Retarded or Not?

(warning… this discussion, while treated in an adult fashion, contains reference to words we do not like to hear from our youngsters.  Please read it yourself before allowing them to read it, as well)


There is a brouhaha brewing in the White House.  Yeah, I know… “ho hum, what else is new?”  It IS getting tedious, isn’t it?

Still, there’s a controversy afoot, and I’m interested in your take.  It is yet another case of “To PC or Not to PC”.

On or about January 25, Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, uttered the phrase “f-ing retarded,” either in reference to the people he was in meeting with (according to Sarah Palin’s Facebook Notes) or in reference to the idea of exposing Obama’s failures on the healthcare issue (according to the Wall Street Journal).

I have to wonder why this has not yet been blown up to the scandal that President Bush faced when he swore in front of an open mike (2006), or the professionally fatal blow delivered to Trent Lott over comments made at a roast honoring Strom Thurmond’s 100th Birthday.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to not be subject to yet another scandal – Lord knows we’ve had enough of them – but I have to wonder why.

To my knowledge, President George W. Bush swore once in public.  He was excoriated for it, because it was “unpresidential” and he “should have known” that “any mike is a live mike.”  We endured at least a week of shocked reporters discussing Vice President Cheney’s invitation to Senator Leahy to “f-himself”.  But now, it seems like we hear about the potty-mouth tendencies of this administration with disturbing frequency:

  • Rahm Emanuel says that an idea/group of people are “f’ing retarded”
  • Van Jones calls Republicans “a-holes”
  • Joe Biden says, “give me a f’ing break” on a live mike (“I didn’t know it was live”) in a March, 2009 meeting about Amtrak
  • President Obama calls Kanye West a “jackass”

Why is there no uproar?  Why is there no serious call for public apology, followed by a stint in rehab?  Yes, Mr. Emanuel made a private phone call to Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics, apologizing for the remark.  Apparently, we are being asked to accept that the privately issued apology is enough.  But it wasn’t enough for Bush, Cheney or Lott.

The only difference I see here is that most of the potty-mouthed incidents from the current administration are said in public, sometimes in press conferences (the Kanye statement), whereas the previous administration uttered most of their profanity behind closed doors.  Or at least away from the public.

I do not have virgin ears.  I am not saying that there should be no profanity at all.  I’m an adult.  I swear plenty, and I know that other adults swear plenty, as well.  The difference is, I know the difference between acting in a professional manner – which includes finding substitutes for profane words when I’m in a public or professional situation – and swearing in an empty house when I stub my toe or trip over the dog.

Yeah, I know the answer, even as I ask the question.  That was then, this is now.  “They” were Republicans, these guys are Democrats.

Personally, I’m not sure that Mr. Emanuel should be fired over this comment.  The word “retarded,” as politically incorrect as it is now, has been part of the vernacular as long as I can remember.  I don’t know if it rises to the seriousness of the “n-word”, as Sarah Palin alleges, although I’m not quite sure why the “n-word” is as heinous as everyone makes it out to be.  Perhaps that’s because I know and understand that words are only harmful if they’re used as weapons.  There are plenty of occasions where any word that can be construed as “hate speech” can be used in an innocuous way.  But in this atmosphere of Political Correctness, every word must be chosen with the utmost care, because every word that’s on “the list” is forbidden in any situation regardless of the context.

So, this long rant brings me back to my original question: Should Rahm Emanuel be fired for referring to people as “f-ing retarded”?  (because I know plenty of you think he should be fired for other reasons).

This entry was posted in adults, behavior, Political Correctness, politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Retarded or Not?

  1. Joy says:

    I guess I don’t really think he should be fired for this but I do wonder why there are such differences. Unless it’s most of these statements were made in the “now” and Bush, Cheney and the others were in the “past” and “things” change. Words change. What were once “normal” words to use are now racist words or words of hate.

    Let me put it like this. I personally think if something affects you personally, it’s going to bother you more. The ladies of The View were talking about this one day last week. I want to say maybe Thurs. Barbara Walters had a “mentally retarded” sister whom she loved very much and writes very lovingly about her in her book “Audition.” In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, this is the term we used. Now it’s changed. Is it still “mentally handicapped?” I’m out of the loop and I’m not sure. So Barbara said this statement bothered her.

    Then the discussion got turned to the “n” word. Now me personally, never use that word and neither would my husband or my boys IN FRONT OF ME. We just weren’t allowed to say it growing up so it’s just a word I don’t like. But, Barbara said that word didn’t bother her and “African American” people say it all the time so unless it’s said as a “weapon” or a “slam” to someone, what’s the harm in it? Well, Whoopi and Sherry Shepard, both black women hate the “n” word but had no problem with “retarded.”

    So, it brings me to wonder if it’s just what’s inside of us that makes us hate certain words. Any word you say to insult some whether it be “fat” or “rude” or “liar,” I feel it’s the context to which the word is used.

  2. SKL says:

    Here’s what deeply disappoints me. In all seriousness. It’s the fact that the American public hasn’t figured out this ridiculous political game yet. Or at least, some have not. And much of the media knowingly panders to this tragic ignorance.

    They have built up this whole nonsensical image that the libs and Democrats are always caring, sensitive, down to earth, etc., while the conservatives and Republicans are all racist, insensitive, greedy assholes. And it’s all pure theatre, and people buy it.

    Well, actually, it’s a lot like sports. Let’s use and abuse the Vikings for a moment. Remember back at the beginning of the season, when everyone was hating Favre? Remember? There were one or two posts here about that. Some of you were adamant that you’d never “love” Favre again. But you are football lovers, Vikings lovers, and you rode the wave and some of you forgot to be angrey at Favre. And I think that is wonderful, because it’s sports, and even if you are passionate about it, it doesn’t hurt anyone or take over your life (at least, not after the football season is over). But politics is real life. These people are basically stealing your hard-earned savings, attacking you and your children for being who you are, encouraging others to hate you, destroying your opportunities, all based on rhetoric and lies.

    I just want you all to know that Archie Bunker is my personal hero.

    And no, I don’t think Rahm Asshole should be fired for saying “retarded.” And I have no doubt in my mind that he’s said a lot of worse things. But I am very much looking forward to having him and his whole mob gone from DC forever.

  3. Just a Mom says:

    I think Rahm Emanuel should be given a break only if he admits that he is “f-ing retarded.”
    All joking aside we all know that in politics they play the Do As I Say And Not As I Do game. This will never change. What bugs me is that they pay more attention to this type of garbage, by design of course, instead of the more important problems at hand.

    • Joy says:

      I agree JAM. They spend so much time tearing each other apart and it makes me wonder, don’t they have anything better to do? With all out problems, deal with those and leave this kind of BS alone.

  4. Excellent rant, Laura!

    I won’t belabour the point here, but my feeling on the matter is that political correctness is fucking retarded.

  5. javajunkee says:

    I think the head fucking moron in the white house along with his fucking moronic group need to be outed!

  6. Nikki says:

    Having a down syndrome cousin who I was very close to growing up….I HATE that word. Mainly because when people use it it’s because they are trying to talk down on someone and make them feel stupid. Mentally challenged people aren’t stupid they are wired different. If it were to strictly be referred to as describing a person with mentally retardation the word wouldn’t bother me.
    As to your question…no I don’t think he should be fired. It was a bad choice and doesn’t show very good character. I hope he learns from it. He should be “punished” for it. Just like any other person of that caliber would and has been. Things like this will never be “fair.” One way will always swing more to the right…more to the left. I agree with JAM LOL….do your damn job and stop sweatin the little shit!

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