Sarah Palin on Abortion for Handicapped Kids

Wednesday, September 9, AD 2015

 

Sarah Palin of course walks the walk on this issue.  For an alternative view from a pro-abort fanatic who has a Down Syndrome child, claims to love her, and still opposes laws banning abortion for Down Syndrome children, go here.  Oh yes, she also says that if she knew her child, that she claims to now love, had Down Syndrome, she would not have hesitated to abort.

There are many folks — some of whom are in the Down syndrome community — who look at my story and point to it smugly as a tale of a woman who thought having a child with Down syndrome would be her worst nightmare, but triumphed. But my relationship with my daughter was something that had to develop on its own; if I had had a prenatal diagnosis, but had been forced to continue the pregnancy like Ohio legislators want, it would have been a disaster.

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4 Responses to Sarah Palin on Abortion for Handicapped Kids

  • “…oh yes, she also says that if she knew her child, that she claims she now loves, had Down Syndrome, she would not have hesitated to abort.”

    Wow! With a mother like this who needs Isis?

    So when this loved daughter of hers reads mommy’s statement I’m sure it will be a “bonding moment” for them both. Could you imagine your mother making that statement about you, your ailment? Talk about insanity.

    Please say a prayer to De-fund WTM Inc..
    At 10:30am Eastern time, the House Judiciary Committee will be hearing testimony from two abortion survivors. The act’s of PP and the mentality of the mother who is loving (?) her Down Syndrome daughter, well, they are grotesque.

  • One more please….Sarah hits a Home run!
    “Tolerance for people who are a little bit different! ”

    Dunk that in your coffee liberal media!

  • Sarah Palin has always been a heroine to me, especially given the hatred visited on her head by the left wing maniacs.

  • Hatred for Sarah is putting it lightly.

    They are going to reap what they sow Paul.
    A very sad, infested lot, the libs for death group.
    Sickening bunch of demons.

Love Makes All the Difference

Friday, October 24, AD 2014

20 Responses to Love Makes All the Difference

  • Perfection. Your love for God and family is nothing less than perfection.

    Todays psalm 24:3,4 reads; “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He (Larry) whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.”

    Your description of your love for Larry is incense so sweet and so pleasing to God most high. It’s extremely sad that the woman in the story could not find what your family has such an abundance of…love.

    God is Love.
    Peace Mr. McClarey.
    Peace.

  • Beautiful writing Don. So inspired by faith, and so inspired by your son Larry.

  • Thank you Philip and Tom. God has been gracious to me in surrounding me with good people throughout my life. Larry was the icing on the cake.

  • Donald McClarey: “Christ gave us as His two great commands: Love God and Love our Neighbor. No one is more our neighbor than the children God gives us. Without this love, a pale reflection of the love that God has for each of us, we are but poor beasts indeed.”
    .
    Stunningly beautiful.

  • Such a gorgeous and elegant response to that horrifying article, Mr. McClarey. My twin brother Patrick is autistic and also has seizures (though he hasn’t had one in over a year, thank God). He can be such a pain sometimes, but this just affirms the fact that he’s human. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

  • Thank you Mary and Rodney for your very kind comments.

  • Yours is the story and the example that should have been presented to the recent Synod on the Family, Donald. You turned a Cross – the disability of your son – into a Crown of how life should be. When I read your description of Larry and his disability, I am reminded of what St Paul wrote, that the power of God is made perfect in human weakness. Thus does disability turn from detriment into asset. Should we ask to become half as disabled? If only to become half as holy? For without holiness no man shall see God.

  • “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

  • Veritatis Splendor – 80. “[…] Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat laborers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator.” (132)
    .

    Sipping from the poisonous cup of social justice . . . Doubt and confusion. Muddy the waters. It’s how they rationalize advancing abortion and all the evils attendant with progressivism.

  • My hope is that you may be led to reach out in love rather than reject in condemnation.

    Is this woman, who has expressed her feelings, not your neighbor?

    Might you consider laying down the stone and sharing your love?

  • Elizabeth, this woman wishes she had slain her son and encourages other women carrying Down’s children to do so. The height of love is sometimes to tell someone when they are acting like a monster.

  • You have brought tears to my eyes Donald, esp when I got the the two words, “my boy”.
    That love and the difference between you, your wife and other children, and that woman.. is grace. Available to her too, but it must be received.
    You have grown closer to God no doubt because of Larry. Thank you for being willing to share with us.

  • Thank you Anzlyne. My eyes often well up when I think of Larry, but that is counterbalanced by the fact that I know I will see him again. That, and the good memories of him that will remain with me throughout the rest of my journey through this vale of tears.

  • Mr. McClarey, you and your family accepted your son Larry as a blessing rather than as a cross to bear -although I’m sure there were times it felt like a cross, as all parents who love their children know.

    Children with disabilities force their parents to realize that these children will always need them and that the carefree retirement in the Sunbelt and long vacations and ocean cruises aren’t going to happen. The ones who look to the Lord can find the strength to deal with the situation. Those who are selfish – and who isn’t a little selfish from time to time, as I can be – act like the lady in the Daily Mail. One day she will meet her Maker and answer why she did not want to carry her cross.

  • Extraordinary words and writing, Mr. McClarey, and beyond “touching the heart”.

    I have briefly commented before that I am honored to be the guardian for my brother, Joe, who like Larry was, is an autistic adult; in Joey’s case, is blessed with extraordinary good health and strength; but like Larry did, he makes our lives every day unique, intriguing and decidedly un-dull. Like Larry, he loves to lead us in prayers, esp. before meals (can’t drop that!), and prays the “Eternal Rest” prayers also for all the family before every sitting; he also loves going to Mass and knows it is something very important about God and Jesus and “Sweet Virgin Mary” (=his articulation). At Mass: he is quiet as a mouse–amazing! And perhaps best of all, I am/we are always fortunate to have someone who will always say the Rosary with me/us, no matter how long the drive and no matter how many Mysteries we’ve gone through already. A veritable Rosary Machine!
    I can only imagine the hole in one’s life without Larry, based on how much I wonder how poor would my life and a very generous Mrs. Phoenix’s life would be, without Uncle Joe.
    ….
    What is the value of a life, and its meaning? “I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born. I do wish I had an abortion. I wish it every day.” (Daily Mail excerpt) Some people will never know: the value of a life. It is the secret of a life, the secret of the Rosary, the secret of God’s presence in unbelievable circumstances. Franz Werfel said it best: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible”.

  • “My eyes often well up when I think of Larry,”
    Don, mine did reading this. Thank you

  • Thanks, Don. I needed to read this.

  • “I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born.”

    Less complicated, maybe, but happier? That is the fatal assumption far too many people make in our culture of death: that less complication, less inconvienience, less effort and less pain always equal more happiness. Many people discover, far too late, that this is not true.

    Oddly enough, I stumbled across a VERY lengthy article in Newsweek (online) yesterday concerning a rather sordid case of a wealthy New York woman on trial for murdering her autistic son. The article goes off into quite a few tangents about the mystery of autism, the search for cures, the “neurodiversity” movement (which advocates accepting autistic youth and adults as they are rather than trying to change them), etc. but way, way, down toward the end of the story is one priceless quote that could apply to any disability:

    “A day at Oak Hill (a residential school/facility for autistic youth in California) reminds you that autism spectrum disorder is exactly as complicated, frustrating and inscrutable as human existence disorder. This, I think, is where the neurodiversity crowd, which can sometimes lapse into anti-science, has a point: Autistic people are, above all, people. We all have our own pathologies. Some are visible. Some are not. Some we can cure. Some, not yet. Some, maybe never.”

  • “You have one here who is greater than the prophets.” Jesus Christ was not referring to His divinity. Jesus Christ was referring to His humanity. Jesus Christ was referring to the opportunity of people to love.

