[Nfbmo] KMOX Show

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 23 20:44:44 UTC 2012

I just wanted to make a brief comment about the radio show on KMOX.  The
outrage of the host was wonderful, compassionate, and made for a very good
show that made me believe once again in the power of good people to motivate
others and influence government. Praise be to God for this.
I think that one of the hardest things about simultaneously supporting the
blind pension, training, and the right of blind people to work is to find
just the right balance so that one is not used against the other.  I
understand the concern about the timing of Brent's comments, but more than
once we have gone to bat for Rehabilitation Services for the Blind or
something to protect us against employment discrimination, only to be told
that we need not worry about any of this because there is a blind pension.
Granted, there is a time to fight for a thing with minimal distraction, but
at the same time I think it is okay that the host, who was definitely kind
and sympathetic to our cause, should come to understand that there is a
place for blind people in a radio studio and in many other places that he
would not think of as something a blind person could do. There will or
certainly should be a time when we go to talk about inaccessible copy
machines, software that, if properly constructed, could open up jobs for us,
and the jobs we have that are harder to do because we don't figure into the
equation when new equipment is bought. If we go and only talk about our need
for a pension and medical care and neglect the pressing need for accessible
home appliances, shame on us for our shortsightedness; it will most
certainly land us in nursing homes long before our health should dictate our
residing there.
The message we send is a complex one, and I don't blame Brent for trying to
keep it from being completely one sided--we, the poor blind. We are more
than that, and we want more than a pension and medical services. These are
crucial and they are the issue of the moment, but it is not clear to me that
we should let statements about what we can't do go unchallenged when I
personally know folks doing these jobs--office clerk, talk show host,
registered nurse, waitress, janitor, tax preparer, and school teachers. As
hard as it is for us to get jobs, we do know people who do this kind of
work, and we dare not sell out what competence we have for the immediate
convenience of our checks and medical needs.
Just so there is no misunderstanding here, I plan to be a part of a press
conference where we focus on these cuts and how terrible they will be for
blind people, but let's not be too hard on a fellow who says that some of
his brothers and sisters do the very thing that blindness suggests they
cannot do. Our message is complex--we need that safety net, but we need to
acknowledge that all of us want to climb above it, and the fact that some
have and many more continue to do so is a major reason why we come together
to love and support one another.

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