|Le Silence, Odilon Redon|
Le Silence is the title of the above painting by the French artist Odilon Redon. I won't ever forget the moment I saw it, nearly thirty years ago, somewhere along the coast of France in a museum with a retrospective of his paintings. I'd never heard of Redon and still don't know much about him, but that painting made me stop and stare and has always resonated with me.
Well, I'm not going to be silent about this -- this question I've had all morning -- this thought:
A man was executed last night in the state of Texas for murder. His clemency appeal had been denied by the Supreme Court of the United States. The man had an alleged IQ of 61. He was mentally retarded. The accuracy of the IQ number was evidently in question, and the man was perhaps not as significantly mentally retarded as originally determined.
In the state of Pennsylvania, a top Republican operative made a joke to a crowd of 200 people about Obama supporters being "mentally retarded." Evidently, not a single person objected. Here's the joke: I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly — he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, ‘Sir, here’s a place.’ And he said, ‘That’s a handicapped space.’ I said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded." You can read that story here.
During the last week, I've been arguing, fruitlessly, in the comment section with a man who insists on calling me a libtard. You can read a bit of that here.
What kind of state is Texas that kills a man who is mentally retarded? What kind of country do we live in that allows the death penalty when every single other western, industrialized, so-called "civilized" country has banned it?
What kind of country is this where people support an openly bigoted corporation that sells processed fried chicken sandwiches behind the mantle of "freedom of speech," defends the right to carry semi-automatic guns in the name of liberty from tyranny and kills a mentally retarded man in the dead of night and calls it justice?
Why should we be proud of ourselves?
Why are we silent? How can those of us who agree that this action is obscene -- the state-sanctioned, institutional murder of a mentally retarded man -- change it? How can we turn aside or laugh, even uncomfortably when people continue to use the mentally retarded, people like my daughter Sophie, as the basis for their jokes and criticism?
I think we need to scream:
|The Scream, Edvard Munch|
|Jim Roddey, Pennsylvania's Allegheny County GOP Chair|
firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 412-458-0068
(Mr. Roddey's phone: 412-512-6747)
The Republican Committee of Allegheny County
100 Fleet Street, Suite 205
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
And I realize that it's stupid to argue with others on a conservative blog. I don't want to say I'm like a fly to shit, because that would imply I think conservative views are shit. I really don't.