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Jesus Wept

Tuesday, August 26, AD 2014

 

 

Since my beloved son Larry died last year, not a day has gone by that I have not thought of him.  Immediately after his death I would think about him, literally, almost every minute of each day.  Now it is usually once every 15 minutes.  He enriched beyond measure the life of myself and my bride and I miss him with all my heart.  Larry had autism, and, as a result of his autism, my conversations with him were limited in words, although we each got our meanings across.  I greatly admired the way in which my son did not let his disability add sorrow to his life, and the joy he normally radiated warmed my soul.  I have had several privileges in my life that have been granted me by God, but I think the greatest was being entrusted with Larry.

Then I read how some parents who are having their unborn children tested for Down Syndrome react:

 

Rayna Rapp, a former abortion clinic worker who aborted a baby with Down syndrome herself, conducted a survey of women and couples who sought amniocentesis to screen for Down syndrome and other problems with their babies. All of the interviewees intended to abort if the baby was found to have Down syndrome. Some of the things that these parents say about Down syndrome children are deeply troubling to anyone who values life. Here are some comments from men and women who said they would abort if the test came back positive for Down.

  • I would have a very hard time dealing with a retarded child. Retardation is relative, it could be so negligible that the child is normal, or so severe that the child has nothing… All of the sharing things you want to do, the things you want to share with a child – that, to me, is the essence of being a father. There would be a big void that I would feel. I would feel grief, not having what I consider a normal family.(133)

  • I have an image of how I want to interact with my child, and that’s not the kind of interaction I want, not the kind I could maintain. (133)

  • I’m sorry to say I couldn’t think about raising a child with Down’s. I’m something of a perfectionist. I want the best for my child. I’ve worked hard, I went to Cornell University, I’d want that for my child. I’d want to teach him things he couldn’t absorb. I’m sorry I can’t be more accepting, but I’m clear I wouldn’t want to continue the pregnancy.( 133 – 134)

  • The bottom line is when my neighbor said to me: “Having a “tard,” that’s a bummer for life.” (91)

  • I just couldn’t do it, couldn’t be that kind of mother who accepts everything, loves her kid no matter what. What about me? Maybe it’s selfish, I don’t know. But I just didn’t want all those problems in my life. (138)

  • If he can’t grow up to have a shot at becoming the president, we don’t want him.(92)

  • It’s devastating, it’s a waste, all the love that goes into kids like that. (134)

  • I think it’s kind of like triage, or like euthanasia. There aren’t enough resources in the world. We’d have to move, to focus our whole family on getting a handicapped kid a better deal… Why spend $50,000 to save one child?(146)

All of these mothers and fathers (for they are already mothers and fathers to their babies growing in the womb) had chosen to have abortions if the baby had Down. The book did not specify which pregnancies actually tested positive and how many went on to abort. But all of the quotes above were made by men and women who fully intended to kill their babies if they turned out to be mentally challenged.

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28 Responses to Jesus Wept

  • With parents attitudes as bleak and weak as theirs, who in Gods name would want to be their children?

    You are given an Angel that just also happened to be in human form, and just so happened to be created from the love you your wife and God share.
    This Angel wasn’t pure spirit mind you, however Donald was close to that caliber. I say this because I have a neice that is a Downs syndrome baby, and the light that fills our hearts comes from her smile love and positive energy.

    You are given of of Gods greatest gifts, and there is no past tense here.
    He loves you sees you and hugs you.
    He lives in our homeland. He calls you “my dad on Earth.”

    You’ve been so blessed to share his years on Earth…as he was just as blessed to share in your families years.
    Peace Donald.

  • “The sins of the fathers will be visited on the children for ten generations.” Jesus fell under the cross three times. The Downs syndrome child is doing reparation for the ten generations before him. Least a person could do is appreciate the sacrifice, the Downs Child is making for all of us…lest God wipe us all from the face of the earth. Thank you dear. See you in heaven when we will talk.
    .
    The Downs child is more one of us than any other.
    .
    The despicable responses from those who have contempt for God and God’s people is pukes.

  • typos…excuse me please. “…however Donald he was close to that caliber.”

    “You are given one of Gods greatest gifts.”

    Mr. McClarey. I write from my heart.
    The posts about your mom and your son
    Reveal a love of and from God.
    It is in this spirit that my poor fingers fly faster than my intellect. Please keep this in mind. I love God and try to love my neighbors in His love. I’m in great awe of parents like you.

  • What a gift you had in your son, Larry.

    One day you’ll be reunited in Heaven…forever. Then there’ll be no more tears.

  • “Then there’ll be no more tears.”

    Only eternal joy and the love that surpasses our understanding here below.

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  • “I will eventually summon up the will to pray for these parents…They are the truly disabled, in heart and soul, not the priceless children who have the misfortune to be their offspring.”
    God yes. That brought a tear to my eyes Don, knowing the loss that these parents unknowingly have. The truly disabled. Yes indeed, pray for them.

  • We can pray that when these twisted souls have a normal child, God will use them to save their parents.

    In Christ there is always hope!

  • Their excuses are all I Self and Me – the essence of liberalism, progressivism, modernism – whatever you want to call it.
    .
    God bless you Donald for how much you loved Larry.

  • Years ago I read a satirical article written by an adult with autism (Aspergers) in which he described “neurotypicality” (i.e. not being autistic) as if THAT were a disability — one that makes people too obsessed with popularity, being “cool”, impressing people and fitting in with the crowd. Sounds to me like some of these people cited in the article have a really, really bad case of it. It isn’t always easy having an autistic daughter as I do, but give me a kid like her over one of these clowns any day.

  • Honestly, many of us felt this way before our first child, and God granted us a child who awakens us from such thoughts. It doesn’t even require a disabled child or one with a lot of needs. Just realizing a child’s will and temperament are not one’s own, his interests are not one’s own, her taste is not the same, etc. is often enough to move us from our thoughts of what parenthood is for to His thoughts of what parenthood is about.

    It is evil that there is an industry of people to help kill our child just because we are selfish for a time. But most of us are selfish beyond measure, and parenthood is God’s plan to teach us humility, charity, true love. Don’t be so angry that a not-yet parent would not yet know true love. Save that anger for the evil that feeds off it.

  • Dear Mr. McClary, thank you for this article, and for sharing your experiences with Larry. Please keep a friend of mine in your prayers. He is fighting a very aggressive form of cancer and the prognosis is grim. One of his children is a young man with severe autism. They are very close, and we are all concerned about this young man’s well-being if he loses his Dad. They would appreciate prayers from everyone reading this, as I am sure Larry is praying for his spiritual brother and family. Thank you.

  • Sincere condolences with prayers for your family. I lost my younger daughter on 09/11/01 in the world trade center . She was only thirty and she was my sunshine and the sunshine for her father and brothers and sisters as well.
    We learn to live with our losses but we never stop loving and praying we will meet in heaven.

  • My prayers for your daughter Cathy. Death has no power over true love.

  • Donald, My heart goes out to you for having to suffer the flaws of the human character via their comments about your son. It speaks volumes of your character as to your forgiveness to their wronging/hurting you and ability to withhold your anger at their ignorance/shortsightedness/bigotry. Walter

  • Donald,

    You are a great witness as a Catholic man, husband and father. You are in my continued prayers along with your whole family

  • Donald, are you sure you should even be reading articles like this? I’m definitely not telling you who you should and shouldn’t pray for, and you may be displaying a heroic courage that I’d be in no position to understand, but even exposing yourself to this kind of thing strikes me as imprudent. For what it’s worth.

  • Ah, Pinky, thank you for your concern, but I see far worse in my professional life regarding terrible things done to kids.

  • “You are a great witness as a Catholic man, husband and father.”

    Thank you for your kind words Botolph. I look at myself as a sinful attorney who needs all the prayers he can get. I am fortunate in that the people around me have tended to be very good people indeed.

  • “It speaks volumes of your character as to your forgiveness to their wronging/hurting you and ability to withhold your anger at their ignorance/shortsightedness/bigotry. Walter”

    Thank you Walter. I am afraid that I have a bad temper that I strive to control with imperfect success. I actually feel more pity than rage at people who can have such contempt for the most innocent among us.

  • I don’t understand why an obstetrician at a Catholic hospital* insists that pregnant women have amnios to screen for Down’s syndrome, especially when those women insist that they have no intention of artificially aborting any child no matter what.

