Braille Monitor                  March 2022

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The Purpose of Discussion in our Braille Monitor

by Gary Wunder

Gary WunderFor a number of years I have had a goal of getting people to discuss things that might or should become policy in the Federation. I have thought we should have an avenue for this even before I edited this magazine, and since I have been the editor, I’ve tried to push for constructive discussions.

When people hear about an important resolution and complain that they don't know much about the subject or wish they had more time to think about it, I've often felt that the Braille Monitor could have filled a need by providing information and perspective. What I have not wanted to do is set up the environment I too often see on network television in which people argue rather than discuss, in which they spin more ideology than real thought. Discussion should not mean that someone wins and someone loses. What I have wanted to foster is the sharing of ideas in which everyone is open to learning and coming closer together. In my desire to create discussion, please help me avoid our magazine being the place where people come to argue. Instead, let us place communication as one of our major goals. Let it be respectful, and let us be clear about what communication is and is not. Communication lets you articulate a position. If you have done it well enough, and if I've listened with an open mind and heart, I can articulate your view and the reasons you've given for it. But communication hasn't failed if, after reading your position, it still isn't my position. Maybe what you write moves me a bit. Perhaps it sowed a seed that makes me think and leads me to do more research. That research may harden my position or may bring me closer to yours, but our measure of success can't be to convert but to offer perspectives and leave final decisions to the good will and good sense of our readers.

So when you see an article and a response to it, please understand that we're not trying to get ratings and reader participation through sensationalism. Our goal is to provide another way for people to talk with one another, to understand one another, and to help show that our little part of the world still believes in the exchange of ideas without having the heads of those who espouse them.

After expressing this view to one of my dearest friends, he offered this as a possible disclaimer to put in each issue. What do readers think?

The Braille Monitor strives to be a place in which respectful debate about emerging issues affecting blind people and the organized blind movement can take place, while also supporting and amplifying the decisions arrived at through our democratic process and our supreme governing authority, the National Convention. Consequently, except for verbatim copies of our adopted resolutions, policies, and constitution, content in the Monitor may or may not reflect the organization’s policies or the collective opinion of the National Federation of the Blind.

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