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Letters Published in August 20, 2008 Issue
August 20, 2008 - Letter submitted by Dan Webber, president, Knightstown Neighborhood Crime Watch
To the person(s) who took the Neighborhood Crime Watch sign:
Upon patrol Saturday, August 9, I noticed a sign that we had placed at Church Street and Star Boulevard in Raysville had been taken. If you would, please return the sign to the Knightstown Police Department, or put it back up. I know where every sign was placed.
August 20, 2008 - Letter submitted by Steve Wilkerson and Jessica Vaughn
We would like to thank the following for helping out with Girls Optimist softball: Melissa Brown; Jordan Howard; Lane Olsheske; Bobby Wyatt; Chelsie Howard; Ervin Olsheske; Paul Fowler; Cary Ellis for umpiring; ladies in the concession stand; Larry Loveall; Rusty Richardson for helping on the field when needed; and Gina and Dennis Miller for umpiring and helping to do anything needed and working on the field. Big thanks to Todd Lawhorne for being there anytime we needed him, and for installing electricity on the girls field, fixing the lights and bringing your own equipment to work on the field. Thanks also to anyone else we forgot.
August 20, 2008 - Letter submitted by Nate LaMar, Henry County councilman
These are trendy times in which we live. It is trendy to buy Starbuck's, Crocs, and books about John Adams. It is also trendy, fashionable, and "politically-correct" to support Obama, because he is the first African-American with a serious shot at the Presidency.
Before jumping on the Obama bandwagon, let's do something our "politically-correct" media has not done. Let's examine his voting record. National Journal, a well-respected non-partisan analyzer of voting records, determined Obama to be the most liberal U.S. senator in 2007 (NJ, Jan. 31, 2008). This is more than just name-calling. Rather, to quote Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer for MSNBC, "Votes on legislation have the virtue of being concrete and precise, showing a pattern of belief and conviction." (Feb. 21, 2008).
Here is how Senator Obama voted on some key issues (How would YOU vote on these?):
1. Repeal the estate tax: NO (SConRes 21, Mar. 23, 2007)
2. Support embryonic stem-cell research: YES (S5, April 11, 2007).
3. Support non-embryonic stem-cell research: NO (S30, April 11, 2007).
4. Require the disclosure of information on visa applicants to law enforcement officers: NO (S1348, June 6, 2007).
5. Permit labor union organizers to bypass secret-ballot requirements if a majority of eligible workers sign a union card: YES (HR800, June 26, 2007).
6. Define a fetus as an "unborn child": NO (HR976, August 2, 2007).
7. Renew for six months authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to review communications of suspected terrorists without a court order: NO (S1927, August 3, 2007).
8. Provide more due process rights to detainees of the U.S. government: YES (HR1585, September 19, 2007).
Trends and fads come and go. Starbuck's will soon leave New Castle, among over 600 other locations nationwide. Crocs will go the way of bell-bottoms. John Adams biographies will soon be available only in libraries. Just as actions speak louder than words, voting records speak louder than empty rhetoric. When voters look at the Obama voting record, the Obama fad will quickly pass like so many others before it.
August 20, 2008 - Letter submitted by John Dickerson, executive director, The Arc of Indiana; Michael Furnish, president/CEO, Special Olympics Indiana; Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez, executive director, Down Syndrome Indiana; Sarah Baldini, state director, Best Buddies Indiana; Betty Williams, president, Self-Advocates of Indiana
DreamWorks' new comedy, Tropic Thunder, which opens in theaters this week, includes a character called "Simple Jack" played by actor Ben Stiller. Simple Jack has an intellectual disability (formerly commonly referred to as "mental retardation") and is an object of derision in the film. The movie contains frequent use of the word retard (in fact, it is said 16 times in one scene in the film) and other insulting terms to describe this character.
The movie brings to light an issue that deserves attention. The "R-word," or retard, has found a place in common language and seems to be generally accepted. The word hurts, even if it is not directed at a person with intellectual disabilities. It is time to take a stand against a word that has gained popularity in culture, but is offensive to so many.
It is time for a simple change - stop using the "R-word."
Mocking people that we know have historically been oppressed (such as African Americans) or have some type of physical disability (such as persons with paraplegia) is, thankfully, generally not considered funny theses days. Yet, some people are less enlightened in their attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities. While the "N- word" is firmly prohibited, the "R-word" is still widely accepted in our homes, schoolyards, and movie theatres.
Why is that? Perhaps people are unaware of the fundamental disregard for the rights and well-being of people with intellectual disabilities in most parts of the world. Perhaps people are unaware that intellectual disability is a condition usually developed in utero and not one for which people volunteer. Perhaps people have not read about children with Down syndrome in underdeveloped countries tied to their beds for years in filthy institutions; or about the estimated 80 percent of girls and women in this country with intellectual disabilities who are sexually abused. Perhaps people are not aware that more than six million individuals with intellectual disabilities in the United States have suffered severe consequences including: institutionalization, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; denial of education, employment, and healthcare; and segregation and targeted hate crimes.
Maybe if only more people knew, they would not find using the "R-word" funny.
Language frames how we think about others. Attitudes and expectations of the public, in part, determine the degree to which children, adolescents and adults with intellectual disabilities are able to learn, work and live alongside their peers without disabilities. It is time to respect and value people with intellectual disabilities. It is time to stop using the "R-word."
To learn more about how you can help promote dignity and stop the use of the “R-word,” visit: www.arcind.org; www.r-word.org; www.saind.org; www.bestbuddiesindiana.org; www.downsyndromeindiana.org; or www.soindiana.org.
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