Friday, March 20, 2009


Last night our president Barack Obama appeared on Jay Leno's show, and today's news has been filled with rehash after rehash of the president's "Special Olympics gaffe." Basically, he described his bowling score as one of Special Olympics stature.
Though it may have been careless, it wasn't as egregious as others have declared it. I'm not a fan of the president's monetary or social policies; you know that. But as a fair person, I have to say to you that I don't believe he meant any harm or disrepect toward the Special Olympics, of which he's been supportive.
The president is a highly scripted speaker, not used to talking off the cuff in such a setting as Leno's show. And almost every one of us can remember with some lingering embarassment a statement we have made that "just came out wrong." It happens to us all at some point in our lives.
Yes, I can hear you saying... if a white had made such a careless statement about an African American (or vice versa), it would have raised a furor.
Maybe that's the problem. We need to begin looking at a person's intent and stop super-analyzing a person's every word, looking for trouble; or there's no way on earth than any of us will ever be able to enter into fruitful dialogue with each other.
If our words can be weapons, our ears can be weapons too, especially when we're looking for trouble (searching deeply for any small violation of our own secret personal code of acceptable words and phrases) rather than listening.
If you disagree with the president (as I often do), don't distract your civil discourse with petty muckety-muck.
Citizen R.A.T. (Rose About Town) signs off for now. She's lowering her head to avoid attacks her reflective words might incite.