a commentary by E. Manning, senior writer, family rights advocate and retired economist.
Times are tough for families in America. Stereotypes abound, especially toward men, popularly considered by many to be unfit to care for children. Men and a few women have become profound victims of the Welfare State frame-of-mind: victims of the State that claims justice for all.
The intense debate about “father’s rights” continues. Custody proceedings are often adversarial at best, accenting the worst in childish behavior on all fronts, even from judges. Cutting the rubbish, hurt feelings, immaturity and greed brings former mates for life into bare-knuckle fights over who is hurting the children. The fact of the matter is that the debate should be about “family rights.”
The systemic common attitude is that men are abusive, out of control and have little to offer. While men are demoted in rank and status even among their own children, they are expected to relinquish a third of their pay for the privilege of siring a child on the same money they made during the marriage in a dwindling economy. While the proliferation of rules abound, the reality is that there are no rules, only strife and abuse of the “law.” Husbands are often rooted out of the home by the wife with the expectation that life will somehow be better. That is rarely the case for either party. Vengeance is mine and high expectations rule the roost in the hope of controlling the system for personal advantage. This is the sole goal of many custodial parents.
Four years ago, a rash of violent killings erupted in Texas, committed by an unconnected group of hysterical men that had their lives and children mercilessly removed from them. One man killed his children. Another killed his wife, her new husband and a judge at the courthouse before turning the gun on himself. This is something that everyone, including the law, wants to forget. The law portends that men are fodder with little to say or do about their situation because the “law” is always right. Men don’t have rights except to support broken families.
Americans continue to be children of their own mistakes. It up to men and women to struggle and strain separately as they seek someone else to make the same mistakes with. They didn’t learn a thing from their first marriage. The finger of blame points odiously in all directions. No one and everyone is responsible at the same time in a bipolar rush for power that is encouraged by authority in the name of empowerment. Frustrated judges and ineffective law aren’t much better than bad behavior or murderous fits. There is no excuse for any of the evil that Americans actively support for the common good.
If family law is ever going to improve, the country has to stop demonizing men and women just because they are divorced. The government must get out of the business of breaking up the family in the name of children’s rights, a typical feminist ploy of the eighties. The old saying that it takes two to tango applies here. There is plenty of blame to go around when any relationship fails. Yet the court system claims to uphold the child without actually doing what it claims. The child suffers greatly in every way no matter how “good” or “capable” a single parent is. The reality is that the system encourages the blight to continue unabated as chaos continues to swallow the country. Parental alienation is rampant. No one is encouraged to get along. Life has become about the glory of the fight. The system has made it easy to bust up families in the name of convenience and political expedience, a system of social redistribution. The system has promoted selfish thinking that demotes the needs of everyone with the idea that times will somehow be better by selling-out.
~ E. Manning