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Fri Oct 26, 2012, 10:12 PM

John Franklin Stephens Thanked Ann Coulter For Helping Him Make 3.2 Million (3,200,000!) New Friends

Last edited Sat Oct 27, 2012, 05:52 AM - Edit history (1)

On Piers Morgan just now.

A epic masterclass in warmth, politeness and generosity of spirit!

Here's the open letter he wrote to her the other day: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/ann-coulter-retard-john-franklin-stephens-special-olympics-open-letter_n_2008538.html

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Reply John Franklin Stephens Thanked Ann Coulter For Helping Him Make 3.2 Million (3,200,000!) New Friends (Original post)
Turborama Oct 2012 OP
sabrina 1 Oct 2012 #1
Turborama Oct 2012 #6
sabrina 1 Oct 2012 #8
Tigress DEM Oct 2012 #2
Arugula Latte Oct 2012 #3
Turborama Oct 2012 #4
2ndAmForComputers Oct 2012 #7
Turborama Oct 2012 #5

Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 10:57 PM

1. That was a fantastic letter, and THIS is the most effective way to respond to

right wing hate mongers. Calling them names etc. just fuels their hatred and gives them an opportunity to claim we are hypocrites, condemning their hatred by responding with hatred.

What he did was to put the focus on HIM and what he had to say which is way more worthwhile listening to, drowning out her garbage with intelligence and class and relegating it to where it belongs.

That he made so many friends doing it and then thanked her for all those new friends, is brilliant.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:20 AM

6. Hi, Sabrina!

Sorry, I meant to say hi earlier.

Thanks for your comments, yet again you speak my mind but express it better and more succinctly than I could.

"...drowning out her garbage with intelligence and class and relegating it to where it belongs."


How do you feel the election's going, btw?

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Response to Turborama (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 10:48 PM

8. Hi Turborama,

great to see you around again. Re the election, I feel certain that Obama will win and that Dems will hold onto the Senate and maybe even gain a few seats. I would love it if we could take back the House, and there is a very, very slim chance imo, but it's unlikely this election. However, with several Repubs really screwing things up for themselves, in Florida eg, I think we will increase the number of seats we have in Congress.

A clean sweep would be great, but making up some of the losses from 2010 looks more realistic at this point.

Getting people out to vote is most important right now and the Dems seem to be doing a good job so far. I'm an optimist though so while I don't want to be disappointed, I am keeping my fingers crossed re Congress. You never know!

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 11:03 PM

2. 3.2 million +1!!

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 11:05 PM

3. That is great ... You might want to fix the typo in your subject line -- Coulter, not Counter

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 26, 2012, 11:24 PM

4. Fixed!

Thanks a lot for pointing it out. I'm really busy and totally missed it.

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 11:23 AM

7. If you ask me, an even more accurate way to fix that typo would be removing the letter "o."

But that's just me.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 03:45 AM

5. Transcript of his conversation with Piers

Link (includes the fractious conversation beforehand with Coulter, if you can bear to read it): http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1210/26/pmt.01.html

JOHN FRANKLIN STEPHENS, GLOBAL MESSENGER, SPECIAL OLYMPICS VIRGINIA: After I saw your Tweet, I realized that you wanted to belittle the president by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult.


MORGAN: Ann Coulter called the president a retard, an astonishing open letter from John Franklin Stephens, who goes by the name of Frank. He has Down Syndrome and he is a global messenger for the Special Olympics. I'm pleased to have Frank with me now live tonight, along with the CEO of special Olympics, Tim Shriver. Welcome to you both.

Frank, let me start with you, because I found your speech this morning that you wrote was extremely moving. You heard Ann Coulter there trying to insist that the word retard is not offensive. What was your reaction to that?

STEPHENS: Well, the word retard is offensive and should not be -- should not be a symbol for someone who is dumb and shallow. If they wanted to use me as a symbol, use it as a symbol for someone who fights adversity.