    *Now the chain that operates that hospital calls itself Dignity instead of Catholic.

  • Micha Elyi: “I don’t understand why an obstetrician at a Catholic hospital* insists that pregnant women have amnios to screen for Down’s syndrome, especially when those women insist that they have no intention of artificially aborting any child no matter what. *Now the chain that operates that hospital calls itself Dignity instead of Catholic.”
    .
    Wrongful life ( a life not worthy of live) lawsuits have been decided against the doctors.

  • As horrible as these sentiments by the expecting parents are, it only gets worse. For each challenged child that gets aborted, think of the effect on other or subsequent siblings as well. My brother has cognitive challenges, and if he were not around, I doubt I and my other siblings would be as aware of the true contributions he and others like him make. It would make an even more callous world of one that is already far too callous to begin with.

  • As an educator of specially abled kiddos–the reality is this: no child can ever live up to those expectations. The other thought I had–accidents happen. Would these parents kill their child with a traumatic brain injury? I’ve worked with several students that have had this happen, and the efforts and battles to keep the child from dying is ALWAYS fully supported by the parents, no matter how the child’s brain is damaged. I am near tears thinking of the arrogance and stupidity exhibited by these parents. I will pray for them.

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  • Some of these comments are unfair. I am prolife. I had a baby at 39 – my first – Thanks be to God. I has amniocentesis. To this day I do not know what I would have done. I struggled for the time period it took for the tests to come back. When they called to tell me all was good – I could not hear the voice giving me the good news I had to have my husband call. I had to deal with truth and I began to research all the possibilities. Do not judge harshly – but embrace and forgive as Christ would and feel blessed for every gift you are given by God. I hope you never have to know the torment of what to do if……

  • “I hope you never have to know the torment of what to do if……”

    If I had known Patrece that my son Larry was going to have autism it wouldn’t have changed the love that my bride and I had for him and his brother in the womb by one iota. We specifically had no amniocentisis performed because we do not believe in search and destroy missions in utero. As my bride told her pediatrician, the babies she carried were coming to term no matter what.

Thomas S. Vander Woude: A Name That Deserves to Be Remembered

Monday, April 21, AD 2014

 

Thomas S. Vander Woude who died in 2008 is part of my personal pantheon of heroes:

 

Thomas S. Vander Woude, 66, died last week while helping his son Joseph, who has Down syndrome, after he fell into a septic tank while working in the yard, police said. The tank was eight to 10 feet deep, Steve Vander Woude said.

His father climbed into the 2-by-2-foot opening, managed to get under Joseph and was pushing him upward to keep his head above the sewage. Initially, Vander Woude was able to keep his own head above the muck, telling a workman who was helping from above, “You pull, I’ll push,” Steve Vander Woude said. But he eventually sank and was later pulled out by rescue workers, who were unable to revive him, Prince William County police said.

Joseph, 20, was hospitalized last week with pneumonia but was released Saturday and attended the Mass for his father in a wheelchair, connected to an oxygen tank. His family said doctors expect a full recovery. A few days after his father’s death, Joseph’s family sat with him in the hospital and explained to him that his father had died.

Upon hearing the news, Joseph “sat back . . . he closed his eyes, his chin quivered, and he started crying,” Steve Vander Woude said. “I think he understands as much as he can right now.”

Another of Thomas S. Vander Woude’s sons, Tom Vander Woude, pastor at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Alexandria, gave the homily. In it, he likened his father to Saint Joseph, a man who patiently and quietly supported his family, did odd jobs for those in need and was content to worship God and not seek the limelight, Tom Vander Woude said.

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Dear Future Mom

Saturday, March 22, AD 2014

Hattip to Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report. A very well meaning person once told my wife and I that she understood what a cross we had to bear due to the autism of our son Larry.  I responded by stating the simple truth:   that Larry had never been anything but a blessing from God for us.  So he was, from his first day to his last, and continues to be as he went ahead of us to the next world.  In this Vale of Tears many terrible things can happen to us, but the birth of a child, no matter what, is never among them.

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17 Responses to Dear Future Mom

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself. My own daughter, now 18, is autistic as well, and while there are certainly many difficulties there are also some difficulties that parents of “normal” children have which we have been spared. Just one example, she couldn’t care less about the toxic swamp of youth/popular culture and is content with far fewer material possessions than I suspect most young people her age would be.

  • Innocence is always beautiful.

  • A deeper love, a perfected love is revealed to the parents and society when embracing a child of God such as yours Donald and Elaine.
    God bless parents like you.

  • My father passed away last night. Life is beautiful, it’s temporary, and it’s followed by something better. Praise to the Author of Life!

  • May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision Pinky.

  • Pinky.
    I’m sorry for your loss.
    It’s been just over 4 months since my father passed on.
    May your dad share in the company of the Holy ones forever.

  • Pinky, prayers for the repose of the soul of your father. I will try to remember to pray for him tomorrow at Mass.

    We recently found out that my wife is pregnant. I am 50. She will be 45 next month, so this is already considered a high risk pregnancy. We will accept what God gives us.

  • Thanks. As Don can tell you, it may be true that none of us are worthy of Heaven, but there sure are some good people up there. Penguin, congratulations. Yeah, nervous about it I’m sure, but congratulations.

  • That should have been “thanks all”. Thanks all.

  • “We will accept what God gives us.”

    Prayers on the way PF for a good result! That phrase has been a saving grace for me during last year.

  • God never makes mistakes. Children such as these are God’s gift to us, and how we welcome and care for them is our gift back to God.

  • Don and Penguin’s Fan: ““We will accept what God gives us.”
    Prayers on the way PF for a good result! That phrase has been a saving grace for me during last year.”
    .
    Make me as holy as I am to be holy.
    .
    Victor R. Claveau, MI: “God never makes mistakes. Children such as these are God’s gift to us, and how we welcome and care for them is our gift back to God.”
    .
    Thank you.

  • Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts and kind words. I am in need of them and I am grateful.

    I knew some of this before getting married or even before I met my wife – that children belong to their parents – in one sense – for as long as the live, but in a larger sense, for only a little while. It is an awesome task to meet the everyday responsibilities of caring for young children and to work to prepare them for the world that awaits them when they reach adulthood. I had some sense of this as my three brothers are younger than I am and, not being a completely average kid, saw and realized what goes on. My wife was an only child. She had no brothers and no cousins her age. It is a greater challenge for her to deal with a two year old boy that is high strung and a kindergartener. She thought she would homeschool and then found out that she does not have the temperament for it.

    The local parish has a Catholic school. I became unhappy with the way Mass is celebrated there and I have the nagging suspicion that this school is no better than the Catholic school I went to in the 1970s.

    One thing I have developed is a greater sense of understanding and sympathy when people take their young children out in public – be it a dinner (usually at a family restaurant), at Mass, shopping for groceries, traveling, you name it.

    One develops a special kind of anger at crooked politicians, inept clergy, mindless bureaucrats, selfish people and foolish businesses who embrace silly current fads that will have a long lasting and damaging effect on the world that today’s children will inherit.

  • Dear Future Mom was beautiful and heart warming. There is so much ignorance about these exceptional children. I hope it was and will be broadcast on network TV as a public service announcement.

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  • First of all, to Pinky: my sincerest thoughts and prayers with you and your family on the occasion of the loss of your father. Requiem aeternam, dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis.

    Secondly, to Donald, thank you for describing the gift of Larry, your son. Every situation is different: I learn of more and more people every day it seems that have a “special-needs” family member in their lives. We are the fortunate ones.

