Down Syndrome: A Mom’s Response to Wonkette & Jack Stuef

by Carrie with Children with 77 comments

*** FINAL UPDATE: And just like that…. a site that talks about decorating cupcakes, garage sales, silly toddlers and cute babies with Down syndrome… I’ve had to block IP addresses.  I apologize for anyone that has been offended by the nature of this discussion..  I too, have been offended. Please know this was not my intent..  I’m simply a mom who loves her baby. Going forward…. harmful and off-topic comments will result in the user’s IP address blocked immediately. ***


** UPDATE:  Numerous large advertisers have pulled advertising from the Wonkette since the initial post. Within the last few hours, the “writer” has since apologized for the post.  You can find his statement here.  My feelings, however…have not changed. **


Today the political blog, Wonkette poked fun at it being Sarah Palin’s son’s birthday.  And I bet you’re thinking it had to do with politics… nope.  Palin’s son Trig has Down syndrome.  In addition to many demeaning and terrible statements,  “writer” (and I use that word lightly) Jack Stuef said this in his “story”  –

What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.

As the parent of a child with Down syndrome, consider me sad, angry and confused.  I believe in free speech, but this just goes too far.  This is much bigger than politics….this is a full on attack to a mother and her child.  I feel there is no purpose to his “article” except causing harm to others…and ultimately cause a storm of site visits and recognition.

I know there will be times in my daughter’s future where we will face individuals who find it funny and “cool” to make fun of others.  I plan on crossing the bridge as I get to it… and for now, I will fight in defending others who are attacked over their disability.

As I’ve said many times before, my daughter (and every child with Down syndrome) is just like any other child – she eats, she sleeps, laughs, plays and cries..she just has an extra chromosome.

I encourage you to join me in signing the petition at asking Wonkette to apologize for mocking Down syndrome.   Wonkette needs to be held accountable for their actions.  I hope their advertisers are aware that their dollars are going to a site that trivializes disabilities.

UPDATE: Apparently, the domain was available for purchase this evening and from what I’ve read online, someone bought it and redirected it to the National Down Syndrome Society’s donation page.  Kudos to the smart person who came up with that idea!

(Editor note: To be fair, I provided a link to this story. It hurts me to think that I’m helping their cause in providing them with more site hits.)



  • Sarah @ Sarah's Deals


    Some people *humpf* just don’t seem to care one bit about anything but themselves.

    Kudos to you.

    You are ready for that bridge when you get to it, and you have many who will be marching right behind you as you are marching behind Trig and Sarah today.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thank you Sarah! I really appreciate your kinds words!

  • wonk

    actually, it did have to do with politics because palin uses trig as a prop to prove her pro-life bona fides.

    and while it was mean it was also funny satire, so there was a purpose.

    if you think that petition is going to change anything, then wow, you don’t know how the internet works at all.

    • average joe

      The Internet has already caused the Wonkette site to lose quite a few advertisers in just a few hours. They will lose more as this is not a dividing line between left and right, but between decent and vile.

      The site has been heading downhill for quite a while – believing that vulgarity is the same as wit. They have lived in the sewer for so long now that they no longer are able to recognize their own smell.

      • Carrie with Children

        From what I’ve been reading this evening, it does appear that many Wonkette advertisers are pulling their ads from the site.

        I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

    • Melissa

      The thing is, it was not funny satire at all. Saying a baby is not dreaming because he’s retarded? That’s sick and cruel.

      If you are saying that Palin is using Trig as a prop, etc, then Wonkette is taking advantage also by writing this atrocious post.

      • wonk

        it is satire because it is so obviously over the top
        do you think stuef actually believes downs babies do not dream?
        of course he doesn’t – it was a joke, transparent, and funny.

        wonkette is not taking advantage, they are highlighting the absurdity.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. While we all may not agree with one another, differing opinions are welcome here.

