To the Editor:

(Brookfield, NY – June 2012) Following is the letter I sent to Lawrence O’Donnell and MSNBC regarding his despicable piece on Ann Romney.

To: Lawrence O’Donnell

Date: June 21, 2012

I was appalled by your piece on Ann Romney that aired June 18. In your fervor to attack anything Republican, in this case Ann and Mitt Romney, you have insulted every person with a disabling disease/injury AND every therapeutic riding program – not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

While one cannot expect a news commentator to be well-versed in therapeutic riding, one would expect that you would have the wisdom to have a member of your staff research it before using it to further your political agenda. Had you or a staff member researched it, you would have learned it can be traced back to ancient Greece – 600 BC, to be exact.

In Europe, therapeutic riding became accepted as a legitimate form of therapy for injured soldiers following World War I and for other illnesses/diseases in the 1940s after devastating outbreaks of polio. More than 42,000 children and adults with physical, mental and emotional challenges find strength and independence through therapeutic riding each year.

If you think dressage is not included in these therapies, think again! Scandinavian Lis Hartel brought attention to riding for the disabled when she won the silver medal for dressage at the 1952 Olympic Games. She was not only the first woman to win a medal in equestrian sports in the Olympics, she was the first disabled rider to do so, as she was paralyzed from the knees down as a result of polio. Had you done your homework, you would also have learned that dressage is part of the Para-Olympics.

Regarding your snide comment about Mitt Romney referring to his wife as an athlete, if you had bothered to research, you would have found that Ann Romney earned both a gold and silver medal through the United States Dressage Federation. That takes talent, dedication and hard work to achieve!

As for the Romneys’ wealth, who cares? Do you attempt to denigrate George Soros? Of course not, because he donates to causes near and dear to your heart! The Romneys donate to causes important to them. Were it not for people like the Romneys, the United States would not have an Olympic Team in any equestrian discipline.

I have had multiple sclerosis for 24 years. Like Ann Romney, riding horses and the study of dressage helped me immeasurably to regain my balance and coordination and reduce muscle spasticity. As a result, I was able to return to work full-time as a registered nurse. Unfortunately, that does not impress liberals like yourself, who would prefer we become dependent on “the system” so you can control us and use it to assert your hypothetical superiority.

As for dressage being “the breathtakingly expensive so-called sport of dressage,” again you show your ignorance. Most who study or compete in dressage are like myself: we are not wealthy. As for it being a “so-called sport,” dressage has been included in the Olympics since 1912.

The news media, and in particular MSNBC, have lost all credibility. You have gotten so carried away with pushing your own agenda, you can no longer be relied upon to report facts. Stop pushing your “class warfare.” Rather than winning over independents like myself, you push us to the “other side.” The arrogance of people like you is beyond insulting and distasteful and is the reason I stopped watching MSNBC.

Judging by your ratings, I am not alone in that viewpoint.

At the very least, you owe the Romneys and each and every one of us with a disabling disease/injury an on-air apology.

Karen Nowak, Brookfield

By martha

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