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more than a manual factory operator; not to take such a thing as a secretarial course.
Well, let us see! Her only difficulty was that she was a little stunted as to growth, but today the lady in question is a reasonably successful secretary and she has two children.
So much for counseling. We could go on and on and on with that.
We are up against this proposition: This pension idea would not be necessary if the State rehabilitation agencies had done their duty, but they come in here like a baseball team that reports its wins and not its losses. In other words, they do not report the number of unfeasible cases that they refuse to handle. I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that when we drew up the bill 30 years ago we did not draw that bill with any idea of just treating the easy cases and ignoring the hard ones.
We were striving, if you please, to set up a means of enabling those who were severely handicapped to get back into harness. These gentlemen say that the pending legislation will take care of all this by throwing them on relief. Mr. Chairman, as long as an individual is eligible for rehabilitation—and I am now speaking of disability cases—I insist that the primacy of jurisdiction on that individual belongs to rehabilitation and not to pensions. Why? Because public assistance produces nothing.
However, public assistance is in many ways a terrible thing because the people that administer public assistance, paradoxically, do not want anything to dry up the source of income. Does that make sense? They do not want public assistance to pass out of existence. No; they will not have jobs then.
Public assistance is all right, I am not complaining; but, if a man is ill, I object strenuously to any proposition to keep him on the submarginal charity basis. I insist that the first thing to do is to try to get that fellow on his feet; get him in such shape that he can do something for himself, his family, and his community. That is the task—not public assistance. Public assistance is a weak way of not doing a proper job.
I am alive today after 10 doctors said that I could not possibly live two more months, and that, Mr. Chairman, was 10 years ago. I am still living, and I hope that I will live a long time yet so that I can pester you gentlemen for the handicapped.
The whole point that I am trying to get across is: Let us make rehabilitation do its duty and let us not let them shirk their duty as they have shirked.
I noticed in the testimony of Mr. Ewing that he said an independent agency was unsound. That certainly comes strangely from Mr. Ewing, because he is sitting at the head of an independent agency. He certainly is. The Federal Security Agency is an administrative agency. I have not attempted to uproot all the 30-odd agencies that have a piece of the handicapped program and pitch them into one pot. I have not done such a thing. I have tried to change the name of this "gobbledegook” so-called rehabilitation agency. Eighty percent of the handicapped cannot even pronounce or spell it correctly, let us say, let alone know what it means, and I did not wish that title on it when I drew the first bill 30 years ago.
These boys have forced me to come back into the arena because they have built up the darndest caste system that you ever saw. For 25 years they sat around in huddles and talked to each other.
Labor can speak with authority on this matter. I know because I carried the bills for labor, and labor has put every law into existence in this field, except one. I was the individual charged with the responsibility by labor organizations of doing that.
A little while ago I did say that I thought you gentlemen could join me in a rather wry smile when I think about this proposition of which I was one of the fathers some 30 years ago, and when I look at the results I think that it must have been artificial insemination, because I surely will deny that these are my children. They are smart because they came in and got you to pay all their salaries, and they come back every year or so and tell you how little you know and how far you are going to be allowed to go. That is right. You are paying 100 percent of the administrative costs with Federal money.
Do you think that those people care a continental about the handicapped? Baloney! I have gone into the State offices and made personal investigations. I have done it officially for labor groups and I have done it for my own federation. I find this condition. They tell you what wonderful programs are in existence. Is that so? Well, for something like twenty-odd months, according to their own story, they did not have any money last year. Why certainly we can all draw up the ideal, but to make it work is something else again. They say everything is lovely. Oh, yes. If one of our fellows goes to one of these well-dressed counselors for the handicapped sitting around a table and says I have a busted leg and my ticker is out of whack and my spine is smashed and I need help right now, they will say, “Sorry, we can do nothing for you.” The handicapped will say, “Did I get into the wrong office; is not this the Rehabilitation Bureau?”
"Yes; it is.
He will say, "What are all these people doing around here? Are they not supposed to help me?”
but we do not have the money." He will say, “You do not have the money? These people, are they all working for nothing ?”
