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I discovered early that the hardest thing to overcome is not a physical disability but the mental condition which it induces. The world, I found, has a way of taking a man pretty much at his own rating. If he permits his loss to make him embarrassed and apologetic, he will draw embarrassment from others. But if he gains his own respect, the respect of those around him comes easily.
My brother was told that he wouldn’t walk, that he wouldn’t be able to play drums, that he wouldn’t be able to race a car – and he’s done all those things. He’s defied the odds, defied disability. I look at him and I’m so inspired, by his mentality and by how incredible the body and the mind are. There’s really nothing you can’t do. My brother has proved that.
It seems that some consideration should be given to the cause of our mounting physical disabilities, but instead of going to the root of our troubles – wrong habits of eating and drinking – we rush to the medicine shelf and smother our uncomfortable and distressing symptoms under an avalanche of pills, potions and palliatives.
When committees gather, each member is necessarily an actor, uncontrollably acting out the part of himself, reading the lines that identify him, asserting his identity…. We are designed, coded, it seems, to place the highest priority on being individuals, and we must do this first, at whatever cost, even if it means disability for the group.
If you are deaf, you need captions for spoken elements. If you are blind, you need voiced descriptions of Web contents and spoken renderings of e-mail. The range of physical disabilities is very large, and we need many different tools to overcome the consequential barriers to Internet use. Let us commit ourselves to truly assuring that the Internet really is for everyone.
Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.
Barring extreme physical and mental disabilities, each and every one of us is where we are today — be it poor or wealthy, happy or sad, on the streets or in a condo, in a Mercedes or a rusted-out Pinto — because of the choices we have made during our lives. It’s the choices we have made that put us where we are, not the choices others have made for us.