    • Tami

      This was “funny satire”? I didn’t find anything ‘funny” about his blog post, wasn’t even sure there actually was a point. It WAS obvious, however, that he dislikes Palin, so why not keep it on that level. He took Palin’s birthday wishes to her son, as an opportunity to pick up on something and bash her child. It was simply mean spirited, and reminded me of high school behavior and talk from an immature boy. This is not a good indicator of his writing ability or cognitive ability for that matter, maybe when he grows up he’ll learn what satire really is. I agree with Carrie with Children, “writer” is a term loosely used.

  • Kiana

    And that is what is wrong with politics. So sad and pathetic that grown adults will say anything about anyone without any thought just to get back at someone that is on the other side of the political fence. They should be ashamed of themselves but judging by the above comment I unfortunately don’t think they care.

    Great post Carrie!

    • wonk

      what is more sad is that a half wit politician will use her child as a political prop with near impunity and when someone calls her out on it they are the ones attacked.

      • Melissa

        So why are you “stooping” down to her level also. Why bring a child into it and be cruel?

        • wonk

          she brought the child into it by using him as a political prop at multiple political events.
          the fact she brought the child into is being satirized.

          • Tom

            And even though I despise Palin I am glad that she is showing the world that her child with Down syndrome is a beautiful loved child and not some horrid creature that should be hidden away.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thanks for reading, Kiana! I appreciate it!

  • Kiana

    If you disagree with something she is doing fine…call her out but I don’t understand why the use of the R word was needed. What purpose did that serve? That comment was aimed at an innocent child. That is just not acceptable. You can debate issues and disagree with people without being cruel and taking low blows.

    • wonk

      i dont think its unreasonable to predict trig will never know who jack stuef is or what jack said about trig. so not really ‘aimed’ at trig so much as sarah palin’s sycophants.

      • Melissa

        You are obviously not a parent. If you were you would not realize how heart breaking that would be for a parent to read.

        • wonk

          you’ve made my point for me – it was aimed at the parents and not at trig.
          if someone said my child was blue (or said my child was incapable of dreaming), i would not be heartbroken because it is a transparent lie.

          • Tom

            But many assholes like you have no idea what people with Down syndrome are like and many even believe that they should never have been born. For many of your readers this isn’t a “transparent lie.” This is what they believe because one of the assholes who writes for you said it.

    • Carrie with Children

      As I mentioned last night, differing opinions are welcome here. However, strong language and belittling others will not be tolerated. At all.

  • Ellen G

    So sad, and so unnecessary. Why pick on a kid? Good for you for standing up for all our kids who can’t always stand up for themselves.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thanks Ellen! You are exactly right – it’s sad and unnecessary. Hard for a mom like me to sit back and watch this take place. I appreciate you reading!

  • jen

    Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! She is so lucky to have such a loving mom!!!! I am so sorry so many people are so rude these days!!! Hugs!!!

    • Carrie with Children

      Thank you, Jen! We are so proud of our little Molly! She’s an awesome little girl

  • Cassie Wasem

    I hope you don’t mind but I am going to post your blog on my blog.

    • Carrie with Children

      That would be fantastic! Thanks for helping share the word, Cassie!

      • Cassie Wasem

        No problem.

  • HiredMind

    Carrie, if it’s any consolation: driving traffic to this story on the Wonkette site does not benefit them in the slightest. In fact, they are losing advertisers today, and none of the extra traffic visiting the site is likely to click on the ads.

    • Carrie with Children

      I’ve been reading some tonight that a lot of advertisers are removing their ads from the site. It’s great to see advertisers listening to consumer’s concerns.

      Thanks for stopping by this evening!

  • Tom

    This was not aimed at Ms. Palin or her son. This was aimed at every family who has a child with Down syndrome no matter their political beliefs. If the people at that web site wish to attack Ms. Palin then more power to them. But they attacked everyone with Down syndrome. Good thing that Ms. Palin didn’t adopt an African-American child. It frightens me to think of the language they would have used to belittle that child.

