Paradox of “The Power of the Powerless”

I came upon these two passages from a recent article by Sandy Rios in her concern for the disabled, and reflecting on how Nazis termed them as ‘useless eaters.

In attempt to breed the Aryan race, the Nazis began a systematic extermination of “useless eaters.” Videos were produced to illustrate the horrors of the disabled and thousands were led to their death with the approval of the German citizenry. One notable exception was Dietrich Bohhoeffer, a pastor later hanged to death with a piano wire for opposing the Nazis. In the face of the Aryan tide he penned these words: “Not only do the weak need the strong, but the strong need the weak.”

I quickly searched up the term ‘The Power of the Powerless’ and ‘Christopher De Vinck ‘, which was mentioned in her article and I found this by De Vinck regarding his disabled brother.

Years later I wrote a small article for the Wall Street Journal about Oliver that struck a responsive chord. Hundreds of people wrote me letters about “The Power of the Powerless,” explaining the impact of the powerless people in their lives.

President Reagan read the article in the White House the very morning it appeared and sent me a personal letter in celebration of Oliver’s life. Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband Sargent Shriver invited me to Washington, D.C., to write for the Special Olympics.

Oliver’s influence extended all the way to Rome. Pope John Paul invited me to the Vatican to deliver the closing speech at an international conference on disabilities. I was asked to end the conference with the story of Oliver, and then I, Oliver’s brother, was brought to meet the pope. The Reader’s Digest, the Chicago Tribune, the New York papers, all asked permission to reproduce my essay.

Again and again people recognized the paradox that in all his weakness Oliver possessed great strength. Oliver survived because for thirty-two years other human beings placed food at his lips.

With each meal, Oliver was physically nourished. With each meal we who gave him food and drink were spiritually nourished.

In accepting Oliver for who he was, rather than lamenting what he was not, my mother rose to a new level of understanding that enriched her in the same way that Pearl Buck was enriched. Buck, the Nobel Prize winner, wrote about her severely disabled daughter in her slim classic, The Child Who Never Grew


As you all know I’m vocally pro-life, we so easily forget that we begin our lives at conception completely ‘powerless’, and only for the radical paradox that the powerless have power over us we live. Radical feminism wants to change this paradox, that is deeply entrenched in our organic nature as women. Women are suppose to love their children, that’s why we are placed in our mother’s wombs. Radical feminism hates women for the ability to become mothers, for being fertile, for being pregnant, for being able to birth, and to nourish their child. This isn’t a burden, it’s a blessing.  

I felt the need to share this, because I get emails to help the election, I simply can’t. I currently have a child that is disabled with needs and I’m pretty much housebound at this point in time. The internet is my only avenue.  

So I also share this intro of “Where Have All the Mothers Gone?” by by James Kimmel, Ph.D.

Once everyone had a mother. They were not only born from a mother but they had a mother who took care of them after they were born. Mothers, then, were especially important to babies since they could not live unless their mothers took care of them. At first, a baby did not know this. But it did know, or more correctly, feel that mother was warmth, comfort, fullness and completeness.

As the baby grew into childhood, mother became associated with goodness and rightness. Mother was good and it was good to be with mother. It did not feel right if mother was not there. But, once, mother was always there. Babies were nursed whenever they cried. They were continuously held in their mothers’ arms and they slept beside their mothers at night. Mothers also took their babies with them wherever they went, to bathe in a river, lake or stream, to gather food and to prepare it, or to visit with friends. Mother was always there because her baby was with her when she worked, when she ate, when she played, when she slept and even when she made love.

And mothers did not mind that their babies were always there. They would have minded if their babies were not with them. Neither did mothers mind being mothers. Being a mother was good. It felt good and everyone else thought it was good, and it was good – good for mothers and for babies and for everyone.

I wish to go on, but I have to go.  

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