White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is under fire this week for his controversial use of the “R-” word in a strategy session months ago, calling liberal attendees and their plans to air ads attacking conservative Democrats “F–ing retarded.”
The Wall Street Journal originally reported Emanuel’s comment last week, but it was Former Vice Presidential Candidate and Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin who stirred national attention to his poor choice of words. Palin called for Emanuel’s firing Monday, and wrote on Facebook: “Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities — and the people who love them — is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.” Emanuel apologized Wednesday to Special Olympics head Tim Shriver and others at the White House.
The controversy over the “R-” word permeated blogs and news media this week. But interestingly to me, all the concern seems to be focused solely on the use of the “R-” word. No one seems to care that he also used the “F-” word, despite the fact that most journalists have refrained from spelling it in full even once.
Granted – a word that degrades a people group ranks of higher concern than foul language. I understand and share the concern over Emanuel’s use of the “R-” word. It is intolerable. However, I am also concerned that a man of such stature would use the “F-” word, and no one is saying anything about that half of the offensive slur.
I’ll never forget my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Millsap, who, after reading the “F-” word on the bathroom wall, came unglued in front of our class saying something to the effect of, “Until this day I have never had to utter this word from my mouth. I am angry it was written, and I am angry to have been forced to say it.”
In the old days, as we like to say, using the “F-” word was considered uncouth and uncivilized, foul and foolish, vulgar and offensive. Some chose to use the word, but I dare say they weren’t promoted to the level of White House Chief of Staff. And if they were, they surely held their tongue while acting as our government officials in our government buildings conducting our government business.
Founded on Judeo-Christian values, the United States of America deserves more honorable behavior by our nation’s leaders. Our children deserve better role models. I share Mrs. Millsap’s anger today. I am angry that the “F-” word was said by one of our nation’s highest officials in an official capacity; I am angry to have been forced to write about it; and I am angry that no one else has expressed similar concern.
Use of the “R-” word is deplorable. But when did the “F-” word become okay?