    • wonk

      tom don’t be melodramatic. it is satire.
      if palin did not want to be (or couldn’t stand to be) subject to satire, she would go away.

      • Tom

        Melodramatic? So making fun of Clarence Thomas because he’s a “nigger” would be OK in your book because if he didn’t want to be satirized he wouldn’t have taken the job? After all, everyone knows you don’t think of African-Americans as “niggers” right so it’s OK to use the word? Well, I don’t know that the author of that article believes that kids with Down syndrome dream. I know plenty of assholes (like you for example) who haven’t a clue what people with Down syndrome are like. I know plenty of assholes who think that people with Down syndrome should never have been born.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thanks for your words, Tom. For me, as a parent of a child with Down syndrome – it’s hard to see things like this take place. No child, whether they have a disability or not, deserves to be ridiculed.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

      • wonk


        Jack wasn’t ridiculing Trig or other children at all.

        Because Sarah has *chosen* to *use* Trig as a cause celebre for the pro lifers, Trig has been enshrined by hundreds of people who create video montages, poems, photoshops, etc. of Trig.

        Jack is mocking *those people*, not Trig, for being creepy by satirizing their creepiness and taking it to new heights / absurdity / belligerence.

        Whether Jack was in good taste or actually funny is an open question. I can’t imagine you appreciate it, and that’s fine. But I can’t imagine you’re appreciative of the use of a child’s as a political tool or as an object of affection / reverence of hundreds of random strangers either.

        • Tom

          Jack was ridiculing all children with Down syndrome. If Palin had adopted an Afican-American child and your buddy Jack had written, “I wonder how long before the nigger starts robbing stores,” would you have defended it as just satire? “But she was using the child to show she’s not a racist so it’s OK to call him a nigger.” Is that what we would be reading?

          • Carrie with Children

            This is not even remotely what I wanted (or expected) when I wrote this post.

            This is a family friendly site and I’m proud of it. This type of language will not be tolerated here. There are thousands of other sites online this is acceptable..but not here. I believe in open discussion, but as owner of this site I reserve the right to delete comments. Let’s keep it clean and respectful. Otherwise, I will have no choice but to delete and/or close comments.

            Thanks in advanced for reading and respecting my point of view.

          • wonk

            its pretty clear he was ridiculing palin followers, and probably sarah palin as well.

            tom, you obviously don’t think there is comedy in absurdity (or at least see it in this instance), and that’s fine, but that does not mean you can distort the message in order to find some kind of outrage.

            as for your analogy, all i’ll say on the subject is that it is provocative and ultimately misguided. you need to be careful when comparing your ‘trials and tribulations’ to a people who were enslaved and abused for centuries.

          • Tom

            Ii will say this to Wonk. People with Down syndrome have been abused for centuries whether it was rounded up and executed or rounded up and put away in institutions where they are abused. In fact, even today throughout eastern Europe children with Down syndrome are put in cages in institutions where they are left to die. Do a google search on “Down syndrome Eastern Europe” and try not to get sick.

        • Jerry

          Wonk – The word, “retarded,” is used almost exclusively as an insult by rude, cruel children between 12 and 22 years old. They are old enough during that time period that they want to shock each other and to learn exactly what pushes decent folk’s “unfair” buttons. Even given that the author in question has some skill as a writer, and suspending my disbelief that he was actually attempting to use the word in his chosen context for “satire,” he should have been able to predict the result. The reason you are getting flak over this is because it is impossible to believe your rationalizations. Use of using such a pain-inducing term is so profoundly negative, that no one really believes you. No, it seems much more believable that he was either desperate for attention or not really very skillful at all.

          Writers are expected to use their talent to make things clear to their readers. You say his motives were “obvious,” but to the majority of us, the only obvious thing about this effort is the big, “FAIL” that he wrote between the lines.

