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Rev. Joey N. Welsh: Am I included, or am I included out?

Another Angle. Am I included, or am I included out? with Samuel Goldwynisms and comments on relevance to the Americans with Disabilities Act, was first published 26 June 2006 in the Hart County News-Herald.
To see other articles by this author, enter "Rev. Joey N. Welsh," or "Another Angle," in the searchbox. The next earlier Another Angle: For Fathers Day

by The Rev. Joey N. Welsh

Schmuel Gelbfisz was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1882. After leaving his homeland alone, barefoot and penniless at 16, he spent some time with relatives in England before emigrating to Canada at the beginning of the new century. (While in England he had begun using the more English sounding name of Samuel Goldfish.) Coming to New York at the turn of the 20th century, he found work with folks from Eastern Europe who were in the garment industry.

Encountering other immigrants who were with Vaudeville stage shows, Samuel followed their lead and began to work in a new entertainment medium, silent movies. He went into partnership for a while with Louis B. Mayer and Jesse Lasky, producing movies directed by an energetic young man named Cecil B. DeMille.

After parting ways with those two, he partnered with the Broadway producers Archibald and Edgar Selwyn. The three formed a new movie business, using both last names in the corporation's title Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, and Samuel had his last name legally changed to Goldwyn. Even after mergers and corporate realignments Goldwyn remained a power in Hollywood until his death in 1974. Almost as famous as his films were Goldwyn's quotes.

Perhaps because he had little education and English was his second language, he sometimes used words in an interesting way. Samuel Goldwyn said, among other things:
  • An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

  • Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

  • If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive.

  • I don't want you men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth, even it it costs them their jobs.

  • 'll tell you how likely it is in two words: impossible

  • Of course she can sing. She's practically a Florence Nightingale.
And then there is my favorite Goldwynism, "Gentlemen, include me out." After spending a large chuck of time in a wheelchair, I can tell you that people with disabilities have ample opportunity to believe that society "includes them out." Every curb without a wheelchair cut, every heavy door that won't stay open for even a second, every steep park lot, and every restroom doorway too narrow for a wheelchair present chasms that might as well be the Grand Canyon to the disabled person. These examples come from my experiences, folks with hearing or visual impairment can add to the list almost endlessly, I'm sure.

In 1990 Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation and its guidelines began the long-neglected process of giving American with a side variety of disabilities a legal basis for seeking access to employment opportunities and public accommodation. Of course, as soon as the law took effect in 1992, people began to complain about it or lampoon its results. (In one episode of the cartoon show, The Simpsons, Homer tried to become morbidly obese so he could be given an ADA exemption from his workplace fitness program. One online humor journal referred to ADA as Americans with No Abilities Act.

Frankly when the ADA was agreed to by Congress 20 years ago this week*. . . . ., I thought it was nice, but I didn't think it had too much to do with me; I presumed it was intended for other people. Now that I'm one of those others, I'm glad that the ADA is there to help folks in my condition keep a job and have a life, so we can work, go out to be a part of the community, and spend our earnings supporting local businesses. Isn't this the American way, what people should be able to do?

Samuel Goldwyn came to the Untied States and found a culture that refused to include him out. America allowed him to use his abilities and to find success. All of us should appreciate the ADA on its 15th anniversary and celebrate its brave impulse to allow millions of people to use their abilities and find their own success instead of being included out.

All of us benefit from the ADA, some of us just more directly than others. For some of us the ADA is a lifeline, while for others it is a crucial reality check. If you remain unconvinced of that truth, spend a moment and think hard about what it would mean to you if you found yourself included out of the meaningful living of which you are capable. I think we can all lead fuller lives when no one among us is included out. Should you doubt that, think some more and picture yourself walking (or wheeling along) a mile in someone else's place.

*The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 went to Conference on June 26, 1990 and was cleared for the White House on July 13. It was signed by the President on July 26, 1990 and became Public Law No. 101-336. -ROBERT STONE.

This story was posted on 2010-06-27 05:28:40
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