Chad Collie

My American Dream can be summed up in just a few words, but further elaborated  in oceans of thought. I have had many dreams of my own as an American, but as the years have went by and as I have evolved in wisdom by learning from the Bible, I have learned humility and that this life and earth does not revolve around me. As I have begun to think of others more than myself, I have begun to realize that my dream takes a back seat to the dreams of my grandfather that lives and my grandmother that has passed on. And if I were to sum up their dream, it would be this…………”TO ABOLISH THE WORD ‘RETARD’ FROM THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, AND EVERY DISCRIMINATORY AND PROFANE CONNOTATION THAT GOES WITH IT”. You see, as a child, I grew up with an uncle that my grandparents raised as their son, he was born a normal, typical child, but due to severe allergies and a brief period of a lack of oxygen to his brain, he became what we now refer to as ‘special needs’. When we lost Randy last year suddenly in his sleep, it became almost immediately apparent to us that we had lost one of the most precious souls on the planet. We had known this to a degree before Randy’s passing, but as the American proverb states ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’.  As I was growing up, ‘retard’ was one of those words that you just DID NOT say in our family. I appreciate that more progressively  as the years have went by. It is those that so ignorantly and arrogantly proclaim to use this word ‘retard’ toward those that are ‘special’  that are truly those who are ‘slow in learning’.  After my uncle’s passing and growing in my appreciation of the impact he had on my life, I have learned that it is those that are like him that are much wiser and more innocent than the rest we call ‘normal’. Randy had many characteristics like those with Down’s Syndrome (a loving and forgiving heart, an almost never ending smile and the ability to be a  friend  to anyone worthy of their love, and many times those not so worthy.) It infuriated me last year to find out from a speech that Rick Santorum gave that around 90% of those diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome in the womb are aborted . My anger is not so much an anger toward those who abort them, but anger toward a society that no longer realizes how precious these wonderful people are in society. If we, as a people, do not cherish and honor those who are weaker, we are part of a greater  problem that will in the end defeat us as a society……….if we are so hardhearted and calloused that we cannot appreciate the wisdom, value and example these precious souls bring to our land, then we are fools without hope. In conversations with my grandfather after my uncle’s passing, he told me of the time when he was  in a department store and an imbecile as they were passing says ‘Hey George!’ laughing, my grandfather and Randy (as a child) walks by again and the guy says ‘Hey George, what tree did you fall out of?’ in ignorant mockery because Randy looked a little different and proclaiming he was like a monkey that fell out of a tree, so my granddad confronted  the guy as he was making fun of my uncle, and let’s just say he gave this guy the verbal smackdown of his life and that conversation changed that young man for life.  At times I ask myself how mankind can be so hateful, but I know myself at times in life have made stupid choices without considering the impact on others, so again my American Dream is simple…….to carry out what would make my grandparents and Randy happy and fulfil their dreams……TO ABOLISH THE WORD ‘RETARD’ FROM THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, AND EVERY DISCRIMINATORY AND PROFANE CONNOTATION THAT GOES WITH IT AND TO BRING POSITIVE AWARENESS AND EQUAL RESPECT TO THOSE WE CALL ‘SPECIAL NEEDS’. It’s actually US that have the special need to change OUR hearts. As for my own personal dreams, they remain, but they remain 2nd.  I know that this dream is just a dream and that every person will not change, but please consider your words wisely and open your heart to honor those that may appear weaker, but have stronger and more innocent hearts and souls. We were happy and blessed recently to see a father DANCING with his young daughter with Down’s Syndrome in a Wendy’s restaurant……that’s my realistic American Dream…….that more kids like that little girl can dance with their parent in a Wendy’s with a beautiful smile on their face and be cherished as precious, because they are.

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published this page in American Dream 2013-04-06 12:06:20 -0400