  • Lynda

    A broken heart as I watch HUMANITY lose its way…

    I wrote Sweet Angel Boy after seeing a picture of Trig sleeping at one of governor Palin’s book signings of Going Rouge…the words came from my heart about this beautiful child a Gift from God…last night I followed a link to a site (I not going to give the name of the site the good people that care are on twitter taking care of it … GOD BLESS EACH OF THEM)…as I was reading the vile words …I also realized I was reading the poem or whatever you call it that I had written they had stolen my words from a post on TeamSarah…they were taking my words and making fun of them…(you can make fun of me all you want)…they were using then to degrade THIS BEAUTIFUL Gift for God …how shameful the words were so vile and despicable… all I could do was sit and cry…for this Sweet Angel Boy…how contemptible they were…oh and how proud they were of their word…

    Oh, and they just did not use my words(that was just a small part of it)…they made up their own…such words… oh I heard them before but never used to attack a 3 year old child…and yeas the child’s mother… my pray is the mother did not read any the appalling words that were used…
    May God Bless this Sweet Angel Boy…may he grow up and show us how to live a life where we LOVE one another and we seek to be better in how we relate to others…

    But last night as I read the vilest of words … I saw the Loss of Humanity in so many…
    God Bless all that have stood for this CHILD…and the mother, father and family of this most beautiful child….

    I am not going to repost Sweet Angel Boy you can read it on…
    TeamSarah or in the comment section of the 18th Open Thread on C4P

    • wonk

      so, millions are ravaged by HIV in africa, babies in central asia will be forever stunted because they did not high enough caloric intake in their first few years of life, mothers and fathers are snatched away from their families for untold reasons in north korea, the environment of tribal land in south america is being destroyed interrupting centuries of culture, drug lords in mexico rule the streets and execute rival gang members’ families without provocation, newborns in america are being born addicted to crack because their mothers cannot kick the habit — and you’re upset about what now?

      some perspective on how bad we have it is necessary. and trig probably has it better than most of us do / will given his millionaire mother.
      if you’re going to cry, cry for all the truly horrible, faith-questioning things that regularly occur in the world, not because someone didn’t like your poem.

      • Lynda

        Boy did you miss what I said…I could care less about the poem…I do care about how it was stole and used to attack a child…did you even read the words they used…so because I care about this I am wrong…because you do not care and can talk about all that is going on in the world make it right that a child is attacked with so vile that they make you sick…….I do cry the child that goes to bed without food…I care about all the things you wrote about….BUT TODAY I CARRIED ABOUT ONE LITTLE BOY…and I care that words I wrote were used to hurt him and yes his mother…AGAIN I COULD CARE LESS ABOUT WHO LIKES OR DISLIKES THE POEM… do not judge ME…

        • Carrie with Children

          I’m shocked and saddened to wake up and find the discussion turning this way.

          This is not what I intended for this post. Let’s please respect others and keep in mind that this is a family friendly site. As owner/editor, I have the right to close/delete harmful comments.

          Thanks for understanding.

        • wonk

          lynda, i didn’t say you were wrong at all – i can see how this could upset some people who did not know how to interpret it, but should it cause people to cry, lose sleep, etc when all these other atrocities are going on in this world? no.

          like i said earlier, its very likely (overwhelmingly lucky) that trig will never know about jack or the things jack has written about him, so the ‘harm’ to trig is minimal (as it should be). so you can rest (somewhat) easy knowing that your poem hasn’t been used hurt Trig personally.

  • j's Momma

    I love your post!

    I read his apology and don’t believe he meant it at all. The way it was worded he might as well have said, “I’m sorry because someone told me to be and I think you’re all morons.”

    But. What can you really do with people like him except pity them for their ignorance. We know what we have. And they’re missing out.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thank you so much for reading it! I’m so proud of my little Molly! At the end of the day, I know that I love my girls…and really, that’s all that matters! 🙂

  • Nichol

    Wow really and he’s a grown up? How sad. I have watched my sister in tears, confusion, and many other feelings from that dreaded “R” word. This makes me angry and very sad. I do not understand why anyone would say that about a child or anyone for a matter of fact, no matter “what text” they are using it. It’s a hurtful word and people need to stop using it. I always make my pledge at R I won’t even click to give someone my visits for that…sad, sad, sad

    • Carrie with Children

      Thanks for reading, Nichol. It’s great to know that so many others feel the same way that I do! 🙂 **hugs**

  • Nicole Hill

    I am aghast at someone who would do such a thing! So low, so terribly terribly low. I have no regard for people who act that way – none what so ever!


