The following is an excerpt from “To heal our divisions, listen to people with intellectual disabilities,” an op-ed by Timothy Shriver for the Washington Post.
“Today, most Americans have concluded that there is a group that is just too “other” to deserve respect or inclusion. For many, it’s Trump voters. For others, it’s liberal elites. For others, it’s certain people of faith or people of color. The pattern is familiar. Some person or group has a quality, characteristic or belief that provokes a judgment so extreme it cannot be tolerated. “They” don’t deserve our respect or welcome. Therefore, they are hopeless, of no value. We must defeat, fix or crush them.
Special Olympics can’t solve the political or cultural challenges of our time, but it can offer some lessons worth learning.
First, have faith, not necessarily in a particular religion or creed but in the goodness within every person. Choose to believe that everyone has something valuable and beautiful to offer. A deeply felt faith in the goodness within each person was the first step in healing the vicious prejudices against people with intellectual disabilities. People who believed in them refused to accept the judgments of those who didn’t.”