05:27:59 am on
Saturday 21 Sep 2019

Honestly Special
AJ Robinson

When I was a child, I was never a fan of the Olympics. I’m sorry; they just seemed so long and drawn out and, frankly, boring. The players were doing it for fun, I thought.

► Too many preliminaries bored me.

There were heats or preliminary matches, repeatedly. Then you finally got a winner. There were sports, such as shot put, in which I had no interest. The Olympics were not my bag.

Then I heard about the Special Olympics. That caught my attention. What was special about them?

I just had to find out. This is from the official web site of the Special Olympics,

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

That’s remarkable.

I was so very impressed. Here were kids and adults dealing with stuff that, in many cases, I’d never knew existed. Yet, they were competing in different athletic events, at a high level. Yeah, they were very special.

Recently, I heard about a new outrage from the Trump Administration. Mind you, I was not the least bit surprised by this action. Come on, at this point, nothing that man, if he is a man, does can shock me any longer.

Seems his little mouthpiece, Betsy DeVos, was up on the Hill telling a congressional committee why it was necessary to cut the $18 million in the Department of Education budget allocated for the Special Olympics. We have to trim the fat, she opined. The Special Olympics also received private funding and so on.

Gosh, I thought the Trump tax cuts were supposed to fund, miraculously and fully, the government. I seem to recall him promising to wipe out the deficit, didn’t he? So, why cut something so small and yet so vital?

How much do his weekly junkets to his own resort in Florida cost us, three million a pop. How much does he make from that; Mar-o-Lago is profitable, I hear Huh, it seems to me, he could just forgo a couple of visits and presto, problem solved. Ah, but that would be the act of something with compassion and empathy, only two of many positive attributes he does not possess.

► On-line checking.

Do you know how large the annual federal budget US Government is; hold on to your hat. It is seven trillion dollars. Yes, that’s right, trillion with a t; nine zeros after the seven.

So, do the arithmetic. The $18 million for Special Olympics is a small a part of one percent of the budget; you almost can’t see it. Cutting that money saves next to nothing; saves nothing. Put another way, the Air Force could scrap one jet fighter and fully fund the programme for several years.

Yeah, that’s why it was so important to cut the Special Olympics. A balanced budget counted on that cut and six trips to Mar-o-Lago. That the rub, Mar-o-Lago

Yet, the story doesn’t end there. After his little minion, Betsy Cold-Heart, sat there and made lame excuses for needing the cuts, Trump, as he so often does, caved. You see, that’s the thing about a combination conman and coward: if you stand up to them, they fold like a broken card table.  

Trump went on television and said he had reversed the decision of his administration and restored the funding. Some piece of work; let Betsy Crock-of-Sh*t get grilled and take the heat and then he steps in and makes himself look like Mister High and Mighty Do-Gooder.

I’m glad he restored funding, I truly am, I believe this to be a wonderful programme. I worry about next year. Will they try to slip the cuts through again? I wonder about his minions and the media. Will they cheer him as if he has done a great deed? Think about it, all he did block a cut he wanted in the first place.

► A kick in the head.

To be honest, given his record, I’m not optimistic about the future. Given the entire history of his administration as well as ostensible plans for the coming year, I have grave misgivings about the future of our entire nation. Man, isn’t that a kick in the head?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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