MORGAN: And Tim, when you heard her getting very agitated about it, and insisting she would carry on using the word -- it was no worse than moron, imbecile, cretin, whatever, what is your reaction there? I mean, you've heard this debate before. My argument to her was quite clear. I think that retard, in particular, has been adopted by people who want to be offensive to people with disability, more than any of those other words, and therefore has a special significance that people are aware of.

TIM SHRIVER, CEO, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: I think the question isn't which word is worse. I think the reason so many people like Frank have tried to raise their voice about the word is because there is a long, long history of discrimination and humiliation against people who have intellectual differences. It goes back centuries in this country and in other countries around the world, and continues today. People are denied health care, denied education, denied employment, denied their humanity, made fun of, ridiculed and humiliated.

And most people don't even realize it's going on. So this word in particular has carried the sting of that humiliation. And for many people -- Frank is a wonderful and articulate spokesman for millions of people who when they hear that word are reminded of all the painful ways in which they have to struggle against that adversity every day. So they have just made a simple request. And that is to make people aware of the fact that the word hurts, that the word is a reminder of that humiliation, and try to be aware of it, so that we can do better in the future.

It's not an attempt to police folks. It's just an attempt to invite them into seeing the world with a more joyful and accepting way, and to see this population as part of the future that we all want to build, that's more harmonious and accepting for everybody.

MORGAN: I completely agree with you. I think it was a facile argument. Frank, let me ask you, if you met the president of the United States? Have you ever met him?

STEPHENS: I have. I recently was at the White House, the signing of Rosa's Law.

MORGAN: What I was going to say to you was, putting aside the word retard that she used, I just thought being that offensive about the president of this country in itself is offensive. I couldn't imagine that you would ever say anything offensive about your president. Do you think there's a wider argument that, putting aside the disability, the word retard, the offense it causes to people like yourself, that actually you should just use more respect to the president?

STEPHENS: Of course. I mean, people should respect the president because one, I don't know that the president has ever been bullied as a child before, but -- but I know that people -- when people get bullied and when people use the R word, it's just offensive.

MORGAN: Tim, what I -- you know, you come from obviously a big family with presidential history to it. There is sort of a sense of Washington getting so poisonous that the punditry and commentary on cable television, network television, everywhere really, the language being deployed and casually deployed about the president, about great politicians in this country is getting so ridiculous that it just diminishes everybody.

SHRIVER: It really -- I think this is why people like the athletes of Special Olympics -- Frank again is an extraordinary representative of them -- have such a powerful message, which is that we're almost becoming almost, it seems like, a nation of bullies. You know, we bully people in sports. We bully children in school. The rhetoric in politics is bullies left, bullies right, right bullies left.

People like Frank and his fellow athletes, it is not a partisan issue. This movement has been supported by Republicans fabulously, as well as by Democrats. There's no attempt to make political points here. What we're trying to do with Ms. Coulter and with everybody -- it's not just her. It's not personal to her.

As Frank has said in his letter, he sees her as a friend that he just hasn't met yet. What we're trying to do is say that a culture of bullying, a culture of using words that are painful -- and words do matter. Writers know this especially, and Ann's one of those. Words matter. And the way in which we use words matter. And we might want to take a step back from where we've found ourselves as a culture and try to open ourselves to a kind of dialog that promotes a much more tolerant and a much more harmonious and a much more, I would say, communal vision of the future.

MORGAN: Frank, let me give you the last word. You signed the letter to Ann Coulter from a friend you hadn't met yet. What would you like to say in conclusion?

STEPHENS: I would like to say thank you. You helped me make 3.2 million new friends. And I wish that you would be one more.

MORGAN: I'll see what I can do. Let's try and make it happen. Frank, it's been a delight to have you on my show. Congratulations on being such an inspiration. And also thanks to you, Tim Shriver. I really enjoyed having you both on. Thank you.

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