    My autistic brother, of whose care and custody I have, now that our own father has passed, is a daily occasion, yes, DEFINITELY sometimes of frustration and annoyance, but predominately, of happiness, liveliness, and unbelievably zany humor that only, we the fortunate ones, can know about.
    ******************
    So, I thought, here are 8 things that are the unique gifts of having an autistic child/sibling/family member in your life:
    8) Strange little humming noises can be very pleasing and satisfying.
    7) Harley Davidsons are the most exquisitely Awesome Machines on land. MUST STOP AND WATCH.
    6) Forget Frank Lloyd Wright and Mary Jane Coulter: Some telephone poles are true works of art.
    5) The pipe organ is the most exquisite instrument of music—and esp, the music of JS Bach, Julius Reubke, Maurice Durufle, and Jehan Alain make it talk!
    4) Boeing makes the most Awesome Vehicles that Fly: MUST STOP AND WATCH.
    3) Certain people’s voices, either speaking but especially singing, are Very Annoying.* (*and watch out for them, I have learned he is telling me…)
    2) Nirvanic Rocking can be very soothing to anyone, especially after a very stressful
    day: try it, while you think about what to do next.
    1) And finally: Blessed are the pure of heart, for of such is the Kingdom of God.

Jon Will at 40

Friday, May 4, AD 2012

 

 

 

As the father of an autistic son, who, with his brother and sister, is the light of the lives of myself and my wife, the struggle for the right to life of the unborn is a personal battle.  The contempt shown for innocent human life by abortion is magnified when the fact that a child in the womb is less than perfect is introduced into the mix.  People like my son, who lights up any room when he smiles, who is as agile and nimble as a cat in her prime,  and who likes to cook  with the microwave, would be regarded by those who prize abortion as prime candidates for elimination if their condition could be detected in the womb.  George Will has a moving column about his son Jon who has just turned 40.

Jon was born just 19 years after James Watson and Francis Crick published their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA, discoveries that would enhance understanding of the structure of Jon, whose every cell is imprinted with Down syndrome. Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe v. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of pre-born babies.

This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.

Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it.

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9 Responses to Jon Will at 40

  • Nice post.

  • I first read this G. Will piece elsewhere, and the first comment there is, (I think), worth reading. I dare not repost it without permission, but possibly I can give this link for those interested.
    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=51223#disqus_thread
    (OTOH, I found the comments at the WaPo site rather upsetting.)

  • “(OTOH, I found the comments at the WaPo site rather upsetting.)”

    The readers of the Washington Post and the New York Times, at least those who choose to comment, usually have the compassion of a shark when the sacred rite of abortion is challenged.

  • I have a cousin who had Downe’s. Although my aunt found it difficult raising her for her first few years, form the age of about 8 Mary became a joy to be with – always happy and loving. She lived with her parents until she was about 20, then went into a home with several others and a house parent. She died when she was about 50.
    I have a neice who is intellectually disabled – my daughter-in-law was suffering from hypoglycemia during her pregnancy, and Nicole (Nicky) was deprived of oxygen at birth. Again, the early years were difficult for Tina (sister-in-law) but as Nicky grew and became cognisant at around 5 or 6, she became a fun kid. She has the intellectual age of about a 4 year old, and is now coming up 30. She has been living with ,again, 2 or 3 other IHC people in their own house, and have caregivers helping them during the day, and a live-in carer full time.
    She has her own independence , comes to all the family functions and really enjoys being part of the falmily, and above all, of being fully alive.
    People who pre-judge that partly disabled people – physically or mentally – do not want to live, do not know anyone in that situation. They should look around and learn.

  • “They should look around and learn.”

    And love.

  • Pingback: SATURDAY MID-DAY EXTRA | The Pulpit
  • Is George Will still an Episcopalian? You know, that most aggressively ‘pro-choice’ and incredibly shrinking liturgical imitation of Catholicism.

  • Will’s an agnostic. That does not prevent him from also being an ardent foe of abortion:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/07/31/barbara-boxer-in-context.html

  • One of my nephews has an autistic son. One of my nieces is a special ed teacher who has worked with autistic children since her college days.

    One of the most satisfying experiences of my life was when I volunteered for a day the Plymouth Center for Human Development, an institution that cared for people with mental and physical handicaps in the Detroit area when I was 12. I remember helping a seven year old child who was both rather seriously mentally retarded (I don’t think he had Downs) as well as being physically handicaps. Almost 35 years later I still remember his name and what he looked like. I also remember we both took a liking to each other.

    You know, quality of life is a hard thing to define clearly when it is so subjective. But if cheerfulness is a standard to define quality of life most people with mental handicaps have a quality of life much better than I will ever have.

    One of the many mentally handicapped children murdered by the Nazis was one of Pope Benedict’s cousins.

Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

Tuesday, February 16, AD 2010

Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin respond to the vile Family Guy attack on Trig, her son with Down’s Syndrome:

People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut. Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, “when is enough, enough?”:

“When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks. – Bristol Palin”

– Sarah Palin

Perhaps it is partially because I have an autistic son, but words literally fail me to adequately describe people evil enough to mock a handicapped child because they differ with the mother of the child politically.

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79 Responses to Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

  • Family Guy is commonly about as tasteless as the imagination permits, exceeded in this only by South Park. It is an indication of how corrupted the media have grown in a modest time frame.

    Amy Carter was overexposed but given only the mildest ribbing by the likes of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players and Chelsea Clinton was left in peace (bar for being called a ‘dog’ by Rush Limbaugh). I think one of Geraldine Ferraro’s children is named ‘John’; do you recall the other two?

  • It is quite amazing that people who allegedly have their full faculties and imaginative creativity will act like the effin’ retards they ascribe people with actual special needs as being.

    The fact is people with mental retardation, autism and other impairments are more enjoyable, joyful and pleasant to be around than any of these monkeys who like to throw mean words around without considering the feelings of those who have impairments and the loved ones who care for them

    If you ask me, that is pretty effin’ retarded, especially when the goal is to attack a defenseless child simply because his mother makes you feel uncomfortable and intimidated.

    Do you think that the fact that we consider children a burden and a punishment for recreational sex or a simple ‘choice’ to kill has anything to do with considering anyone with special needs as a burden on society and fair game for ridicule?

    Sick.

  • One of the things Palin has unquestionably achieved (to her sorrow) is giving the hard left a chance to show the entire country how utterly despicable and hateful the “caring” party can be.

  • Southpark usually has a nuanced and valid point to make, even if it is one we disagree with. It has had pro-life episodes, and many shows about the humanity and dignity of disabled people.

    I simply can’t put that show in the same class as Family Guy, which is nothing but one-sided propaganda.

    In addition to being intrinsically evil, making fun of a down-syndrome child is mind-bogglingly irrational and stupid if your goal is to somehow oppose Sarah Palin.

    In the end this is the same show that depicted Jesus as a pedophile, God as a selfish womanizer, and all Christians as mindless, book-burning, hate-filled bigots. It’s the kind of stuff I might have thought up as an angst-ridden teenage atheist in rebellion against the Church. I’m glad I grew up, and I’m sad others are still stuck there.

    And you know what MacFarlane’s defense always is? And its the same one used by all of these guys: either we can make fun of everything, or we can make fun of nothing. Everything is sacred or nothing is sacred. And somehow our first amendment embodies this idea. Of course this is irrational, illogical, and childish.

  • When a culture makes everything profane, nothing is sacred.

  • I seem to recall that Joan Rivers was interviewed in 1983 or thereabouts and said her aim was to be “the meanest bitch in America”. Asked if any topic was off limits, she said, “deformed children…and religion I’m very careful with…”. Well, that was then.

  • I deleted your comment restrainedradical. No one in this thread will be allowed to speak in defense of this vile assault on human decency. All such comments will be deleted.

  • In my misspent past as a teen, youth, young adult and sadly full grown man I would have found this funny. In fact, I used to like the show as well as other prurient interests. Then I was assaulted by God and only by His Grace I came to my senses and returned to the Church of my Baptism.

    Making that decision meant that I was all in. Of course, I only think I am all in because everyday I am reminded of how not-at-all-in I really am. Yet, I know that morality is not in me it comes from God alone. Adhering to His standards renders this and other things I would have found entertaining and funny in my past as sick and twisted.

    I certainly am not ‘politically correct’ and I don’t think we need to allow coercion, government or social, to limit artistic expression. Yet, I think that social standards, based on ‘mere Christian’ morals must be infused into our culture.

    This ‘joke’ was not funny because it maligns children with inherent limitations and not because it attacks Sarah Palin. She’s a big girl and can take care of herself and she chose public life. I think that children with mental retardation, physical disabilities, Down Syndrome, etc. have a greater opportunity for sanctification than fools that find this kind of crap funny.

