Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is it a pathology when you don't take care of your parent?

Let me just begin by bluntly sharing my response: Yes, I think so.

Soumitro's blog postings about hunger in Tippecanoe county, the health emergencies that put people on the streets, and the children who throw their parents onto the streets got me both angry and upset.

The stories of Melanie and Fiona left me wondering: What goes so fundamentally wrong in a society that it justifies negligence of parents amidst the individualistic pursuits for self satisfaction and material comfort?

What makes a son kick out his mother out of his apartment?

Where does the pathology of individualism become so extremely pathological that a child stops feeling for his mother as she runs out of a place to stay, sleeps in homeless shelters, and goes to soup kitchens and food pantries to meet her need for food?

The roots of this pathology are perhaps in the narcisstic individualism of American society that elevates the self above all else, and celebrates this form of narcissism under the BS of liberty and freedom, projecting it globally through neoliberal reforms, and through the merchandizing of neoliberal dreams packaged in the golden ribbon of desire.

As I hear similar stories of parental neglect emerging out of Kolkata, I wonder about effective forms of advocacy campaigns that might counter the hegemony of US-style neoliberalism that is bankrupt of principles of caring, nurturing, and familial ties. Amidst the sweeping interventions of neoliberal desire globally, what are the moral axes on which we stand as human beings to cry out in pain when we see the suffering of the "other" and reach out to offer our solidarity?

I also see the need for grounding societal articulations in alternative axes that are rooted in alternative values (much like what Soumitro does with his example of "parents as embodiment of God").

Most importantly, I also wonder about the role of the State in fostering policies that address parental negligence. If child abuse and neglect is a punishable offense, why not parental abuse and neglect?

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