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A Response to "Developmental stages of expunged fathers"


[The original article to which the following is a response]

Walther part of the problem with your advice to Bill is that you probably don't completely understand Bill's situation in the spiral of catch-22's he has been placed into by the legal system. Its possible you presume you do and you have the advice, part judgement and suggestions of others who also have not completely read or understood all of the legal and other associated horrors so you make unfair and compounding negative assumptions.

It might also be that Bill's other problem might be that flight or transfer might take place at the risk of never ever seeing his children again-or even having a chance of seeing them. And then having to live with that memory as well. You might consider that Bill is fixed in place by an understandable obsession with seeing justice done-not only for him, his children and his reputation but also for the thousands of Fathers who are similarly afflicted and condemned,

Through it all it maybe Bill is recognized and appreciated as a leader and a man of substantive credibility and action even while he struggles through the depths of depression. It could be that he does what he can and works as hard as he can for others because his own situation is so impossible to fight or even address legally. He thinks only of the fight and the injustice and how to attack it rather than his own welfare.

I know a Bill like that too and he gets emails from people telling him they are proud to know him. Others write in from all over the country asking his assistance and advice. And he gives it freely even with his own difficulties. This Bill I know does it because he can and because he feels he must. And because he says "to hell with the system" I won't work for it. Its not the first time people have engaged in economic protest.

And it is almost definitely a possibility that Bill is not disabled either. Well not officially anyway. What he deals with behind the bureaucracy and recognition of official disability is another story. And he thus doesn't even get a disability cheque to eke out his existence (or "make it last") in any fashion he likes. It could be that he never has even applied-even though you mistakenly think he has. Or should. But mostly I think its probably because it creates more problems than it solves.

Maybe it is that Bill can't move continents-or cities-or provinces as easily as it sounds either. Social, legal and other economic factors stand in his way there too perhaps. Telling Bill that he should ignore the tyranny that oppresses him is a an acknowledgement that this tyranny can not be fought and that one must work within it to survive. Much like telling an occupied Dutchman in 1940-45 the same thing. Yet some still fought and died in terrible circumstances against impossible odds. They did it because they had to. Morally. Its also like telling Bill that living in occupied France in that same time period is not going to help him so he had best move to Vichy France and just get on with it.

Nothing is ever the way it seems to others who live on the fringe and on second-hand information. Sometimes people just don't want to understand Bill. They just know how they personally would do it-while never having experienced or understood what Bill has had to live through. Selective non participatory judgement. That is the easiest part of all for those who think Bill is a "user". Its so easy to say it. It makes Bill's critics feel good and celebrate their own good fortune and position at the expense of someone who now has to deal with criticisms and untruth from his own peers. Methinks Bill is not getting a fair shake.

I know I have stood in judgement of others before many times with people like Bill and I have so many times never really understood the life realities and the position. I have found myself wrong too many times now to ever criticise and make recommendation. Now it is that I will first stand in their shoes before I ever do that again. Bills story motivates me more.

"Jim"

[Jim is not his real name.  Although that response by "Jim" contained no sign-off line, I show the fictitious name here to make it easier to read what follows now. - WHS]

It must be mentioned that by commenting on my perceptions of "Bill's" circumstances, "Jim" is in reality writing about his perceptions about himself and about how my perceptions of "Bill's" circumstances don't match the self-image "Jim" has of himself.  My response to "Jim's" observations

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Posted 2003 12 17