    I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.

  • The sad thing is that Family Guy is capable of being hysterically funny without being radically offensive.

  • Sadly, I read restrained radical’s comment before it was deleted. It’s an appalling enigma to me how the left is so adamantly against torture, but at the same time can applaud a wicked and evil cartoon which could be considered one of the most deadly of weapons, the most harmful poison. Society must be nourished with good, not evil, and evil is being preached to an immense audience. Evil such as this corrupts and kills souls. But then, the principles of God’s kingdom and the principles of the world are vastly different. That cartoon caused unnecessary pain to the Palins and countless others. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, a perfect time to contemplate Jesus’ crowning with thorns. Mother Teresa said that mental illness is Jesus’ crown of thorns. Although children with downs’ syndrome are certainly not mentally ill, I think we could extend the meditation to include the parents of these children who suffer greatly with mockery, taunts and insults directed toward their beloved children.

  • restrainedradical is a valued commenter here at American Catholic. This thread however is not one where our usual free-wheeling debate format applies. I feel quite strongly about this and no comments defending the Family Guy spit in the face of decency will be allowed. If handicapped kids can be mocked as entertainment or political attack, then we truly are a culture that is sick unto death.

  • Surprisingly (at least to me), The Anchoress is defending “Family Guy” and criticizing Palin for speaking out:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/02/16/family-guy-goaded-palin-into-a-mistake/

    I responded somewhat negatively in her comboxes.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

  • “I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.”

    American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity. To me, the realization of how we were wrong in the past explains why reconciliation is the greatest of the sacraments.*
    Bill

    * Unless my wife is reading and then my answer is marriage is the greatest sacrament.

  • I’m missing something. I get “former governor of Alaska” is referencing Sarah Palin, but how does Trig fit into this? I don’t get it. I second the call for an explanation.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    The Huffington post author here is clear as to what Seth MacFarlane intended.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/15/family-guy-trig-palin-vid_n_462522.html

  • Jay, the Anchoress is simply clueless on this. The insult was directly aimed at Trig as you pointed out. That the Anchoress can’t see this astounds me.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

    I think MacFarlane was trying to cover his ass by recasting Todd Palin as ‘an accountant’ and Trig as female.

  • I had deleted this comment but on second thought I am going to post it. It came from someone, now banned from this blog, calling himself FascistHater. His name is apt, but not in the way he intended. It is a monument to the type of hatred that motivates people to attack those they disagree with by attacking their kids. Such hatred ultimately consumes those who revel in it.

    “What a bunch of “knee jerk assholes” you all are. Did any of you watch this entire show? The girl with downs syndrome is treated as a self assured young women who is the superior of the “normal” Chris Griffin. I’m certain if he had made inappropriate suggestions involving a Lufta she would have shoved it up his ass. If only Palin’s “Normal” slut daughter was as self assured and bright as this cartoon character.

    By the way Don sorry about your son but maybe someone with genes as defective as yours shouldn’t be reproducing. Hey . . . if my comments going to be deleted might as well make it good.”

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    Okay, but how is that an attack on Trig?

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

  • Don, I caught that comment last night but refrained from commenting because I knew it would be deleted. Obviously the person is quite filled with hate and apparently a proud fascist too (they often go hand in hand dontcha know), but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by. I was inclined to think it was the typical leftist type of drive by because I only know of a handful truly hatefilled semi-regulars but their names are well known and they seem to have no shame about associating their name with their venom. However, I got to thinking that this person probably knows more about you than can be ascertained from the post. Nevermind, I’m fairly sure who it is. Sad.

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

    I grant that it was a reference to Palin/Trig. That much is obvious. What I don’t get is what is insulting about it. The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me, and even if she did, Trig isn’t a teenage girl, so it’s not like these attributes would be ascribed to him.

    I agree this isn’t rocket science, why is what makes the unwillingness/inability of people to say what was insulting about the clip somewhat mysterious.

  • I think I may have watched family guy once, maybe twice. Never thought it funny or entertaining – mostly just stupid. No reason to ever watch it.

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people. I guess we’ll see how this plays out and how many other people fail to see what I think is an obvious attack on a child with Downs Syndrome simply to vent political hatred.

  • FWIW, I could see the, “Well, this isn’t all that offensive,” point were this more or less in isolation. However, given that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

  • “but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by.”

    Deliberately didn’t attempt to Rick. The person involved wasn’t worth that much effort on my part. Whoever it was I feel pity more than anything else. Living with that level of hate must be like wearing an emotional hair shirt.

  • The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me

    She rebukes him for not helping her to her seat and then rebukes him for not asking about her person. You wouldn’t mind?

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people.

    I’m asking why you thought it was insulting. Saying, “well I and a lot of other people thought it was insulting” doesn’t answer that question.

  • It’s pretty incoherent, which is describes the MacFarlane’s humor in general. Throw everything against the wall and hope to elicit a response.

    South Park actually had a dead-on hilarious parody of the Family Guy writing style during the notorious censored Muhammad episode, depicting FG as being written by manatees who nudge random balls labelled with pop culture references into a mixing machine, thus leading to the attempted gags.

    After having watched the clip, it sure looks like a manatee job. I agree that it’s offensive, and a secondary shot at Trig, but I think it’s more of an attack on Sarah Palin than her son, projecting the latter’s handicaps on to the former. I say “secondary” because the depiction of the impaired character as an obnoxious, attention-mongering glasses-wearing diva is a direct attack on the former Governor herself.

  • [G]iven that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

    I can understand this as a psychological explanation, but if past attacks make people conclude that any reference to Palin is per se insulting then I think they are overreacting.

  • BA, I’ll try this one last time with you and I’ll put it in personal terms. My son is autistic. He is a constant joy to me and to his mother. He is unable to carry on a normal conversation, although he can answer yes and no questions. His autism may have caused retardation although with autism this is difficult to say. He can read although how much he retains is often a mystery for us and his teachers. His autism gives him all sorts of behavioral quirks so that he will never be able to live independently or work outside of a sheltered workshop. Things that other people can do without thinking, he, sadly, will not be able to do. Compared to most people his life will be hard, something thus far he has coped with magnificently.

    If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me. That you fail to understand why I would be livid, and why the Palins are livid, I find baffling.

  • If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me.

    This begs the question of how it was an attack, which is what I was asking. If I comedy show attacked my family I would be livid too. But I don’t see how the above clip constitutes an attack.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself. Kids of politicians used to be off-limits. Now it is open season on disabled kids of politicians. I guess common deceny is a thing of the past.

  • BA,

    I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period. I’ve watched the Family Guy before and found certain bits extremely funny…even some of the very offensive ones, but this one wasn’t funny and is quite transparent and unnecessary. It’s clear that it was framed with Sarah Palin in mind, which in itself isn’t a problem, but that the cudgel is Down Syndrome because of her son is rather distasteful.

  • Exactly, Don. It wasn’t that Family Guy necessarily depicted the disabled person in a negative light. It was the fact that the show’s creator felt the need to draw the connection between the disabled person depicted and a 2-year-old disabled person actually in existence.

    It would have been objectionable to use ANY of a politician’s kids to make a dig at that politician; to use a politician’s 2-year-old disabled child to do so makes it all the worse.

  • DarwinCatholic:

    Absolutely. And not only has the Left revealed how vicious the “compassionate” can be, they have managed to show that their socialist policies aren’t really motivated by compassion for the poor and downtrodden after all, as they like to pretend. If that was really their motivation, they wouldn’t behave this way.

    Which brings us to the question. If the Left’s socialist policies aren’t driven by compassion, then what’s their real motivation? The answer, I think, is a combination of a desire for control over others, and the worship of the state which they have divinized in their minds.

  • Let’s make it clear, if Rush does it, it is wrong. If Family Guy does it, it is wrong. There. Left and right — are both of them lacking compassion because of Rush or Family Guy? I think many on both sides are; but many are not. Don’t do guilt by association; Family Guy isn’t like Rush, though — one of the big differences is Family Guy is a rude, crude, nasty show and a “comedy” with its axe to grind but yet — it isn’t gearing itself as a piece of political opinion to help energize politics. Rush and Beck and people like them — are. But that doesn’t make Family Guy good. It’s a show which makes Beavis and Butthead look intelligent.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself.

