My Dear Friend Chucky Puts To Shame France’s Ban On Talking About Down Syndrome

My Dear Friend Chucky Puts To Shame France’s Ban On Talking About Down Syndrome

Of all the remarkable people in my life, the most remarkable of all was, by any cold-hearted calculus, the least remarkable: My chum Chucky.
Mike Rapkoch
By

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I spent some time reminiscing about the many extraordinary people who’ve crossed my path over the course of these 60 years. I have been greatly blessed by family and a wide variety of friends.

But of all these remarkable people the most remarkable of all was, by any cold-hearted calculus, the least remarkable: My chum Chucky. I can still see him in my memory’s eye as he pushed his “girl’s” bike up the low slope to my house, his spindly legs quivering at a task that was nearly beyond his strength.

He suffered from severe cerebral palsy. But his physical ailments paled in comparison to his mental difficulties. Chucky was, to use the old-fashioned term, retarded. He was forever stuck in a six-year-old’s fantasy land.

Yearning to Be Superman

In many ways, Chucky’s life was a dream. In the early years of our friendship Chucky saw himself as Superman. He was never without his cape, a sheet his mother had dyed a faded red, and which a safety pin held on Chucky’s neck. In those days parents turned to the mother of invention for toys.

But Chucky wished to be normal, superbly so, yet his hopes were always dashed by reality. He could not catch a football or throw a strike. Running up and down a basketball court was out of the question. He nonetheless longed to join in the games, so the other kids did everything they could to include Chucky. We’d let him throw the basketball from the sideline or hunker down in the backfield where the quarterback would hand Chucky the ball so he could pretend to be a running back. Even in tackle games it was understood that Chucky would be down at the mere touch of a defender’s hand.

Baseball was the one game he was not allowed to play. He had no way to protect himself from a line drive or hard grounder. We could not take that risk.

Otherwise, we’d find ways around Chucky’s challenges. He joined in snowball fights or when we’d play army. Our streets were on the outskirts of town, and we’d often pack up sleeping bags and head into the woods for an overnight of fishing and marshmallow roasts. Chucky was always at our side.

When Chucky Came to Call

Come to think of it, maybe Chucky was Superman. A few months after my family moved into the neighborhood, I began experiencing the inexplicable symptoms of a mysterious disease. My hands, knees, and ankles swelled to grapefruit size. My folks noticed that I’d suddenly taken to eating with my left hand. One night I crawled into the living room, my ankles swelled to the size of grapefruit, the pain keeping me off my feet. The doctor diagnosed rheumatic fever and sent me to bed, where I would remain for 15 months.

In the beginning it was a lonely time. Mom was home and would read to me every afternoon. More than that, she instilled a love of books in me and, to my great blessing, taught me to see the world through the eyes of Long John Silver, Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe, and dozens of others. My mother was an inventor, too. The hallways of our house were too narrow for a wheelchair, so she bought a used metal food cart, which I’d climb aboard to be wheeled about by my brothers and sisters.

But mom and dad had five other kids to look after—including my infant sister—so they had to divide their attention between the bunch of us. I spent a lot of time with myself, until Chucky came to call.

One afternoon early in my confinement, the doorbell rang and in came Chucky, pounding his way down the hallway, then entering my room preceded by his bright shining smile. It soon became routine. He would show up at the same time nearly every day, and together we’d spend hours building space ships out of Lego blocks (we both agreed that Fireball XL5 was the premiere space cruiser) and our own versions of great skyscrapers, many of which reached to the ceiling.

Over the duration of my illness we played hundreds of games of checkers and learned to draw, although never particularly well. We’d also just talk. Chucky would tell me about his hopes as we whiled away the time with fanciful dreams of joining the space program and rocketing our way to where no boys had gone before.

Chucky Couldn’t Pity Himself

But my deepest memory was Chucky’s quiet acceptance of his state in life. He rarely spoke of his frustrations, although, after explaining some failure at school on a given day, a little tear would sometimes trickle down his face. His sadness rarely lasted for more than a minute. He always returned quickly to whatever we were doing. He was incapable of self-pity. His heart was too large for just himself.

He wouldn’t let me get away with such nonsense, either. Whenever I complained, he’d listen for a moment, then direct my attention back to whatever task was in our hands. I’ve never known anyone who had a bigger right to complain but, as is so often true of those who truly suffer, Chucky went on with the day’s tasks without so much as a whimper of discontent.

Not that he had no faults. He’d picked up the habit of arriving at my family’s home right at dinner time. It got to be a family joke. Six o’clock became “Chucky Time,” and we came to think of him as our guardian of gastronomy. His family always ate at five, so he never asked to join us. He’d just sit quietly on the porch until the dishes were cleared.

If Chucky had other sins, I cannot recall them.

My dad once told me that the surest road to a failed life is through the mind. As he used to say, “Bud, your body may cripple you, but only your wayward mind can ruin you.”

In that sense, Chucky saved my life. He refused to let me sink into myself. Chucky was the embodiment of perfect love.

Where Have All the Chuckys Gone?

