Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Being Brave in the Attempt

I don't intend for this sort of comment, i.e. political in nature, to show up here often, so I'm just going to beg everyone's indulgence for this one time.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver has to be one of the best examples of what one person can accomplish. Yes she had a famous last name, but her work was tireless and inspiring. Her last name may have opened doors for her, but she herself did all the work. The legacy of Eunice and Sargent Shriver is one we can all aspire to. In an age when Michael Jackson is memorialized as a hero, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a real hero. As her son Bobby said, "she never ran for or held office, but she changed the world." And she did. The Special Olympics have given self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of belonging to millions of athletes the world over. Anyone who has ever attended any of these events cannot help but be moved by the spirit and courage of all the competitors. From youngsters to young adults and beyond, Special Olympians exemplify what is best about sport, the effort.

Thanks to Eunice and all the thousands of volunteers worldwide, The Special Olympics endures as a beacon of light. Requeiscat in pacem, EKS. The world you've left behind is so much the better for your efforts and legacy.

And here's where it gets a little political. I'm promising not to rant here (my friends and family know how I feel about the former Governor of Alaska) and in fact I'm not even going to mention this person's name on the same page where I've written about Eunice Shriver, because they are nowhere in the same league, in any respect. Suffice it to say that if the aforementioned ex-Governor of Alaska really wants to do some good (as she professes she does) she would be well served to stop using her handsome young son, who has Downs Syndrome, as some sort of prop. Perhaps she could take a page from Eunice Shriver's book and actually make a difference by helping other people rather than just being a negative force who has found the spotlight and likes it rather too much to give it up. If Caribou Barbie wishes to be seen as a positive participant in the discussions of government and health care and beyond, she'd be wise to study up on Eunice and Sargent Shriver and see the impact they've made. Not just by showing the broad and amazing capabilities of those with intellectual difficulties, but of how much these individuals have to offer us all.

I'd also suggest that Caribou Barbie take a long hard look at the motto of the Special Olympics: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt. That means take pride in the effort, try harder the next time, and acknowledge when your opponent has performed better than you have.

Thus endeth the sermon. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

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