    Defend himself from what? All of your comments make sense only on the assumption that the Family Guy clip above constitutes an attack on Trig. What I’m asking is, how is it an attack?

  • I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period.

    Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

  • I watch family guy – it’s very left, it’s very offensive, and occasionally it’s very funny, but that’s hit or miss. I’m generally irritated by the hyper-sensitive jump to offense behavior of people a la the recent hoopla over Rahm Emanuel’s comment which was clearly not directed at or referring to mentally handicapped people (incidentally, the much smarter and funnier South Park recently had a good show about about just this thing except instead of “retarded” it looked a homosexual slur that has now been adopted to mean something else in the culture, but I digress). However, I can understand how this could be hurtful b/c it’s definitely targeted at Palin and her son (the former to a bigger extent than the latter I think). I sort of see what blackadder is saying in that it doesn’t seem like an attack against the DS girl, but rahter that DS was used to tie her to Palin. I think the point is that whether he intended to mock DS itself (or Trig himself), the writer clearly used the real life handicap of one of Palin’s children to mock her. And I do think that crosses a line.

  • BA

    I agree it might be difficult to see, but the girl is not Sarah Palin. The girl represents Sarah’s children morphed into one. It is a girl and apparently has Down’s Syndrome. And it is being used to goad Sarah Palin — mock both her daughter’s dating choices as well as Trig. I can see where it is coming from, and I can see why this is not respectable at all (just like attacks on Chelsea were not respectable). If the girl were Sarah and she was shown careless with her children, that would be one thing; but taking it out on her children for their mother, no, not good.

  • The line goes that once you explain a joke, it’s not funny. This joke wasn’t funny in the first place, so far as I can tell, but we seem to be struggling with a situation where an insult isn’t insulting once you explain it. I’ll give it a shot, though.

    The gag here (to the extent that there is one) appears to be that Chris goes out on a date with a somewhat bitchy and demanding girl who speaks in a “retard” voice. When he asks about her family, she explains that her mother is the governor of Alaska. I guess one could see this either as a “boy, they all seem to be retards in Palin’s family, don’t they” joke or as “oh, Down Syndome, heh heh, Palin, heh heh” joke. Either way, it seems to get what little steam it has from associating mental disabilities and disagreeableness with Palin.

    Now, I suppose one could say, “Why is it offensive to associate Down Syndome or retardation generally with Palin’s family? She has a child with Down Syndrome, but there’s nothing shameful in that.” This would be true in a limitted sense, but it ignores the fact that in the instance in question it’s clearly being treated as something which is humorous or derisive, not just a “Oh, by the way, did you hear a child of the former Alaskan governor has Down Syndrome?” This is where the fact that Palin has been routinely mocked by the left for having a child with Down Syndrome would come into play.

    I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas. Now clearly, there’s nothing wrong with being black, so one could question how this was an insult, but the obvious answer would be that the show was attempting to make “Obama’s kids are black” an insult, and thus serving as both racist and anti-Obama.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indicated by the way that she speaks.

    Thanks for the explanations. But as I watched the clip, my impressions were that reference to the former Alaskan governor was nothing more than a non sequitur. I saw the date as merely having a speech impediment, nothing more. Downs Syndrome never came to mind, because the character’s demeanor was very different to that of people with DS that I have encountered.

  • I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas.

    That would be offensive. But unless I’m misinformed, there isn’t a stereotype that people with Downs Syndrome are bitchy and demanding.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities, and assumed that eating watermelons and “Black English” would be the equivalent stereotype in regards to race.

  • Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that carries with it various physical characteristics that are easily identifiable even to the average observer. It’s pretty clear (to me anyway) that the intention was to illustrate the character as having Down Syndrome.

    Still, regardless of how ill conceived or executed the scene was, it’s clearly intended to be a dig on Palin which in itself isn’t a problem. Using Down Syndrome to do it would be tasteless in itself, but it’s certainly no coincidence that that means was employed because she has a DS child.

  • employed ugh

    [Fixed it for you Rick. 😉 – Tito]

  • Maybe I’m slow to catch on…

    The physical attributes I get. However, animation is a poor medium to convey that. Upon re-listening, I see your point about the speech, Rick. However, my initial impression was that of a woman with a lisp combined with an Elmer Fudd-ian style of pronunciation. DS never came to mind.

    Oh well, I guess I shall retreat back into my bubble where most pop culture influences do not dare enter.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities

    I’m not sure having speech problems is a stereotype about people with Downs as it is a reality. I mean, the actress who plays the girl has Downs Syndrome. That’s her real voice.

  • Let me also make a side point. Both from watching the clip and from reading about it in general, a theme of the episode seems to be that people with Downs Syndrome aren’t all that different from the rest of us. We live in a world where 90% of couples who are told there child has Downs abort, perhaps in part because they have an exaggerated image of the problems associated with Downs. The message of the show, in other words, is one that people desperately need to hear, and particularly for the FG viewer demographic I’m not sure if there would have been a more effective way of getting that message across.

  • Thanks Tito. I’d type this in huge letters if WP would let me. 😉

    BA, so yes, the speech issue is a reality. And based on what you just wrote, the voice actress has DS. Her character claimed to be the child of a former Alaska governor. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to assume that whole gag is about Sarah Palin due to her having a DS child. Yeah, it’s not like they were attacking Trig directly, but it is reflective of a rather nasty attitude. I mean, with all the things someone could use to rib Palin like her botched interviews, writing on her hand, leftist stereotypes of conservatives as dumb hicks, it takes a pretty vicious mind to use their child’s birth defect in an attempt to score a point and/or laugh.

  • Rick,

    Again, I’m not denying that the reference was to Palin. That’s obvious. I just don’t see what’s insulting about it, either to Trig or to Palin.

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people eluded Seth MacFarlane who manfully responded to the controversy by sending out his publicist with this statement:

    “The Times asked “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane for an interview regarding the matter. But he opted to send a statement via his publicist: “From its inception, ‘Family Guy’ has used biting satire as the foundation of its humor. The show is an “equal-opportunity offender.””

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

  • Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

    Just a cobbled together guess, based only on the clip and the one previous bit of venom directed at Palin (Stewie in an SS uniform wearing a “McCain/Palin” button). I bow to anyone who watched the whole thing for context. For my part, it would not have occurred to me in a million years that I would be carefully parsing FG episodes for narrative context. 🙂

    After all, the show peaked with the Benjamin Disraeli sight gag…

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people…

    It’s not that I think mocking Trig is good for handicapped people; it’s that I don’t see how the show was mocking Trig.

    My comment about the effects of the show generally was, as I said, a side point. As I understand it, many of the people here who think the show was offensive only have a problem with the reference to Palin, not to the show’s treatment of Downs Syndrome generally (certainly your comments have focused in this direction). So whether you agree that the show could serve a useful purpose in demystifying Downs is separate from whether you think the reference to Palin was out of line (and visa versa).

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

    I’m not really seeing this. The girl in the clip doesn’t look like Bristol Palin, Chris neither looks nor acts like Levi Johnson, etc. The only reason I can see for saying that she must be Bristol is that as a teenage girl she obviously can’t be Trig.

  • A link to Seth MacFarlane’s campaign contributions:

    http://www.newsmeat.com/celebrity_political_donations/Seth_MacFarlane.php

    Then we have his comments about the election when he was stumping for Obama:

    Then we have the McCain-Palin are Nazis scene from the Family Guy.

    MacFarlane is a bitter partisan of the Left. That is his right. When he decides to give vent to his hatred by mocking a disabled child of someone he hates, that should go way over the line for any civilized person.

  • Anchoress did not say Palin should not have spoken out. She said she should have done so differently, in a way that would have turned the tables on Family Guy.

  • I speak as a big-time critic of Sarah Palin as a potential political leader- I don’t see any valid point in targeting her as a parent of a child with a disability- she’s a human being- not one of us would find it acceptable for someone to take us on as public bloggers and start picking on our kids- especially our youngest most vulnerable children.