“Oh, no; of course their salaries are paid.” The handicapped man will say, "You say that you cannot do any
“ thing for me with all these people around? They are supposed to be working for me. There is something fishy about this somewhere."
That, Mr. Chairman, is what has gone on. I will tell you frankly that I do not see any hope in the present set-up. Being a practical politician in one respect, I know that you cannot change it. You gentlemen will say that Pennsylvania has to be upheld, and West Virginia and Kentucky and Minnesota, so I am not going to be fool enough and come in and ask Congress to do away with what I know local sentiment would keep them from doing. But what I have striven for in this matter is to add certain things to the rehabilitation set-up that it lacks today, to make it more workable.
I know that my own people are not getting a break. I have hundreds of letters. If I could unload those letters on you, you would see a picture of the rehabilitation services in the States that is beyond my power to portray. I do not want to say that there are not very honest, sincere, and able persons among those people. Some of them I call my friends; but, of course, Emerson said that when a man gets so close to his ideal, decay begins. I rather suspect some of those have
been living too close to their ideals and cannot see the thing in perspective. We on the outside can see the situation far better than they, because we are far enough from the trees to see the forest. They are not. They are right there where everything must be perfect because they drew it. I have been guilty of that many times in my own life, so | know the feeling, but I hope that you will not be stampeded by the people who come here and pontificate on this matter.
We talked about an advisory committee. As you well know, the city of Washington has advisory committees that seem to be indigenous to the soil. I will bet you that we have more advisory committees to the square foot than any other city in the United States, if not in the world. I know. I am sitting on five of them now, but those committees neither advise nor commit.
I want to put some teeth into this proposition. I want to see a committee that means something, because unless we do that, unless you give a committee power, those boys will just get together and say, "Well, fellows, what are we here for! Here is the agenda. We will give a whitewash to everything that has been done by the agency. They will then go home. I have been through all that. Maybe some of you have. Do not let them kid you. I am unpopular because I have to assume by virtue of my job the police role. It is not pleasant.
. The same bunch have said to me, “If you will be a good boy, we will see to it that you are given a nice big job.
That is strange, because I have never asked anybody to get me a job. I still think that, despite my unfeasible state that they speak of, I can get my own job.
I think that I will quit now because you gentlemen have tolerated me long enough.
I beg of you for the sake of the people that I represent not to let them down. I want to emphasize that you write the bill. I will be happy indeed to see this job done. I have confidence in the committee. I do not want to say that in a flattering sense because I do not flatter, as your chairman well knows, but I believe that this committee can make
up its own mind. That is all that I ask you to do. If there are wrong things in this bill, strike them out, but that bill, as I say, is not a new bill. It has been before the Congress. It has been before other groups. I believe_basically it is sound. If I have any experience in this field at all, I will say that it took me 30 years to learn to write that bill. I am not trying to kid the members of this committee when I say that it represents so far the best bill that is before the committee.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF HARRY S. WENDER, GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED
Mr. WENDER. I have a summary that I would like to give as general counsel for the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, and the sister organization, the American Foundation for the Physically Handicapped.
I would like to say at the outset that I am a volunteer and my services are wholly gratis to the organization. I think it is only fair
I to say why I am here and have been here all week each morning at
somewhat of an expense to my office. It is because I have been hypnotized by Paul Strachan, who, I think, is the most Christlike individual that I have ever met. I was not completely hypnotized until some few years ago. I had
I my own personal experience, as we all do, facing a total disability of one kind or another. It looked as though I was going to completely lose my voice, and until after visiting a dozen specialists I got Dr. Jackson, the greatest throat man in the world, who operated on me and I got better.
Before I went into the operating room I had a little confab with my own conscience and I agreed that if I got through it and was able to talk that for the rest of my life I would devote as much time as I possibly could to helping other people who did not have the good fortune that I had.
I was raised in an atmosphere, as most of us are, with somebody disabled in the home. My mother, from earliest childhood, was crippled. She had a crippled arm. It was not until her mature years that she was able to use her arm. Today, thank the Lord, she can. Her mother, in turn, was blind after having had nine children. My grandmother, who died at the age of 76 in Washington, was the president of the largest store fixture and restaurant equipment company in the eastern part of the United States south of New York. She died a wealthy woman. Unfortunately I did not get any of the money, but the other members of the family did.
