Friday, March 20, 2009

My Letter to President Obama, sent today

Dear Mr. President:

Like many other people, I am deeply saddened and disappointed - and personally hurt and offended - after seeing your segment on the Leno show last night during which you made an offhand remark about the Special Olympics. You see, I am the mother of six children; our youngest son, Finnian, is eight months old and has Down syndrome. As a family, we are still in the process of dealing with the emotional hurdles faced by parents who have a child with an unexpected diagnosis of a life-long disability. It is difficult as a parent to come to terms with all of the unique challenges he will face over his lifetime. One of those challenges - and perhaps the greatest - is prejudice, which you made clear is alive and well, even in someone of your caliber - a highly educated man, and the leader of the free world. Shame on you.

What does your comment say about your true feelings about people with disabilities? What does it say about what you are teaching your own children about people with differences?

It is ironic that your comment came during what is being recognized as National Disability Awareness month. Frankly, I am not satisfied with the statements that have been made thus far by your spokespersons on your behalf in an effort to undertake damage control over your remark on Leno. I would like to see you personally show some accountability, without rationalization or excuses, and without patronizing those people with disabilities to whom you apparently feel superior.

I would like to tell you about another of my sons. His name is Kevin, and he is twelve years old. He adores his siblings and is a very protective big brother. Finnian’s special needs have brought out a facet of Kevin that has made me proud beyond words. He has made it his mission to speak out against prejudice towards people with disabilities. He risks humiliation and alienation of his peers (which, at twelve years old, is HUGE) to educate people about the use of language that is offensive and disparaging towards people with disabilities. You, sir, could take a lesson from this twelve-year-old boy.

Sincerely Disappointed,


Lisa Morguess

16 comments:

Tausha said...

You go girl. You would think that someone like Obama, who is part of a race who has fought for equality, justice, acceptance, understanding etc would understand but obviously he feels he is superiour.

Thank you for writing the letter. I posted my comments on the White House web page and sent them to him. What a shameful day for America.

Adrienne said...

Great job Lisa! Supposedly he apologized to the chairman of S.O. but he needs to make a PUBLIC apology, in his own words and by himself. He needs to stand up a be a man and admit he was wrong and sorry and that all Americans need to be aware of this and to change the way we think and talk about people with disabilities. Maybe if he does this it will bring so much more awareness during this month and DS awareness day tomorrow. I really hope he realizes he needs to do this.

Carla said...

An exceptional letter, Lisa. None of us are above being brought to task when we are offensive in word or deed. I hope that Obama takes this as an opportunity to teach his own children and show them how an adult deals with an error they've made...he needs to speak out publicly and apologize for his offensive remark. He rode the tidal wave of late night's version of making "fun" and lost his way in a very offensive manner.

Jen said...

You said it perfectly.

Ugh. I'm just so sad about all of this.

Tausha said...

One more post. To add insult to injury I called my Mom to talk to her about all of this and before I could even say anything she said,"Ican't work this cell phone, Heather (my sister) always tells me I'm so Retarded. To put it mildly I LOST IT!!!!!!! My own family, how hurt I am today. Any suggestions on how to help your family know how hurtful this can be? tbdingman@comcast.net

Maureen said...

Wow, what a fantastic letter. Thank you so much for writing and sharing it with us. Your last paragraph brought me to tears. My 12 year old Kevin feels the same way about Kenneth. I don't mean to be biased; I love all my children as I know you do yours but our Kevin's sure do have a wonderful sensitivity to them, don't they?! I'm often humbled by Kevin's attitude towards Kenneth. We've been blessed with amazing sons.

Steve said...

Wonderful letter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My youngest is multiply handicapped, and I'm still royally ticked at the POTUS for his remarks.

ahanson2001 said...

That was a wonderful letter. I was also very saddened by his comment and couldn't believe he would make such a comment in the first place much less on national tv.

Chrystal said...

I'm drafting a letter as well. So disappointed.

Following Him said...

You rock my world! Digg the letter too :)
~Elyse~

Following Him said...

You rock my world! Digg the letter too :) What he said was uncalled for and RUDE. This is the man that is running America too. Oh boy!
~Elyse~

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Lisa.....you too are my HERO. What an awesome letter.

starrlife said...

What a great letter Lisa. This hit one of my sore spots. I expected more.

Jeanette said...

Great letter! I have a feeling that this is way bigger than he could have imagined!

Pro said...

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:
http://tinyurl.com/ccz6nj

Tara Marie said...

Wonderful letter......