    Joe has pointed out that it is perhaps possible to include the disabled in a joke line that isn’t just picking on someone, but makes some larger relevant point about some issue related to being disabled. But clearly, making sly reference to a politician’s disabled child is cruel and unusual- and unless that part of the Left wing is ok with their alter-ego part of the Right wing, perhaps targeting Obama through sly put-downs of persons meant to bring to mind his daughters- then I would say the more reasonable folks should be able to bring public shame to this type of “humor”. With public shame in the offing, most commercial artists will learn that there is no pay-off for continuing such a trend. Public shaming has a role to play- it can be a check on out-of-bounds expression without having to resort to some kind of direct censorship.

  • I agree with Tim.

    If the tables were turned and a Family Guy clip had Mr. Seth McFarlane mocking President Obama’s precious little daughters using derogatory black stereotypes all hell would break loose in the form of constant media attacks in characterizing conservative Americans as hateful bigots.

    My two-cents worth.

  • A couple months back there was an episode of 30 Rock where one of the characters tried to infiltrate Obama’s “inner circle” by befriending one of his daughters. There were scenes of him talking on the phone with the daughter, etc. in which he adopted a valley girl voice and basically talked like a stereotypical schoolgirl. I don’t recall much of a fuss about this at the time, presumably because while the show quite clearly was referencing the Obama family there was nothing insulting about what was being said about them (one could argue that it was insulting to imply that Obama’s daughters act like little girls, but then they are little girls).

  • BA,

    So acting like a little girl is equivalent to a derogatory black stereotype?

    😉

  • Interesting counter example, BA.

    As per previous discussion, though, I assume that if the 30 Rock character had used a heavily “Black English” voice rather than a schoolgirl voice, people would have seen that as more offensive — because although some black people do indeed talk that way (though not the Obamas) it’s seen as connected to a negative stereotype about black people.

    I think the reason people are taking offense in this case is that although it’s true that people with Down Syndrome do have speech impediments, the social perception of those speech impediments is pretty uniformly negative.

    By which I guess I mean, it seems to me that simply making “hey, did you hear Palin’s kid has Down Syndrome” references (at least in a comedy show, especially one that emphasizes sharp political satire) will end up coming off as derogatory all on its own.

  • I don’t know Blackadder. I guess there are different thresholds or considerations people take into account on things. For example, I have a son who is developmentally delayed. He’s not classified as autistic though he has some similar symptoms. In fact, it sounds like he is not much unlike Don’s boy in functionality and prospects for his future. I didn’t take offense Obama’s Special Olympics joke a few months ago, yet many others did. I didn’t view it as a dig on special needs kids nor indicative of an underlying disrespect or contempt for them. I viewed it as a bit of self-deprecating humor on behalf of Obama and have used the same type on myself (still do in fact).

    In this case, it’s more a matter that I can see how many could be offended because there is nothing really humorous in it though it was an attempt to use a DS as a pretext of slamming a political opponent or at best forcing in a political jab where it has no business. I guess I’m looking at it more from where something like this must have come from. Unfortunately I think there are a number of hate filled people like that Hateful Fascist guy who insulted Don. It’s one thing to have such a hard heart and express it, it’s another to use or tear down innocent or powerless people to vent that hatred. It’s certainly not something in our Christian understanding of the dignity of the person that there is any room for, but it strikes me as the type of thing that just about anybody of good will would avoid. Nay, that it’s not even something they would conceive of. I guess I’m just offended that people think that way and act upon it.

  • Rick,

    I have to admit that President Obama’s joke was self-deprecating.

    The GOP and conservatives were politically opportunistic in bashing him and were not justified in their anger.

    In contrast, I believe Mr. Seth Mcfarlane was deliberately being nasty in this clip. Unfortunately I do watch FG from time to time (rabbit ears television) and I can say that Mr. Mcfarlane is a bitter left-winger who takes every opportunity he can to disparage the GOP and conservatives. Although he “claims” to be an equal opportunity offender, the balance is skewed grossly in disparaging conservatives than liberals by a 10-to-1 margin.

  • I’ve FG a fair number of times myself. I don’t particularly care one way or another about the politics. If something is funny, it’s funny. My uneasiness with the shows I have seen are some of the religious things. Unfortunately I have a higher tolerance for religious jokes than I ought, but FG can still manage to offend me in that regard. However, I find great humor in many of the gags whether they be G rated or R rated. The funniest gag I’ve seen on the show was quite R rated, but was right up my alley from a setup/punchline point of view (the scene with the blow-up dolls).

  • I don’t mind the unbalanced attacks as well. I like to laugh and whatever does it for me makes me happy.

    But you have to admit, FG is definitely not on the family viewing list. In fact if I were blessed with children I would stop viewing FG for the sake of the children not catching me watching such filth.

  • Largebill: “American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity.”

    I don’t know if I am mature, but I am certainly more mature than I was when I was caught up in the Spirit of the World. It is easy, tempting, alluring and seductive to go with the flow of the present darkness because when you are in it, it doesn’t seem dark. In fact, it seems fun, light and quite right.

    It isn’t. FG could be funny at times; however, when it disparages the defenseless it crosses the line. That doesn’t mean that people with physical and mental limitations cannot be funny or even made fun of in a lighthearted way, but this was clearly mean-spirited.

  • AK

    I think a good example where there is a lighthearted way this was done, and yet misunderstood, was Tropic Thunder. The whole point was to ridicule the way some people with disabilities are used by Hollywood for the sake of self-glorification instead of any real concern for them. But many people felt disturbed by its representation, not understanding the point.

  • HK,

    Tropic Thunder!

    That is a funny movie, enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • HK,

    I did not enjoy the movie as much as Tito, but it had some good parts. I think those actors have so much talent (acting talent, they seem vapid in everything else) that more could have been done.

    Nevertheless, the scene you reference is funny and I agree, it is not offensive because the object of ridicule is not people with mental retardation or other handicaps.

    Stiller does not seem like the kind of guy who would cater to low humor as pertains to people with special needs. Mary’s brother in Something About Mary, which was funny and extremely inappropriate was not disparaged even though he was made fun of. Stiller’s character comes to his defense. Additionally, Dillon’s character refers to people with special needs when he is lying to Mary about how much he likes working with them as ‘retards’, but he is clearly portrayed as a man with very low moral character.

    We cannot be offended at the slightest mention or inappropriate view about sensitive things without referring to the context. I have noticed that many of us, me included, oft times have a knee-jerk defensive reaction when the Church is portrayed in most media. Sometimes it can be done well, I think Doubt was well done and not offensive, Bill Mahr is another matter all together.

    Humor, even off-color humor, can still be funny without being mean.

  • It will come out shortly that Palin used a couple of babies for publicity, and that Trig is NOT her son. I got this info from several non biased observers of the Internet.

    While I have no comment about Palin not getting an abortion (she certainly considered one), I also do not think she has told the truth about the delivery of her baby. I truly do not think the baby she calls Trig is HER baby. Maybe it is her daughter’s, maybe not. The fact is, we do not know for sure what is real and what is not.

  • Michael,

    It is HER baby. The problem is that she was inseminated by a space alien from Zorcon. The delivery was kept secret because it was performed on a Rian spaceship in the Torary Sector. This is what is real. I got it from non-biased sources. It really is.

  • Phillip,

    I’m afraid your ‘sources’ were a bit confused; insemination implies pregnancy and Palin was not pregnant. Trig was transported from the Zorconites via a Rian spaceship (you’re right about their involvement – too many sources have confirmed it at this point), and given to Palin during her flight back to Alaska from Texas. I am still combing through ‘Going Rogue’ for hints about why she was chosen, though.

  • John Henry,

    They’re Zorconians not “Zorconites.” How can I trust you if you can’t even get that right.

