I rarely watch t.v., but last night, when I couldn't fall asleep, I decided to flip through the channels and was surprised to see President Obama on with Jay Leno. Again, I state for the record, I didn't like any of my choices in this election so it's not as if I'm a staunch Obama supporter. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I think he has a genuineness about him that's unique and he is usually an eloquent speaker. Last night I felt like he was just hanging out, being him. He answered the tough questions in layman's terms so that the everyday joes and joannes like me could understand it. I actually laughed out loud several times during the interview. I thought the part about the puppy was pretty cute.
I have devoted the past two decades of my life to helping children with special needs. Tirelessly advocating for them both individually and collectively, I pride myself on my ability to obtain the services they and their families need and deserve and to make sure school systems are following through to the letter of the law. I've worked hard at educating people to use "people first" language so as not to define others by their disabilities... and, further, have encouraged the use of the term "differently abled" instead of "disabled" for obvious reasons. I am the mother of a child with special needs. His issues fall more into the mild realm, but my clients range from mildly to profoundly involved.
I am the person who if someone uses the word "retarded" cringes and he/she gets an earful. The truth is, though, I watched Obama talk about his bowling ability and I actually didn't even catch what it was he said to Leno. Once I started hearing the public outcry read that he made a reference to the Special Olympics, I still wasn't offended. He was making fun of himself and meant no disrespect. Was it a good choice of words? No. Was it horrific? Well, seems to me I'm easily offended by that sort of thing and I wasn't.
I am also confused about why people are so critical of his decision to go on Leno. I actually think it's brilliant on so many levels. Why should he stop trying to connect with people and deliver his message or market his ideas simply because the election is over? Have we forgotten that our president is, at the end of the day a figurehead in a lot of ways? Do we not have a system of checks and balances for a reason? Should we try to make all presidents the same? Should they all do the same thing? Be the same man? Seems to me that if we keep on doing what we've been doing, we'll keep on getting what we've got, and for me, personally, that is unacceptable. I embrace out of the box thinking by all people, including the president of the United States. This is not about Democrats or Republicans or He Said/She Said. It's about rebuilding a country that needs rebuilding. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you are blessed beyond words to have not been affected... yet.
So to those of you who are appalled by the president's appearance on Leno I say... seriously? Lighten the fuck up America, we have bigger fish to fry.