Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Thank You Very Much John Franklin Stephens

John Franklin Stephens
Ann Coulter
Somehow I doubt anyone reading this will not know the story already. Ann Coulter in a tweet wrote a rather vile comment after the last debate "I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard."  She even went on to make at least one further 'retarded' joke.

Okay Coulter is the most vile kind of media parasite. It is hard to even think of Coulter without thinking of a series of explicative terms come to my mind. I frankly can't imagine being kind to this person. How this woman got to be a pundit on American television shows the terrible impact the 24-7 news cycle has had on American journalism.

Vultures like Coulter are eager to term Twitter and other Web 2.0 platforms in to new grounds for them to harvest people's lowest and most disturbed instincts. Their type want to turn Twitter in to the kind of hate speech platform they have turned much of TV in to, with the goal of selling their talents at hatred for money.

But maybe another technology gave us something to be happy about. 

John Franklin Stephens is a man with Downs syndrome and a member of Special Olympics in Virginia, and on October 23rd John became a blogger.

 There are so many blogs out there, and blogging has been with us so long now it is easy to forget just how powerful and democratic a tool a blog is. Blogging is what really started the entire Social Media revolution and despite all the hype about Twitter and Facebook blogs are still the most liberating tool the web has given us as people to use. Blogs can give to every person on the web a chance to engage in the global debate, and unlike Wikipedia no admin is likely to delete your post, and unlike Twitter you are not confined to 140 words.

John used his extra words with amazing eloquence and dignity. He concludes his well constructed posted with an kind hearted invitation to Coulter:

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honour.  
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.  
A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia 


Reading this is more humbling than anything. I have been blogging for over 12 years now and I have never been able to compose anything so eloquent and powerful. John has given us much to think about, not only about how we should think about the way our prejudices might hurt others in society, but also how lucky we are to live in a time when a technology exists that makes it possible for all of use to read this remarkable man's words.

Thank You Very Much John Franklin Stephens

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