  • Pingback: Family Guy Actor Sides With Palin « The American Catholic

Anne de Gaulle

Wednesday, October 28, AD 2009

Anne De Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle could be a very frustrating man.  Churchill, in reference to de Gaulle, said that the heaviest cross he had to bear during the war was the Cross of Lorraine, the symbol of the Free French forces.  Arrogant, autocratic, often completely unreasonable, de Gaulle was all of these.  However, there is no denying that he was also a great man.  Rallying the Free French forces after the Nazi conquest of France, he boldly proclaimed, “France has lost a battle, France has not lost the war.”  For more than a few Frenchmen and women, de Gaulle became the embodiment of France.  It is also hard to dispute that De Gaulle is the greatest Frenchman since Clemenceau “The Tiger”, who led France to victory in World War I.  However, de Gaulle was something more than a great man,  he was also at bottom a good man, as demonstrated by his youngest daughter Anne de Gaulle.

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16 Responses to Anne de Gaulle

  • Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Don.

  • It is a remarkable story Rick. It had to be for me to write positively about de Gaulle, not my favorite historical figure.

    http://www.cavortingwithstrangers.com/bookVIII-Gaulle.php

  • Yeah, I guess that’s part of why the story is so good. That a total *Richard Cranium* like de Gaulle could be capable of loving someone other than himself deeply and sincerely is a welcomed thought. It was a great love story in its own right, but also one of those things that reminds us of the dignity of the person and demonstrates that God is at work in all hearts – whether or not the effects can be seen.

  • A lot of what made de Gaulle such a pita was that he simply *had* to be in order to pull France through the crises it faced. The wounded national psychology required a kingly figure–in fact, a king in all but name, imperious and proud. It was a role imposed by the times, a necessary facade. Anne provides a welcome glimpse behind it.

  • What we need in our own time is a figure – kingly or not – who can persuade the general public that you cannot consume 4% more than you produce for 27 years without a serious danger that your creditors will (rather abruptly) ask for some of the principal of that loan back.

  • Art Deco;

    I read your post and thought Carthago delenda est.

    Not that you are incorrect, but that this does not seem like the appropriate place to bring up defecit spending

  • Beautiful story. Ofttimes a little glimpse into the private history of famous (or infamous) characters can make or break the surface impression formed by public history.

  • First time an article about de Gaulle ever made me cry.

  • Not that you are incorrect, but that this does not seem like the appropriate place to bring up defecit spending

    It was in response to Mr. Price’s comment on Gen. de Gaulle’s qualities as a leader. Our contemporary problems (and I am not referring to the public sector) are intractible but less intense than those faced by France in 1940. If it bothers you, c’est dommage.

  • Yes, I remember deGaulle from the days of WW2. The US of A helped win his country France for him, handed it back to him, and then he kicked the Americans (SHAPE headquarters) out of France. We have been despised by the French ever since.

  • I never realized DeGaulle had a daughter with Down syndrome until I read “Cultural Amnesia” by the Australian critic and writer Clive James. “Cultural Amnesia” is a wonderful book, a compendium of essays about literary, cultural and political figures ranging from Mao and Trotsky to Chesterton, Gibbon – and Louis Armstrong! The villians of the book are the murderous tyrants of the 20th century and their apologists and enablers (Sartre gets a drubbing).

    Here’s what James said about DeGaulle:

    Had he (DeGaulle) been a megalomanic, he would have been less impressive. Napolean, owing allegiance to nothing beyond his own vision, was petty in the end, and the fate of France bothered him little. De Gaulle behaved as if the fate of France was his sole concern, but the secret of his incomparable capacity to act in that belief probably lay in a central humility.,…, the touchstone of his humanity was his daughter. Nothing is more likely to civilize a powerful man than the presence in his house of an injured loved one his power can’t help. Every night he comes home to a reminder that God is not mocked, a cure for invincibility.”

  • WW2 Marine Veteran: First of all, thank you for your service.

    Things have come to a pretty ironic pass these days, haven’t they? The pro-American Sarkozy, elected to replace the anti-American Chirac, has found the new American president is rather cool toward his countries’ allies. Sarkozy publicly chided Obama several weeks ago for being naive about the intentions of the Iranians. It came as a shock to me to realize I agreed with the French president and not the American one.

  • “Nothing is more likely to civilize a powerful man than the presence in his house of an injured loved one his power can’t help.”

    Amen Donna. Thanks also for the tip about Cultural Amnesia. I am going to pick it up.

  • That quote also made me think of Lincoln and the personal tragedies he had to deal with while acting as Commander in Chief.

    I heartily recommend Cultural Amnesia; it’s one of the most original and thought-provoking books I have read in years. If you are like me and enjoy books with a wide historical and cultural range, I’ll bet you’ll like it.

  • I can assure you that the majority of French people hold no grudges against Americans, on the contrary they are deeply grateful for their role in liberating occupied Europe from Nazi Germany. I am currently reading a biography of De Gaulle by his on Philippe (an admiral) who knew him well and am discovering a very different man who had to fight many private battles in his life. He was critized and misunderstood even by his own countrymen. His pride and determination was for his country, but he accepted humbly many personal defeats as a true Christian. He was also a daily communicant.

  • There is an enormous amount of biographical information on Charles de Gaulle. Reading the essential sources by writers from different point of (political) views could make one clear that:
    – De Gaulle had a very sincere conviction about his mission; when he fled to Great Britain in 1940, he had nothing but his beliefs and his family;
    – De Gaulle was a profound democrat; he was the first president not elected by the parliament, but by the people (one man one vote), on his own initiative;
    – De Gaulle gave the French women the right to vote;
    – He was asked to replace the government to save France from chaos as the fourth republic had 22 governments between 1945 and 1958 – the masses demonstrated in the streets at the end of the fifties to call him;
    – De Gaulle gave all French colonies the possibility to gain their independence by vote;
    – De Gaulle had to unite and cure a country that was torn apart by pre-war corruption, largescale wartime collaboration with the Nazis and postwar chaos; by no means he could just go by his own will; he had to be cunning and in many instances had to weigh the bad against the worst;
    – De Gaulle had to fight the permanent threat of mutiny by the highest ranks of France’s military officers in the years of the Algerian independence war – the last attack on his life was on August 15th (sic!) of 1964 by the French terrorist OAS;
    – De Gaulle never threw the US out of France; he did not want a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR being fought at the cost of the European population; for that reason he refused to handover the command in the Mediterranenan area to foreign (read: American, British etc.) powers; for that reason too he created France’s ‘force de frappe’, the necessary nuclear strike to deter any aggressor from threatening Europe’s and especially France’s safety (at that time, we were in the Cold War); moreover his distrust in especially the British government is very understandable as they initially handed over power to pro-Vichy and anti-semitic factions in French colonies in the Middle/Near East at the end of WWII;
    – De Gaulle held F.D. Roosevelt and J.F. Kennedy in a very high esteem;
    – by reading and listening to De Gaulle’s books and speeches and taking his strategic insights into account, much of the misery in Vietnam in the sixties and recently in Iraq would have been avoidable;
    – you cannot measure a statesman’s acts by the way you and your neighbor are supposed to act when discussing the fence that divides your gardens;
    – all sources affirm his immense strategic insights;
    – on humility: in the famous Panthéon in Paris where all great French are (re)buried, De Gaulle is absent; he insisted on being buried next to his daughter Anne; he insisted too that his funeral in his village Colombey-les-deux-églises in Northern France there was not meant to be attended by politicians, by statesmen or by any other celibrity whatsoever, but just by his fellow villagers and his companions of the WWII-resistance; actually, there were more than 30.000 people gathered there, while in Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral the powerful and famous attended the ‘official’ service while all over France church bells were ringing; De Gaulle served as a colonel when WWII started; he was made a brigadier-general by what developed as the Vichy-regime; when he was outvoted by referendum in 1969, he refused his pension as a brigadier-general; he also refused his pension as a president; the pension of a colonel was what he chose; De Gaulle did not wear any signs of honor or distinction other than his brigadier-general’s uniform after WWII (the lowest general in rank); he had not built prestigious personal projects by the time of his stepping down as his successors did; instead, in the sixties he started France’s freeway project, an impulse to France’s weak economy at that time; once he stated that the French were too attached to their belongings and affluence;
    – and so on.