Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Compare and Contrast.

First, a blog convo that I rather enjoy as part of an ongoing series at the New York Times, between socially liberally Gail Collins and their token conservative David Brooks. (Brooks is not a nut, believe it or not. I like him, on the main. And Collins is a delightfully reasonable auntie type I defy you to dislike.) They discuss the TREACHEROUS subject of parental time with kids and the resulting consequences of success, privilege, spoiled behavior, hard work, and all of it as a mess.

Second, the Academy Award winning film Children Underground from 2001 about street kids in post-Ceausescu Romania.
(Note... if you want to give your world perspective a little shock, do like me and watch 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days... and then Children Underground. But then take a nap before you resume thinking.)

So, the blog conversation keeps things rather theoretical, about how middle- and upper-class parents have more time to spend with their kids, so might that contribute to the childrens' success, and not just nepotism or money? And it skims the surface, it keeps it light, it allows us to take the discussion to our dinner parties, our classrooms, our water coolers.

The film, on the other hand, features paint-huffing-addicted children living in a subway station in Romania. How did they arrive there? I plan to write a couple other posts about those kids and some of the fascinating, heart-rending pieces of humanity captured in the film, but tonight I leave you with a slice of righteous anger, a white hot flame of indignation as a woman on this earth. (Anger forthcoming... I warn you.)

The children in the film, who are literally kicked in the face by adults, who are abused verbally and physically by their parents on film, who are ridiculed by their peers and plead till they are hoarse for affection, friendship, love, who are passed by all day in the station, who are ignored by their government and their neighbors... these children are the direct result of a Ceausescu regime that outlawed contraception and abortion and aggressively promoted childbearing on all "of age" men and women.

While I am shying further and further away from fundamental thought of any type in my life, seeing the direct result of a government's fundamental obsession with unborn life in the form of wholly forgotten children is still stunning... I ask those who voted for Michelle Bachmann, those who support the Dominican Republic's total ban on abortion NO MATTER WHAT, those who would insist that pregnancy and birth should be forced on women and parental love, affection, ability can be mandated by the government if you just go and have that child... would you like to take in these children? Would you open your home, your money, your future to a 16-year-old gang member and drug addict? No? Go fuck yourself then.

1 comment:

  1. If you need to hear something hopeful, listen to the first story from the "Going Big" episode of This American Life.

    I should listen to it every day. (That and watch Food Inc.)

    It's about a man who is helping kids (through their parents) get to college. He's helping kids from the same neighborhoods he grew up in. Mostly the show segment is about him but also about this program he's started. Kind of incredible.

    So it's a little off topic from what you wrote here but for some reason it made me think of it.