blind_html [Fwd: my perspective]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Brandon Shuttleworth <shuttleworthb01@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 13:45:59 -0600


"every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear"
Ani Difranco: I'm Not A Pretty Girl 1995

Nimer M. Jaber

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Website:
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-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        my perspective
Date:   Mon, 30 Mar 2009 10:52:37 -0700
From:   Edwin Cooney <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To:     <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>



Hi All,
,
In addition to my writing this week, I'll be giving a lecture over the internet on accessibleworld.org, a website initially dedicated to the interests and needs of people (primarily those who live with blindness) but people with disabilities in general. Accessible World is expanding its topics way beyond the disability genre. In keeping with that expantion, my topic tomorrow night is titled, "March 31st, 1968--The Night Lyndon B. Johnson Changed America Forever. I'll speak for about forty-five minutes and take questions as long as there are questions. I'm really excited about doing this since teaching is, up to this point in my life, a largely unfulfilled experience. As for what's below, I am convinced that our individual existences constitute a microcosm of our national life as a whole. One does not have to be a scholar to have a realistic picture of what our past, present and future were, are and will be. It really is all up to us to control our own destiny.
Again, I'm grateful to you for taking your own time to read what's below.
The email address for tomorrow night's presentation is www.accessibleworld.com <http://www.accessibleworld.com/> and the times are as follows: 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain and 5 p.m. Pacific. What's below is a bit of a preamble for tomorrow night's presentation.
Thanks again for your time, consideration and feedback.
Warm Regards,
E.C.

MONDAY, MARCH 30^TH , 2009

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EVENTS—THE ROOT, NOT THE OBJECT, OF COMPREHENSION

BY EDWIN COONEY

I don’t know what works for you when your mind needs to grasp something that it doesn’t grasp easily. For me, the key to comprehension is how it fits into the activities of my existence--or at least my understanding of my existence.

When I was in third grade, I began having trouble with mathematics. Up until then, I understood that two pieces of candy plus two pieces of candy meant that I’d have four pieces of candy instead of the original two -- yum! More candy. I could also grasp the reality that three cookies minus one cookie left me with a mere two cookies — thus, that much less eating pleasure. What I failed to grasp, however, was what meaning multiplication and division had for me in the great scheme of things. In other words, speed addition and subtraction were beyond my ken. I knew that my age times two would be a certain number, but the relevance of that number was meaningless for me. Thus, when I was nine, what it might be like to be eighteen was beyond my ability to understand. In fact, one of the most incomprehensible realities for me, as a lad, was the reality that I’d grow up someday.

I knew that it would happen and was forcefully reminded of it from time to time by parents, teachers, and other adults, usually when they were at the end of their patience with me.

“You’re going to grow up someday, Eddie,” they’d say, “and you’re going to have to behave” or “you’re going to have to know how to tie your shoes” or, even worse, “you’re going to have to know how to do math so you can handle your money.”

I suppose I should have been grateful to them for thinking that I’d have a sufficient amount of money to have to keep track of, but the whole idea of possessing enough money to use everyday was quite beyond me until I was almost in my teens. By then, the prospect of having to be functional in the adult world was really scary.

The day after this piece is being delivered to you, my job will be to convey to an internet audience my interpretation of the significance of an event that occurred on March 31^st , 1968 --- specifically, the decision by President Lyndon B. Johnson not to seek re-election to a second term.

Fortunately for me, all in attendance at my cyberspace lecture will be there because they want to be there. Furthermore, most of them will want to be there either because they enjoy a good story, are interested in American history and politics, or because they like me. No one will be there because they must. Hence, my job will be easier than it would be otherwise. My job as a presenter will be to make March 31^st , 1968 vivid, comprehendible, and meaningful.

All of us have a beginning—our births, a family and social background (the venue in which we’re nurtured or from which we’re banished) and a destiny—both experiential and mortal.

What’s true of people, as I insisted in last week’s column, is true of nations. It’s also true of events. Johnson’s decision, which he announced on March 31^st , 1968, didn’t occur in a vacuum. It was based upon a series of events which culminated on March 31^st , 1968. In turn, March 31^st , 1968 was the root or antecedent for events yet to come.

What ultimately matters to you and me is the mark that we, our children, and those we love make on the people, places, and events of our lives. Most of us hope that by the time our experience on this earth is over, we will have had a positive effect on at least one individual (or more) who can insure the uncertain future.

The fate of Lyndon B. Johnson, our thirty-sixth president, mattered, ultimately, because you and I matter. You and I matter because we -- really and truly -- have the capacity to contribute to the wellbeing of people, places, and events in the lives of those yet unborn.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED,

EDWIN COONEY

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