  • Beth

    Wow. Some of the comments here. Wow.

    Clearly, the original post was aimed at Trig. He called him A RETARD. How is that not aimed at Trig?

    • Tom

      He called all children with Down syndrome retards. If Trig was an African-American baby would it be OK to call him a “nigger” since it was only aimed at Trig? Try growing up Beth.

      • Carrie with Children

        Wow…this has taken a turn that I was not expecting or hoping for. Personal attacks will not be tolerated here. Ever.

        Beth – I’m truly sorry you’ve gotten caught up in the attacks. This was not my intent when writing this post. I simply wanted to share my feelings about my daughter and Down Syndrome with my readers. While I still stand by my words, this has turned into much more…and I’m not enjoying it.

  • Tami

    Apparently “wonk” considers himself a commentator now on this post. Perhaps he/she should go back to trolling his normal sites.

  • Patty

    I am disgusted with that site. I will not click on their link to add to their hits but I will sign the petition. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t believe the ignorance out there. I’m on the other side of politics as Palin but there is NEVER a reason to attack a mother and her child.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thank you so much for reading, Patty. I appreciate you and your words! It’s comforting knowing that others out there understand my heartbreak.

  • Clarissa

    This is a very strong topic, especially for yourself. Kudos to you for speaking out for what you believe in. It must be very hard to deal with what you are going through, and if I was in the same position, I think I would be doing exactly the same, backlash and all. Hugs to you and your family.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thank you, Clarissa! I stand by my words….it’s disheartening to see the backlash, but I believe in my daughter and all of those with Down syndrome. It’s an important topic to me. (Although, I never imagined it would turn into all of this!) **hugs**

  • april

    This made my blood boil! What an idiot! I wrote a post and linked back to you and a link to the petition.

  • april

    Everybody~PLEASE don’t let this “Wonk” person get to you. He/She is trying to get you riled up and stir the pot. Any rational person knows the difference in political satire and cruelty to a child, a family, and a community. Political satire would have been directing the joke at Palin not at her child. And, no, I am NOT a Palin fan so I am not sticking up for her; however, I AM a fan of children.

    Don’t let “Wonk” take your peace today and get you all up in arms.


    • wonk


      i’m not trying to stir the pot at all. what jack said was mean (or ‘cruel’) in your words, but he wasn’t being mean to a child (who is unlikely to ever know jack wrote this stuff), he was being mean to palin for using him as a political tool and to her followers who creepily enshrine Trig and make video montages, poetry, photoshops, etc to him.

      there’s ‘being a fan of children’ and then there is this bizarre worship of someone’s (you don’t know personally) child.

      i’m really not trying to upset anyone here or say it’s desirable to go around calling people with Downs names. i’m just explaining what jack was doing here.

      • Tom

        And what makes you think that Trig will never know that “this stuff” was written about him? People with Down syndrome have a wide range of abilities (just like regular people) and many learn to read and write and even use the computer to find out what has been written about them. At a recent conference I listened to a speech given by a young lady with Down syndrome. The speech was 45 minutes long and she used no notes or monitors. She explained to us all about her life and how lucky she was that she wasn’t treated like garbage and institutionalized. But people like you who mock people like her make it harder for us to convince people that our children can have a future and that they are worthwhile spending money on to give them an education.

        And in any case, so what that she uses her child as a “political tool.” What politician doesn’t? How would you react if someone from RedState wrote something in that vein about Obama’s children?

