blind_html [Fwd: where do you come from?]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Brandon Shuttleworth <shuttleworthb01@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 02 Mar 2009 13:19:02 -0700

It would be good to develop some discussion on this issue. As for me personally, I disagree.

Nimer J

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        where do you come from?
Date:   Mon, 2 Mar 2009 11:29:35 -0800
From:   Edwin Cooney <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To:     <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>

Hi All,
One of the ongoing struggles in today's society among both groups and individuals is that of a willingness to be comfortable with those from different backgrounds and agendas. The major reason I became an Obama supporter during the late presidential campaign was because I saw, and still see, Barack Obama as what President Bush once claimed to be--"a uniter, not a divider." One of the major challenges in the effort to establish a national consensus is that of getting a real grip on where other people come from. Why do they think what they think, feel as they feel and act as they do? Where are their strengths and vulnerabilities? Is it enough to be right?
These are some of the things I touch ever so briefly on below.
As I do every week, I thank you for taking time out of your day to read what's here. Your feedback whatever it is, will always be welcome.
Warm Regards,




“Where do you come from?

Tell me who you are

Do you come from another world

Or from some distant star?”

The above is taken from a love song, the B side of Elvis Presley’s 1962 hit “Return to Sender”.

The question usually means simply: where were you born or where do you live? However, “Where do you come from?” in socio/political terms may mean “from what part of your social, economic, religious or political existence does what you’re saying or feeling, thinking, or writing really represent?”

An understanding of where you and I “come from” can be valuable information for those who cross our paths, from our parents, friends, and teachers to merchants and even politicians. After all, what makes us “tick” is the key to any successful connection with us. Of course, the reverse is also true. The better we know those who we would allow to influence us, the better informed we’d be in the choices we make.

Politicians of all stripes are out to protect us in one way or another against the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” brought about by evil political forces— usually the opposing political party or ideology. A social or political activist’s role is to energize people to take affirmative action on something the activist advocates. The trick is to do it in such a way as to maximize the likelihood of an effective result. One of the keys to an effective political result is understanding—you guessed it--where the voter comes from. That’s why politicians prefer to address you and me as “taxpayers” even though we are far more than that.

Merchants and other business entrepreneurs are invariably out to sell us a product or service they know we just MUST have regardless of our need or overall welfare—after all, their first need is to sell to us. Our other needs are the concern of our parents, friends, bankers, doctors and the clergy.

I remember the first time this was brought home to me. It was during the winter of 1963 and I happened to visit a local barber shop in the little city of Batavia, New York where my residential school was located. The proprietor, a gentleman named Benny, had turned his “comb it wet or dry” barbershop into what we would today call a hair salon. His price for cutting a man’s hair had gone from roughly a dollar to three dollars. The idea was that he’d not only cut your hair, he’d wash it and style or shape it. After he was done, he’d sell you just the stuff you needed to keep your hair healthy. Besides, Benny assured me that day, healthy hair was essential to good general health. Somehow, I suspected, that the days of the inexpensive haircut, were rapidly coming to an end.

Then there is the doctor, the really smart professional who often takes himself or herself very, very seriously. Wonder-struck patients and starry-eyed nurses are partially to blame here for placing doctors atop such lofty pedestals, but the nature of their business is invariably so urgent and personal. It’s my experience that too many doctors don’t worry sufficiently about the effectiveness of the manner they adopt when issuing a diagnosis.

My doctor is right, of course, about the likely stabilization and even improvement of my health if I give up smoking. However, being right very often isn’t enough. Scaring me may get my attention but it can also get my back up. As I see it, a doctor who preaches should have gone to the seminary. Effective doctors are gentle but persistent partners rather than superior prodders.

I am many things, just as you are. I’m a taxpayer, I’m a Methodist church parishioner, I’m a parent, I’m a former husband, I’m a Yankee fan (of course), I live with a disability, I’m a friend, I’m an acquaintance, and, at least once a week, I’m a writer. Hence, I come from many places and all of these places shape me and matter to me in varying degrees.

The person who plays to my fears or my vanity is a clever dude. The reverse is also true: when I play to someone’s vanity or fears, I’m a clever dude. The person who taps my soul, however, is the person who wins me over big time. The person who wins me over is the one to whom it really and truly matters where I “come from”. Likewise, when you really get it that I care where you come from, you’re likely to start calling me many names—the first one being “friend”!




Nimer M. Jaber

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