David Harsanyi

Palin went on to write: "Every day they suffer its dehumanizing effects -- mockery, stigma, ridicule. This is a word that is incredibly damaging -- not only to the seven million people with intellectual disabilities in the United States, but also their friends, family and to all of us."

In truth, in nearly every way, the lives of the mentally disabled have improved vastly, from the care they receive to the quality of their lives to the respect they are given.

Though I've heard the R-word thrown around plenty (often, I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn, directed at me), I can't recall anyone's using it as a pejorative to describe a person who was actually disabled. Far from ridiculing the disabled, our culture has humanized them.

Emanuel certainly deserves to be reprimanded. But if his offense is worthy of losing a job, you have to wonder whether we really are a nation of the perpetually offended.