Vocabulary Expansion

I am not going to say that I have never uttered one of the more inflammatory words in our collective vocabulary.  But I can say that I have made a conscious effort over the last 18 months or so to not use it, and have done a pretty good job at it.  And I am hesitant to type it now, but I have to, just to be able to move on with this post.  I am talking about the word “retard.”  According to dictionary.com, the 4th definition of the word is a slang version and means “a mentally retarded person or a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way.”  The primary definition is to “make slow; delay the development or progress of.”

What we all know is that, as a whole, it is used in everyday vernacular to disparage, not to describe the fact that sandbags can retard the progress of heavy rains coming in through your front door.  Even if you do not want to admit it, at some point, you have probably taken the easy way out and looked at the person with Down Syndrome and thought or even said that word about them.  No, you would not have the guts to say it to their face, you would rather snicker to your friends about the person.  Maybe it was not the person with Down Syndrome, maybe it was the kid with autism or cerebral palsy.  No matter who the target is, ask yourself if saying that about the person really made you feel better about yourself as a person.  I know it never had for me, which is one of many reasons I have attempted to eliminate that word from my vocabulary (even when talking about the slowing down of a potential flood).

The kicker is that I do not have a platform to where I can make a difference with what I do or do not say (as much as I would like to think this blog will change the world, it more or less serves as an avenue to me to vent, and that is fine with me).  Someone like Ann Coulter, on the other hand, has a platform, and has plenty of followers; where I have a whopping 30 Twitter followers, she has over 215,000.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that she is one of those people who just loves to make idiotic comments or fling stuff against the wall to see what sticks, and she generally spews venom anytime she opens her mouth; for some reason, that works for her and people are drawn to her because of it.  But even she should have at least some semblance of decency (although I should know by now that she does not and will not ever have any decency to her) and refrain from sending out tweets to her followers like the one below, referring to supports of President Obama:

“Been busy, but is Obama STILL talking about that video? I had no idea how crucial the retarded vote is in this election.”

The video she references, I assume, is the Mitt Romney “47%” video.

Maybe I am more sensitive to this than most because I volunteer every week working with children with disabilities (Ann would call them something different…see above tweet), and the fact that my autistic daughter will be, if she has not already been, the target of such hate.

Yes, we have freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, so Ann Coulter can certainly use whatever words she chooses to degrade whoever she chooses.  By that same token, I have the right to use some colorful words to describe her, and if you could get inside my head right now, you would certainly get to hear them.  But I realize that it would be nothing but a waste of my time to try to get her to change.  She is a person with a limited vocabulary and a limited ability to understand reason.  She will continue to spew hate toward everyone for everything.  She is the person who famously (infamously?) said “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.” (italics mine)  Of course, someone basically stating that they should not have the right to vote should not surprise anybody, especially when the person spouting idiotic comments about a woman’s right to vote has been investigated for voter fraud.

Back to the issue at hand.  Go ahead and start today by eliminating such an ugly word from your vocabulary.  You will be happy that you did.


8 Responses to Vocabulary Expansion

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