The “R-word”

Last year while a senior in high school at a K-12 private school, I worked with children before and after school whose parents weren’t able to drop them off or pick them up due to their occupation, office location, or were just simply busy.  I work with a boy named Aidan, then a fourth grader, whose mother, Amy, is a special education/life skills teacher at an elementary school in a high-low, low-income area of Austin.  As I began to get to know Amy, Aidan, and Amy’s daughter, Maysie, then a seventh grader at the same school, I began to have an occasional meal over at their house, which was close to the school.  One time, I was commenting on something I had heard and I said, “Well, that’s retarded…” and continued on with my statement.  When I had finished, I looked up and saw Aidan wide-eyed in surprise, Maysie in about the same situation, and Amy yelled, “What did you just say?!?”  She then began to explain why saying the “R-word” is bad.  I began to realize it as well and began to try to censor myself at all times, but especially when I was around that family, from saying it.

Sarah Palin, last Tuesday, February 2, blasted President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel by saying, on her Facebook blog, that he should get fired from the administration for saying the “R-word” in a closed meeting at the White House.

Just a few days later, on his show, Rush Limbaugh decided to add the “R-word” to his rather extensive, unappealing vocabulary.  After being notified of Limbaugh’s statement, a Palin aide said, “Gov. Palin believes crude and demeaning name-calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”  While it was reported by the Washington Post that she was also calling Limbaugh out on his use of the “R-word,” that statement was later explained to POLITICO in which the spokesperson then said it was bad if anyone says it but the statement was not calling out Limbaugh.

Personally, this makes me think of the family I know and still eat meals with and hang out with pretty regularly when I go back home from college.  To me, it would equate to Amy telling her daughter Maysie that she can use the “R-word” and it wouldn’t phase her at all, and then telling her son Aidan that he should never use it, that it is a demeaning word (which in my opinion, it is) and scolding and punishing him when he decides to use the word.  It would be hypocritical.

Gov. Palin needs to have some decency and not let Limbaugh get away with this–if you are going to slam one person for using it, you need to hold that standard to everyone, not just the people with which you agree politically.  It is hypocritical of her organization to hold Rahm Emanuel accountable for his use of the word in a private meeting and not hold Rush Limbaugh accountable for using the word on his nationally “acclaimed” radio show.

I’m sure there is some correlation between the fact that if Rush Limbaugh decided he didn’t like Palin criticizing him, he could turn a large part of the conservative American population against her and thus putting a big dent in, if not completely ending, her political career.

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