[NFBMO] Blind Pension Legislation

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Thu May 24 22:14:06 UTC 2018

Hello, Roger. I believe that you are being far too hard on yourself. It was obvious from our meetings at the legislative seminar that passage of some kind of bill was a foregone conclusion. When we and the MCB jointly met with sponsors and other legislators, it was clear that they were willing to listen, but it was equally clear that they intended to pass something. When blind pension starts biting into general revenue, the legislators get interested because it is then in competition with other programs. When it can live out of the fund established for it by the Constitution, then it generates less controversy.

I particularly like your comments about activity. Everyone and his brother seems to feel free to criticize the National Federation of the Blind either as lacking inactivity and letting legislation like this pass or as being so overzealous in our work that we attract labels such as radicals and militants. What is so interesting is that our critics sit on the sideline. They do not come from the Missouri Council of the Blind or the American Council of the Blind by and large. Mostly they come from people who sit on the sidelines doing the Monday morning quarterback routine. They seem to say, “I will tell you what you are doing wrong, and you can’t lay a glove on me because there is nothing I have done you can criticize.” To respond or not to respond is always the question, because it is not likely to bring people who really care to our movement, and those who are throwing the rocks are not likely to give them up to be a part of the team. If criticism is constructive, we ought to take it. If the criticism has no constructive element in it, we ought to recognize it for what it is.

I used to spend a lot of mental energy trying to figure out a way to guilt people into not riding on our backs and taking what we help them get. What I concluded was that the better course for me is to be grateful for those who do join in the effort. I should put my energy into thanking God for the people who take the stone and use it in the construction of the building rather than hurling it as a weapon. We have lots of good and caring people. Do I want us to have more? Of course I do. I think that many generations of blind people have benefited from the work of the NFB since 1940, and I have faith that people who mature in this generation and those to follow will see what has been built and become a part of it. Somehow we have to break the mold that promotes arguments generated by hiding behind keyboards and rejoice in the people who become involved, who form real relationships, and who make promises to themselves and to others about giving back, paying forward, and doing everything we can to ensure that people have it at least as good as we have had it and better if we can manage it.

I appreciate you, Roger, and I think you should pay good attention to what Gene Coulter said about the legislation that was proposed, the number of times it has been discussed here with calls to action,  and the changes we were able to make. As Americans feel more pressed and less financially well-off, we are going to have to keep the programs that benefit us front and center in their minds. We strive for equality and opportunity, and though we cannot affix any timetable to the changes we want to make, we are making life better one starfish at a time. I have no illusions about changing the world, but if I can make it better for some of the people in the world who are blind, I am a happy man. I hope you are as well, my friend. Don’t be too hard on the man named Roger, for  he is valued by his colleagues and loved by his friends. I am honored to be counted among them and proudly say thank you.

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