November 24th, 2005
To the Editor,
I am appalled by the tone of this article, echoing the immature views of a culture that publicly extols family values while privately undermining them. Taking care of family is the natural course of events in most societies. However, our nation of nursing homes and ‘assisted living’ facilities enables the economically advantaged to venerate life-style over life. Our administration ensures that low wage workers cannot even support themselves with less than two or three jobs, effectively destroying their partcipation within a family unit. Lack of insurance coverage furthers the distance between ill persons and their relatives working overtime to pay their medical bills. Many disabled persons are quite young and not eligible for medicare. Many do not require full time medical attention in special facilities.
It is unconscionable for “experts” like Professor Hochschild to describe women choosing to attend to the business of LIFE as taking the “easy” way out of the workforce. I used to spend 20 hours per week, in addition to a 60 hour work week, to help care for my cancer-stricken mother. I can assure you that working a high-powered job was the simplist part of my day. The fact that some daughters perform these functions while siblings opt out sharing in the task is a function of our convictions that illness is repugnant and addressing it a waste of one’s time. I, on the other hand, had the joy – and pain- of my mother’s company which greatly enhanced my life.
Our warped view ensures the isolation and neglect of a large segment of the population while diminishing our understanding of life. Hence our choice of leaders who promise us an ‘ownership’ society over one which is truly ‘civilized’.
Categories: NY Times