and a bunch of people have commented that they'd like to see him go up against a special olympics team.

luvmypeanut said...

I'm disappointed too. While I did not put him in office, I was hoping that "change" would be extended to all members of society!!

Unfortunately his comment came off the cuff (where there were no censors)...that says alot and that's what makes me sad.

I'm very sad and he really needs to get on nationwide TV and make an apology to everyone personally, not just apologize to Tim Shriver. His words carry say them!

(((HUGS))) Jan.

My name is Sarah said...

I just send the President a link to my blog post today.

Anonymous said...

I think the President is finally starting to show his true self. God help us all!

Donald Crane said...

I did not vote for him...'change" is only in the words and have never been in his actions or in the actions of those around him. Another very disappointed parent of a 5 yr old with Down Syndrome.

Betsy said...

Shame on him. One thing I disliked about GWB so much was that he was a great speaker as long as he was reading a written script, but as soon as he had to "ad lib" it, he always put his foot in his mouth.

I hope we haven't signed up for four more years of that. :(

Kristen said...

Great letter, thank you!

Pro said...

Obama needs to say he is sorry to the public not just one organization. He has hurt many families in America.

During the campaign for the White House in 2008, the media criticized Palin for being ‘common,’ and ‘not presidential.’ However, compare Sarah Palins attitude in this video created three weeks ago for the Special Olympics in Boise, Idaho.

You decide the more ‘presidential’ among them:

Mauzy said...

Pro I don't see this as a partisan issue. Not at all. I won't follow the link as I won't use this as a political tool for election purposes which is obviously being done, as your blog link is not public.

Mauzy said...

Presidential promises broken yet again. A double whammy hit this month. Obama, you have lost my support.

"Dale declined to reiterate the president’s earlier commitment to full funding for the IDEA. “I think that once the budget comes out and we will certainly be looking at all of the options related to funding,” he said." from Patricia Bauer's blog

jaydee0158 said...

I did not vote for Obama because I truly believed his paved road to the White House was merely a means of the opposing party to regain its power. His arrogance was noticable to me before and even more so now. I have a daughter with T/21, and I am insulted by his remark. As you have said, it shows his true belief, which is not favorable to those with intellectual or physical disabilities. Such a comment would not come from the mouth of someone who has a true compassion for those with disabilities. His true colors are showing more and more. So sad for this country.