First I ask you, what does it really mean to be a contributing member of society? How is a concept like that measured? By giving as much or more than you take out of some collective pie? Deciding who is a contributing member of society is a slippery slope if there ever was one but Ellen bravely concludes that people like Kimani do contribute to society,
People with disabilities are contributing members of society. They show us what really matters in life, what it means to be human, what it means to be loved and accepted simply for being, not because of what we can or cannot do.I know where she was going with that. It is the same place I was trying to go when I wrote “Seeing in the Raw” for the HighCalling.org a year or so ago. Kimani is human, raw human and she is loved simply because she exists. She is lovable exactly as she is. But that has more to do with inherent value than it does actual contribution to something.
Aren’t they impossible to unravel... direct and indirect contributions to society? Very few people who make direct, valuable, measurable, lasting contributions to our society would claim there is no one who motivated them or affected their desire to do what it is they did.
And I think that is what Ellen meant, that people like Kimani contribute to society indirectly by influencing the people around them to be more compassionate, thankful, tolerant, and perhaps even drive them to adopt, research cures, donate time and money, and to develop policies and enact laws. Is the butterfly who flapped its wings any less of a contributor than the tsunami it caused?
No, Kimani does not change everyone who meets her. In fact, she will likely only have true impact on a very small circle of people. But who can measure what the currents from her little wings will bring forth? Who even has the right to try?