Sarah Palin, Andrea Friedman, Satire and Down Syndrome

Sarah, Piper and Trig Palin make a late night stop on book tour


So this time what started it all was an article in The Washington Post. In the article it was mentioned that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel scolded Democrats by calling them F%$&#*@G Retarded for their idea of running commercials against moderate Dems that weren’t supporting Healthcare Reform in a more aggressive manner. Rahm apparently made the remark during a closed door meeting in August of 2009. And just as we would expect Sarah Palin dove right in for one more chance to slam the guy who she thinks is sitting in her office right now where she really believes she should rightfully be. So in true Sarah Palin fashion we got a Facebook Note:

The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, “F—ing retarded,” according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

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.

Then Rush Limbaugh felt the need to jump into the fray. It appears he was hoping to antagonize Mrs. Palin a bit as he went on to repeat the word retard over 40 times in just a few minutes. And he used it repeatedly referring to several people not only as retarded but ‘retards’ too. He railed on about our ‘politically correct society’ and practically accused Sarah of being just another pawn in the game. He even went so far as stating that Rahm Emanuel’s recent remarks were going to force The White House to hold a ‘retard summit’.

So how did Sarah feel about Rush’s repeated use of the word on his show?

Not a problem, Rush is a funny guy, he uses satire, sure that’s ok, we find it funny when it’s satire, no problem here, but Rahm, nope he can’t use that word. Ever. Me, Rush and others like me…….now that’s another story.

In fact Rush went back on the air after Palin spoke about his use of the word to tell his listeners that one of Sarah Palin’s aides called him in a panic begging him not to be mad at Sarah. They needed to make sure Rush wouldn’t slam Sarah on his show for being the hypocrite that she is.

When Stephen Colbert went on television a few nights later and called Sarah Palin F*#$%^@G Retarded again not a word. I guess that’s because he was using satire, huh?

Andrew Sullivan had this interesting take on the whole situation:

Palin, in contrast, called her own campaign prop “her retarded baby” in private, according to an eye-witness account from the father of her own grandson who lived in her house for months and knew her intimately. “I was just in shock the first time I heard it,” Levi Johnston told CBS. Unlike Sarah Palin, Johnston has not been caught in multiple indisputable lies. I believe him over her. In fact, in any factual dispute, I believe anyone over her.

While I’m at it, does anyone actually believe that Palin’s name for the child of miraculous provenance was found by her deep knowledge of ancient Norse as she claims in her magical-realism novel, “Going Rogue”? I mean, seriously. She knows about as much ancient Norse as she does English grammar. It’s as credible as the idea that she gave a speech while having contractions, several hours after going into labor, as she claims in her novel. It’s as credible as her amazing journey in labor with a special needs child on a plane where the flight attendants, according to the Anchorage Daily News, did not even notice she was pregnant. It’s as credible as any number of indisputable self-serving, unbalanced lies that she has told in the public record for years.
The medical term for Down Syndrome is Trisomy-21 or Trisomy-g. It is often shortened in medical slang to Tri-g.

Video of Levi Johnston on The Early Show can be seen here.

Then on Valentine’s Day the FOX show The Family Guy aired an episode in which an adult Down Syndrome character was on a blind date with a regular from the show. While on the date the Down Syndrome character mentions to her date that her father is an accountant and her Mother is the Governor of Alaska.

This one sentence was more than Sarah Palin could take and again threw herself into it full force until she had created a faux controversy once again. Sarah easily took the bait and jumped on the show only this time she used Bristol to try and make her point. One has to wonder if this isn’t just her way of trying to create a ‘gig’ for Bristol just as she has for herself. Bristol has after all has registered with the LLC as a Political and PR Consultant so this may have just been attempt to make donations from SarahPac to Bristol’s LLC look legitimate in the future.

People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut. Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, “when is enough, enough?”:

“When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks. – Bristol Palin”

She even went back on television this time with Bill O’Reilly to again slam the show and O’Reilly attempted to make her clarify why it’s okay for Rush or anyone using satire, but not okay for Rahm Emanual or a show like Family Guy.

What Sarah didn’t realize or take the time to research is that the voice of the character on the Valentine’s Day Episode of Family Guy was Andrea Friedman, a much accomplished Down Syndrome actress and advocate. Ms. Friedman felt the need to respond so she wrote the NY Times the following e-mail:

Trig on the Going Rogue Tour

My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the “Extra Large Medium” episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine’s day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in ” Smudge” but I was a blonde in “Life Goes On”. I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is “sarcasm”.

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.

Although The New York Times decided not to publish the last portion of Ms. Friedman’s statement in an effort to presumably protect Mrs. Palin, Andrea’s comments were e-mailed in their entirety to other outlets as well. You can view the e-mail here.

Andrea Friedman Speaks with The Insider about Sarah Palin’s treatment of Down Syndrome son Trig.

I suspect Ms. Friedman hasn’t been all that thrilled with Sarah Palin. I’m guessing Ms. Friedman is pretty perceptive to what’s really going on here and why we see so much of Trig Palin, yet don’t see his Mother do much to promote the issues important to those with Down Syndrome or their family members. SARAHPAC did after all raise $2.1 million in 2009, yet only donated only $1,000 to Down Syndrome and that wasn’t until the last day of the year 12/31/09. Y

Hell SarahPac spent over $63,000 on copies of Mrs. Palin’s book Going Rogue, which in turn goes right back to Mrs. Palin’s personal income.

She also paid thousands to two individuals that founded the very pro-Palin website Conservatives for Palin. A site that is now that is attacking the Ms. Friedman for standing up for people with Down Syndrome. Most assume Ms. Friedman is being used and doesn’t have the mental capacity to think for herself and we’re wording this in a much nicer way.

I would wager that Ms. Friedman was bothered by Mrs. Palin’s use of Trig on the campaign and his two months jetting/bussing around the country promoting his Mother’s book during the winter months which most likely could make Trig, with a known heart condition more susceptible to a variety of illnesses. There are a lot of pictures on the internet and in Mrs. Palin’s own collection of photos from the book tour of Trig on the road. Quite often the pictures show the climate required adults to bundle up yet often Trig was seen without a coat, socks or shoes and was often transported in less than ideal circumstances. Or maybe it bothers Andrea that Mrs. Palin also recently received over six figures to pose on the cover of a magazine reminding the world that she chose life for her child., but has done nothing substantial to further the cause.

To learn more about the very accomplished and diverse actress Andrea Friedman you can learn more about her HERE and you can preview of the documentary: “A possible dream – The Andrea Friedman story” HERE.

Because of her television activities, Andrea is often invited to be a motivational speaker and supporter of causes that help other challenged people. She has spoken to many local, statewide, national and international organizations, including the students and faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, on the subject of the advantage of a “mainstream” education for people with learning disabilities.

Andrea Friedman


Andrea’s life is certainly very different from that which was predicted when she was born. She lives independently. When she is not acting, she works in the accounting department of a major law firm. She drives her own car and manages her own schedule, budget, housekeeping and social life. Andrea says she has “Up” syndrome, not Down syndrome and wages a personal battle against the words “retarded” and “disabled.” “I am challenged, not disabled,” she insists. “‘Disabled’ means ‘cannot do’, but my challenged friends and I can do. Some things are hard for us, some things take longer to learn; but if we work hard, we can do.” Andrea does work hard and every morning announces, “I love my life. I wonder how many new friends I’ll make today.”

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