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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Great Quote

I just came across the following quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small they cannot be seen on any maps of the world".

This reminded me of how misguided the parents of children are who seek out growth attenuation. The most vulnerable people among us are in my estimation important. They are humanity reduced to its basest element. How we care and value these lives says much about our culture. To date, we Americans do a very poor job caring for the vulnerable--the elderly, terminally ill and disabled. All are stigmatized, their lives deemed less valuable than those who are "productive". But what exactly does that "productivity" mean? In looking back on one's life are the monetary goals one reaches more important than love, children raised, family, and the contribution made to the world.

When I was a child my father never asked me how I did in school. Instead he would say "Did I ask a good question and think independently". Answers he told me can always be found but asking hard questions is what separates original thinkers from drones. He did not want me to be a drone. In retrospect I suspect he wanted me to carve out a different life than the one he led. Without knowing it he led me to become an anthropologist as we as a group always ask hard questions and defend the rights of the most vulnerable--often indigenous populations or minority groups. Little did I know I would join the largest minority group in America--the disabled. But I was prepared like few others. I had a penchant for questioning and life long propensity to reject the status quo. What I wish and think the above quote by Eleanor roosevelt gets at is that we all must assert our rights and the rights of those that cannot assert them independently. We must look into the eyes of the most vulnerable and see ourselves. We must protect those that cannot protect themselves. This is where I think growth attenuation fails miserably. Growth attenuation is a simple answer to a complex problem. It enables parents and doctors the luxury of no thought--no consideration of the other, people that do not nor will ever fit in with social expectations. What are there needs? Why are those needs not met? How can we force society to change and become a welcoming place for all those with and without expected cognition and physical prowess. I offer no answers today just hard questions. Questions I think my father would be proud I am thinking about.

1 comment:

Eric Fischer said...

Society is systematized. This creates a buffer for people so that they can distance themselves. The word for this when it is institutionalized is bureaucracy. A kind of variation on the waiter's "sorry, that's not my table" theme. Don't care, don't know.

Just today I had a sample of it. The local council worker called me to inform me that the property taxes rebate of 40% I receive because of my son would be reduced to 20% because a clark had mistakingly given me 40% for the last 2 years. I asked her what mistake had been made since I've been getting the 40% for 10 years already. "That's all I have to say" was her response. She warned me not to snoop around the local council because then they would demand a retroactive return of the "bonus money".
*charging into rant*
Not only is this incorrect but without consideration of larger issues that go with keeping a child so extremely crippled at home. This comes a week after they came to possess my son's minivan because of an unpaid parking ticket that the traffic cop had no right giving anyway.

This labyrinth of systemization is in my opinion perfectly suited to the mentality of shutting people down who are weak, the same human failing that sees "latch-key" children raise themselves while parent's gasp at what has become of youth today, of efficiency at the cost of humanity so that we can rush home in time to plop in front of the television and watch reality shows.

No one cares about me so I won't care about anyone.
Bill, it's beyond my understanding how we've survived this long. But certainly it can't be because we took care of the weak.