Yeah, figured this would happen

March 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

“This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world,” Palin said in a statement released Friday. “These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will. By the way, these athletes can outperform many of us and we should be proud of them. I hope President Obama’s comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community.”

via CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – Palin, Shriver target Obama for Special Olympics comment « – Blogs from CNN.com.

And the shit hit the fan. But, besides the fact that Obama made a plump joke and just got downgraded from Messiah to Belsebub, I’d like to take a minute and reflect on Palins statement here. I’ll point out the part I’m wondering about:

“our world’s most precious and unique people”

Isn’t this… well.. Isn’t this a bit like talking about puppies? “You are such a cute little puppy, the cutest and best puppy in the WORLD”. Or babies! “Such a beautiful little lovely baby, aren’t you just the cutest most precious baby in the world!”.

Yeah, what’s wrong with that you might say.. Well. IT ISN’T the cutest puppy and the best baby ever. And the people competing in the special olympics aren’t our most precious people. Every human being has an equal value as an individual, but I’d say that our most precious people probably are doctors and farmers, and scientists, maybe? Our most unique people.. Well, they do seem to live in USA all of them at least.

And think of this, if your kid draws some sort of incomprehensible doodle on a paper and claims it’s a duck, you’ll say “yeah, it’s such a good duck too! What an artist you are!” and you’ll pin it up on the fridge. You might even torture you’re friends by calling them up and tell them about the remarkable doodle duck (and your friends will hate you, and no longer be your friends. Don’t ever call me to talk about doodles your kids made, ok?), and for your kids level of skill (eye hand coordination, etcetera), it might be a remarkably good doodle duck.

But it’s still just a freaking doodle. If you take it out of context, and put it in a museum, people will walk by and say “Hey, isn’t that just a kids drawing?”. Because it’s not art.

Conclusion: Just because you are extremely good at something on your level, with your skills, with your background, it doesn’t mean that you actually are good at it. I suck at math for example. I have a very high level of understanding of logical problems, in comparision to others with my level of math ed, but that doesn’t make me good at math in general. It’s just a way of saying “oh well, it could have been worse”.

So, no, this is not about our most precious and unique asset to the human race, at all. It’s about people who are extremely skilled at what they do, in context of their background. Can please agree on it that there is an important difference here? And that differnece can be simply put like this: In one of the cases you pat people on the head like if they were babies. In the other you respect them enough to put their skills partly in context of both their background, and the real world.

Now you choose.

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