  • Tom

    Please accept my apology for my strong language. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I have a son who is 14 years old and has Down syndrome and people like Wonk anger me when they think belittling him is a clever way to insult people.

  • Carrie with Children

    And just like that…. a site that talks about decorating cupcakes, garage sales, silly toddlers and cute babies with Down syndrome… I’ve had to block IP addresses.

    I apologize for anyone that has been offended by the nature of this discussion.. I too, have been offended. Please know this was not my intent.. I’m simply a mom who loves her baby.

  • april

    I know that no one on here really KNOWS me but I am NOT a “everything is coming up roses kind-of-person, that only tells others what they want to hear. That is just not me.

    What I don’t understand, though, is if any blogger (Wonk or otherwise) does disagree with your post about WHY put a comment on here? Anyone who reads your blog should know that you are the parent of a Down Syndrome child and that this would be a touchy subject for you. If he/she truly thought that it was a joke and political satire or whatever, why did they have to post on your page other than to start trouble and to ignite the discussion. I don’t necessarily want all of my followers to agree with everything I post and I can debate with the best of them but let me tell you that if any of them tried to justify a statement or anything that went against my children, I would lose it. I just can’t understand being a supporter and follower of your everyday life and, basically, slap you in the face when it comes to this post about Trig.

    I am not a Palin follower. I honestly believe that she should be at home with her children instead of all over the country, especially since she has a child that needs extra help; however, I don’t think because she has chosen to be in the public eye that her children should be open game. Of course that comment was meant to hurt Palin-NOW but that doesn’t mean that Trig won’t read about that LATER. Couldn’t the author find another way to hurt Palin? Why go after an innocent child?

  • Lolo

    Big hugs Carrie.
    An adult making fun at a child for any reason is awful. His statement is just plain ignorant. So sorry.

    • Carrie with Children

      Thanks Lolo! I appreciate your support. It makes me wonder if he really thought about the hurt his words would/could cause to others. Or…maybe that was his intent. Either way, thanks for reading! 🙂

  • KerryBoat

    Controversy aside…your baby girl is so gorgeous! That close-up photo of her is stunning! A natural beauty! 🙂

    • Carrie with Children

      And this is why we are friends, Kerry! 🙂 Thank you!

  • Chriss

    I am so sorry that this person said the things he did. I cannot imagine the anger and hurt you and other parents of special needs children must feel when someone does something like that.
    I do believe in the power of transparency via the internet. The person/persons causing you grief on here are showing the ignorance of a large portion of our society.
    I would say do not delete any posts, let their words show the challenges ahead, so that parents that are just begining will see what may happen from time to time and guide them.
    You have an opportunity to teach through this blog, let it happen.
    I am not a parent of two leggers, only 4 leggers. I do enjoy your blog and I want to feel all the pain along with your triumps.
    You Rock!!

    • Carrie with Children

      Chriss – This is exactly why we are friends. I feel the SAME exact way about leaving the comments up for others to see,…even if I don’t agree with them. I could run and delete them, but how is that helping anyone learn from this mess?!

      You are the BEST! 🙂 **hugs**

  • Pam King

    What does any of this have to do with politics attacking innocent children? I’m so sorry that some people feel the need to stoop so low. I agree with free speech and personal opinions but attack or speak about something when that person can fight back.

  • LeeAnn

    Wow. Just wow. I will never understand how people can pick on innocent children like that. Regardless of the intent of the original post, it was horrible, and not at all funny. Great post, Carrie!

  • Jessica

    I am so sorry about all of this. I am sorry that someone wrote such an awful article and I am sorry that people came here and attacked your thoughts and feelings that you were so brave to express. As the mom of a child with a disability it is so disheartening to think that we are still surrounded by so much ignorance. They will never know the beauty in our girls that they are missing out on.
    So glad you spoke your mind.

  • susan

    Just because one does not like the Palins, does not give one the right to poke fun of the rest of the family.
    Ms. Palin, like most mothers, takes her kids with her whenever she can. You can not justify, bad behavior.

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