Into the dark, I’m afraid to say. Killed off by men whose chests have been hollowed out, leaving only a stone where their hearts should be, pumping the black bile of a moral ice age. If he were conceived in our time, Chucky would have slim odds of ever seeing the light of day. In this dark world he’d have at best a one in ten chance of escaping the abortionist’s knife.

Several recent studies confirm that Down Syndrome brings joy to the parents who, despite the pressure and propaganda, choose life.

Because abortionists often turn to the euphemism of health of the mother to justify an abortion, it’s difficult to get accurate numbers on the number of abortions performed to sweep the world clean of defectives. However, it is widely accepted that more than 90 percent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome while still in the womb are aborted. Physicians often push amniocentesis to determine whether congenital defects exist, then pressure parents into aborting their children with the profoundly misleading (read: evil) argument that the child will lead a miserable life.

The truth is otherwise. Children with Down Syndrome or other intellectual deficits can enjoy full and love-filled lives if afforded the benefits of loving parents and a welcoming community, i.e., the very environment in which all children blossom.

I know this from personal experience. While in college I worked in several group homes for the developmentally disabled. In my junior year I was employed by a facility in Renton, Washington, that served the families of children with intellectual disabilities. We also took charge of kids who’d been abused or abandoned by foster parents. The disabled youngsters raised in stable and caring homes were ready to light the world on fire. Almost all of them went on to good jobs, homes of their own, and close relationships with friends and sweethearts. Several married and have by now raised families of their own.

Those from dysfunctional foster homes did not fare so well, because parents who accept their children, whether disabled or not, and carry through on the mission of loving parents produce the best of the upcoming generation.

Several recent studies confirm that Down Syndrome brings joy to the parents who, despite the pressure and propaganda, choose life. According to researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, Down Syndrome is a blessing, not a curse:

In open-ended questions, parents reported learning a variety of life lessons – the top five being: personal self-growth, patience, acceptance/respect, love, joy. Asked what they would tell other prospective parents of a child with Down syndrome, the top responses fell into these categories:

You will experience joy/rewards

There will be struggles/challenges

You will experience love

Important to identify good support group/resources

Children with Down syndrome are more alike than different from typically developing children.

Siblings, asked what they would tell prospective parents having a child with Down syndrome, most often conveyed that the experience would be joyful and rewarding, though many also said there would be challenging moments.

But the abortion industry will not truck any attempt to let the world know that children with mental disabilities will live life to the fullest if given the chance. This week the French legislature passed a bill that would criminalize publishing websites that attempt to dissuade mothers from aborting their children. Earlier this year the French Broadcasting Counsel banned a video produced by the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, in which Down Syndrome children from around the world describe the joy of their special lives. On November 10, the French state counsel upheld the ban in a legal proceeding Lejeune filed to repeal this idiotic censorship.

The counsel’s reason? The video might trigger guilty feelings in the mothers and fathers who’ve “eliminated” the burden. The counsel reasoned that a video which tells the truth about Down Syndrome might discourage parents from entering the slaughterhouse. Since that might therefore interfere with the superior right to abortion, the video must be nixed. Old Scratch must have snickered out loud as he guided the pen out of which those thoughts slithered.

So what made the video offensive? Take a look:


For the minions of the Culture of Death, nothing is more sinister than the smile on a child’s face.

The Road to Perdition

As I again think back to Chucky, I see that beyond the many blessings he brought to me, he spread even greater happiness to the entire neighborhood. As the years passed, Chucky became a singular feature of our surroundings. Heaven protect anyone who hurt Chucky, whether by word or deed. My buddy Jim, a mountain of a boy, once happened upon a bully throwing rocks at Chucky. The kid was lucky to escape with his limbs where they were supposed to be.

We’ve deluded ourselves into thinking that life’s challenges are to be escaped, even at the price of human sacrifice.

My sisters made up songs about Chucky, joyful sounds to reflect his charms. I wish I could recall all the lyrics, but only one comes to mind, a spin off from the old song “Barney Google.” As I remember (I’m using a pseudonym in place of Chucky’s last name) it went something like “Chucky Birdie, with the Chuck, Chuck, Chuck-a-ley eyes.” Would that I might be remembered so fondly.

We are killing the innocent, and with it what’s left of our innocence. We’ve deluded ourselves into thinking that life’s challenges are to be escaped, even at the price of human sacrifice. Ours is a deeply disordered world where the ancient belief that real men must give their lives to protect the innocent has been replaced by the demand that life be unfettered from such passé obligations. Does the rule “women and children first” even apply in this sick world, or are we dying a death we richly deserve? I greatly fear that a culture so full with itself will not just perish, but will deserve its fate.

So my prayer is a simple one, said out of love for my children and grandchildren, members of the first and second generation born into a world that not only accepts but celebrates the genocide of the weak. There will be a reckoning, whether by plunging birth rates or some other catastrophe of the sort which inevitably comes to a nation of barbarians.

May Chucky—all the Chuckys who’ve lived or been snuffed out by an abortionist’s cold instruments—pray for us.

Mike Rapkoch is a retired attorney living in Billings, Montana. He has been a pro-life advocate since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade. He served three terms as the program director for his local 40 Days for Life campaign and frequently speaks at area pro-life events. He is a former moderator for Ricochet.com, where his other writings can be seen.

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