when my mother was married to my stepfather, he regaled me with his stories of living in thailand and korea when he was a drug smuggler. (hey, i didn't say this was going to be a pretty little fable). he talked about how foreign our concept of "family" was to them; in thailand, entire families lived in one house. if someone in the house was too old or too sick to work, the rest of the family chipped in and took care of them. at that time, in the early 60's, he said that because the family took responsibility, there was very little outright poverty and homelessness.
in our own time now, we expect people to take care of themselves, whether they are family or not. people take advantage of siblings and parents. abusive relationships lead to estrangement and distance.
my question to you is: do you think that alot of the problems we have in america with homelessness, starving octegenarians on underpaid social security, and general deterioration of family values would be helped by reverting to communities like that? do you think if we expected families to be responsible for each other, it would help or harm america?
quote:Originally posted by morgana *snippity do da*
Morgana, good thread. Here's a few thoughts 'n' comments:
1) Perhaps it's beside the point, but the fact is, Social Security was NEVER intended to be a stand-alone retirement. Rather, it was set up to be a supplement to a person's retirement. Oxsan, you can correct me if I have some of this wrong, but when it began, the ante was one-half of one percent.
2) You are correct, however, in your observation that many people find themselves trying to depend upon Social Security as their only source of retirement income. Hence, they complain because it fails to provide for them in a manner that it was never intended to do in the first place.
3) It seems to me, however, that these complaints would be fewer and farther between if families did, in fact, provide for themselves in the manner you mentioned. Unfortunately, based upon my observations, families that do that are very much the exception, at least in this country.
4) For what it's worth, I'm one of the old-schoolers. I firmly believe family takes care of family. That's why I persuaded my parents to move close to me when they retired. I will take care of them if and when they need me.
5) In all fairness to us, however, we may be comparing apples to oranges. Does Thailand have the infrastructure for elderly care that we have, such as resthomes, assisted living facilities, etc.? Honestly, I doubt they do, but I have not investigated.
p.s. Now where's that vampire movie thread?
*edited to correct minor fuckups*
" Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background of countless minor scenes and interiors, (not the official surface courteousness of the Generals, not the few great battles) of the Secession war; and it is best they should not—the real war will never get in the books." ~ Walt Whitman
Last edited by J E B Stuart on 03-26-2002 at 03:51 AM
It is not that simple. You can't just say "go back to being family oriented". We were not mobile in the thirties. One lived and died within a few miles of the same place. Travel across the country was difficult. We were nearly all White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants
which meant that we had the same set of values---held the same things to be good or bad. We were unicultural. We got our cultural precepts from Uncle Joe and Granny. As children we had peer pressure applied to us by the adults of a small town to keep us in line. In the town near where I was born, Plainview, you hear as much Spanish as English now and maybe even a little
Urdu or Tajik. Unheard of in my childhood.
It is like Humpty Dumpty. You can't put it back together--"Not all the King's horses nor all the King's men could put Hum,pty Dumpty together again".
And organized religion has failed us just as we have failed it.
So what to do , Fairy Queen? Accept us as we are and learn to live with each other as amicably as possible. Maybe just plain committment replaces marriage or maybe marriage revives. But the family in the sense of the extended family of the 1930s is dead and gone except in pockets here and there. There will be vestiges for years, maybe centuries
There are other ways than the family to survive and thrive. Experiment. Pick three or four single friends and really try to form a bond of sharing with them. Keep a few ceremonies and traditions around, especially if you have children. Ceremonies and traditions mean more to children than we commonly believe. And above all decide what your values are and stay with them and teach them to your children and your friends. Almost any value is better than no value.
The concept of family values is a touchy one for someone who had to watch her granfather being abused by his only son. The rest of our family are very close-knit, and I know that if any of us needed medical or financial help, the others are always ready to pitch in.
I recently met someone with no family ties at all. I can't understand how he can survive without a family. The unconditional love you get from them is something that goes unmatched and I love it.