Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Parallel drawn between the Donor Conceived and Occupy Wall Street

Lindsay Greenawalt of the Cryokid Confessions has analogized the plight of the donor conceived to that of the protests of the 99% which presently reside at Zuccotti Park here in NYC. I understand the intent is to draw the parallel of a group without power over decisions that affect them. Lindsay herself built upon posts by The Declassified Adoptee written with regards to the Adoption Rights Movement. Link here for the full text of the pictured statement.

What I am not sure of, and perhaps this is still an issue I have regarding the #OccupyWallStreet movement is that the lines of who and what is being protested are blurred (at least for OWS). The OWS movement right now, as I see it, is a simultaneous protest against everything where the general population, the 99%, has no control and the effects have economically disadvantaged that 99% where the 1% benefited.

Lindsay is pretty direct in her statements that here in the US (1) the infertility industry is not centrally regulated, (2) records can be destroyed and held back without recourse, and (3) America has turned a blind eye to the whole thing.

Part of me dislikes linking the plight of the donor conceived to the OWS movement as the OWS while catching the eye of the world’s media its seeming lack of focus does a disservice to defined issues such as that of the donor conceived. I think Lindsay’s goal was to highlight the lack of control held by the donor conceived, which is a positive goal, I just wish the movement she is associating with seemed less disjointed.


Lindsay said...

Eric, thanks for the plug!

I understand your concern with putting our plight in the auspices of OWS, but I guess we see the movement differently...perhaps the differences in our generations, mine being the one who has been hit the hardest from the economy and is now being called the "Lost Generation". I also don't see what is being protested as disjointed, but I won't get into politics here :o)

So I guess it was only natural for me to align our situation to what is going on in NYC and across the country.

Vinnie said...

I'm with Eric on this. The Wall Street movement baffles me because every generation of new working adults -- including mine -- claims they were hit the hardest. The truth is, every generation is hit hard. It is just darned hard to grow up and have to figure out how to support yourself and it always was. I borrowed $100K to go to law school at 11 % interest and made $32K per year to start as a prosecutor in 1994, paying $700+ per month for 25 years. When I was 5 years out of law school, the government started letting people deduct student loan interest if they were LESS than 5 years out of law school; when I was finally making over $65K, the government started letting people deduct ALL student loan interest but only if they made less than 65K; when I was 11 years out and still a prosecutor -- no kidding -- the state government started giving prosecutors less than ELEVEN years out $3500 per year to pay back law loans (but more than 11 years out, nothing) -- so I got NONE of these benefits that are available to today's law grad. Now that I am 17 years out and my loans are paid down to maybe $30K, having paid 11% interest for years and never having any help, the interest for student loans is about 4% -- meaning that a new prosecutor today who borrows twice as much to go to law school as I did is still going to have a payment lower than mine was, is going to get $3500 a year to help with it, and by the way, the starting salary is now about double what mine was. So it is a little naive for someone who thinks life is tough now but hasn't lived through the previous period to say they have it harder than I did. And, even though I feel like I'd have grounds to say it, I will refrain from saying I had it harder than today's people because I lived a different time. It's hard for everyone, now and then. Finally, how this all has to do with sperm donors really escapes me, because although I agree with Lindsay that people should be told their origins (and I have secured that information for my own son should he ever want it), and I agree that deception about this is horrible, there is just no solidarity of this issue with the Wall Street movement. Short of them all getting high on the cameraderie of being mad about something, those protesters would sell Lindsay's issue out in a heartbeat to win their own issues (whatever they are). I'd be all for outside regulation of the sperm banking industry, but I don't see that relief coming from the Wall Street protests. Not a chance.

Lindsay said...

Vinnie, just some food for thought - a great article in the New Yorker that spells out the anger found in "my generation". I don't think your claim is correct that every generation is hit hard. Yes there are economic downturns cyclically, but the thing is, it's when those crises hit that affect your lives. This current crisis occurred when [we] are fresh out of college and it will forever impact our working lives.

As for what OWS feels about our DC issues...the whole point of OWS is that there is not just one issue at hand. People are protesting and finding solidarity with one another but there are dozens of different concerns and issues at hand. There are students, unemployed workers, unions, democrats, republicans, libertarians, you name it! The beauty of it is, is that this is a movement not just a protest.

Vinnie said...

Lindsay -- you are probably right about OWS being more a movement than a specific protest, but that is really what is wrong with it. There are too many people who want inconsistent things. Everyone wants utopia, but just as in the greater society, they will not agree on how to get it. As for the generational thing, I still don't see why you are so sure that people today are worse off than, for example, almost 20 years ago (which was also a down market) when the person today who finishes law school and starts the public service job I started in 1994 makes twice as much as I did but only has to pay back the same debt, and also gets thousands in federal and state aid that I never got. Yes, that is just one example, but my point is that things are rarely so simple and black and white as they seem when you look at them through self-interested glasses -- so I won't make the claim I had it worse than today's analog of myself, but I also give very little credit to the person who makes such a claim about him or herself today. I know we will not agree now, but I would be interested to know how you feel about this in 20 years. I have a feeling that we will probably both still be reading similar blogs and such, so we probably will get to trade ideas again then. I promise to admit if my views change to be more like yours if you promise to admit same if it's the other way around ... ;o) And good luck getting what you want out of OWS -- notwithstanding our broader differences, I happen to agree with some of your specific goals (like ending anonymity of donors).

Amanda Woolston said...

The OWS movement is a awareness campaign about how the government is in bed with big business and how voter opinions are cancelled about by whomever wields the biggest checkbook. Within that larger awareness campaign are smaller, individual issues that fall under that general theme. OWS issued a more direct, official statement a while back.

I personally think Lindsay's comparison to OWS is right on. One of the #1 things I hear in response when I tell people I think donor offspring have a right to identifying information about their parent(s) is "but if donors were required to be identified then no one would want to donate. And if there are no donors, then no one would be able to conceive through donor conception and that's just not fair!" This places the needs of an industry to persist above the basic human right of donor conceived children and adults to know their origins and have access to their own DNA. It's a perfect example of legislation being lead by a business decision instead of one made by the voters it impacts.