The fact is that I learned what some people might call an unfeasible person does not necessarily have to be unfeasible. There is so much that these handicapped people can do if they have the will and if they get some kind of assistance, or get the inspiration or the idea from somebody else that they are not just a total wreck, or something that should be discarded.
During my lifetime, watching my grandmother run a business and talk to bankers and talk to employees, that was a great thing in my life. So I have a tremendous interest in the physically handicapped. I have been trying these past few years to absorb at the feet of Paul Strachan, who I think is the greatest disciple of humanity in this field, whatever I could so that perhaps I could help him along a little bit.
In these hearings I have taken some notes. I know the time is late and I know that the committee does not want to have me repeat what they already know.
I would like, however, to call attention to the caliber and character of witnesses that have been introduced as the proponents of this legislation.
We started off with Bob Allen, Col. Bob Allen, a dynamic personality, a great writer, a great author, who, I think, did not have too much interest in the disabled or handicapped people until he himself was victimized. He was a person pretty disappointed when he came back with the loss of an arm. Those of us who watched the rehabilitation of Bob know that he was a very bitter person until he came to realize what he could do himself and how there were so many millions of other people who were much worse off than he. He has been of tremendous assistance to us in our own organization.
We have a few various kinds of disabled people. Roger Arnett came here yesterday. How many of us would ever dream that a
man who was a paraplegic and with one leg off, sitting in a wheel chair, who could not walk, never has walked since his accident, could be a farmer and personally work a 10-acre farm? I am willing to bet you could never have believed it was possible until you heard it from the man's lips. I think that most of us feel that what we have never tried to do cannot be done, just as Mr. Berenstein, a blind lawyer, testified on the first day of the hearings on Tuesday, and who wears his Phi Beta Kappa key on his lapel, indicating the kind of mind he has, told you that you could not possibly imagine what it is to be blind and he could not imagine what it would be like not to be blind.
I discussed this with my wife that night, and I closed my eyes and tried to imagine how he would imagine what the color of that flag would be like, how he could imagine what the beautiful things are like, and yet we know that he has a sense of duty and understanding. They may not be the same kinds of standards that we have. We cannot possibly understand that man's life. We cannot understand Roger Arnett's life, or Mildred Scott, who was told that she was unfeasible, who sits here as the secretary of this great organization. She was told as a young girl that she would be just another statistic and would be no good to society whatever; that she might as well stay home; nobody would take her into an office. She could not get a job. Nevertheless, she did, despite the advice of all the people of those days who thought they knew what was the proper place for a handicapped person. She became an official in your own United States Government, and she was the first woman to go down into a coal mine with a great many Government officials under her to do the running of a Government agency. She left that secure position to take a job without security, without opportunity, certainly, of any remuneration, to work with this modern messiah, Paul Strachan, to help other people like herself.
These people come to the conclusion that there is no one who can do a job for the handicapped but themselves. It takes a man who cannot see to make a man who cannot see realize what their accomplishments can be.
Several pointed that out at the meeting of the federation some months ago. They were trying to teach amputees back from the Battle of the Bulge, and they had this tremendous influx of amputees. These men had a psychosis, of course—could they go back into industry, go home; could they ever use the complicated prosthetics. They were ready to quit. Men were brought up using these prosthetics and showed what they could accomplish. That was the best medicine in the world. It demonstrated to these handicapped individuals how possible it was to work, to use these prosthetics, and to be as normal and average as anybody else if you did not mind looking at a piece of equipment instead of a human arm or a human leg.
I had intimate contact with this entire situation some months ago when the Federation for the Physically Handicapped, through the assistance of some of the members of the House and Senate, forced the Interstate Commerce Commission to hold hearings on its obnoxious and discriminatory rules against amputees.
Believe it or not, gentlemen, probably the greatest discrimination against the handicapped is by Federal law and State and municipal