Friday, October 12, 2007

The Sounds of Silence

Ann Coulter, a right wing political commentator, has once again moved into the media spotlight. In her recent remarks on Donny Deutsch's "Big Idea" CNBC show, she said essentially Jews should become Christians so they can become "perfected." The outrage of many Americans is being voiced across news outlets even as I write. I have seen Ms. Coulter on TV several times in the past month, and each time she annoys me more. Her views are NEVER my views, and I often believe she is spouting off just for the sake of getting her face on TV. She seems to really enjoy the media spotlight, and it certainly gives her ample opportunity to show off her very short skirts and spiked heels. But today, I decided to do some searching and see if she had ever lambasted people with disabilities. I didn’t uncover much, and what I did uncover was very subtle. But, I think it gives a very clear window into her level of disability awareness.

As some of you may know, Ms. Coulter had a lot to say about the United States Supreme Court decision in the PGA Tour v. Casey Martin case involving Mr. Martin’s desire to use a riding cart during PGA events. Mr. Martin has a disability. The Supreme Court found that Mr. Martin was within his rights to use a riding cart. (A very good analysis of the case can be found here). Ms. Coulter, however, feels the Supreme Court’s “arrogance knows no bounds. The Supreme Court has now presumed to tell the PGA, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer what is "essential" to the game of golf.” But her most telling comment, at least to me, was what she said about the American’s With Disabilities Act – “Justice Anthony Kennedy has described the ADA as "a milestone on the path to a more decent, tolerant, progressive society" -- which tells you about all you need to know. Also a milestone on the path to a less free society.” It’s the last part of her statement that tells me all I need to know – she believes the ADA is a milestone on the path to a less free society.

If Ms. Coulter believes Jews need ‘perfecting’, one can only imagine what she thinks about people with disabilities. I think it is well past time for the news media to stop giving air time to her. As George Duncan commented on a Diversity.Inc blog, “You should understand that Ann Coulter is a professional performer ... one-trick pony who entertains at conservative events by making deliberately obnoxious statements. The more space you give her, the more you validate her act. The best response to her is silence.”

It’s time for silence.

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