TBT: The Brutal Truth

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Perception Mismanagement I: Fathers' Rights

Out of 6 kids, I'm the youngest of two brothers and three sisters. I also have two half-brothers from my Dad's previous marriage in the 1950s. Since his ex-wife was a drunk and very abusive, my father gained custody of the two boys but the hardships of being on the road as a musician and boxer forced him to sign custody of them off to his parents. As for my immediate blood brothers and sisters, my eldest sister has never experianced divorce. On the contrary, she experianced the pain of being widowed without children -- her husband Allen had so much love for Darlene that he couldn't bare leaving her with kids that he knew he'd never be alive long enough to see graduate let alone raise. Having been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, Allen was well into living on borrowed time when he and Darlene married in the early 1990s. He died as peacefully as possible last year in a Las Vegas VA hospital. I often miss his phone calls for Allen's Jewish heritage and New Jersey accent interspersed with Army lingo made his rants and tirades against The Bush Administration a natural riot.

Darlene is my opposite - I've never been married but I have 5-year old daughter. As for my other two brothers and two sisters, each of them has experianced raising kids post divorce. In other words, I grew up witnessing both sides of the "Deadbeat Dad/Deadbeat Mom" syndrome. I've seen and heard just about every single solitary excuse imaginable from them ... and they hate to see me coming. Granted, they love me as all hell because I'm their "baby brother". Oh, but when the subject of divorce/child support rears up, they immediate hush up amongst themselves when I come around. I play no favorites, hold no quarter, and won't allow their excuses and appeals for being treated in a special manner to narrow the debate. As a result, I end up pissing them all off. I intend to do the same between the Fathers Rights and Womens Rights organizations with this "Perception Management" series.

My biggest crime was believing alot of the "politically correct" jargon trucked out of the mouths of politicians from both sides -- Republican and Democrat -- since the Reagan Era up until the Bush era of today and never really bothering to investigate their claims (along with those from the primarily conservative Fathers Rights and the liberal feminist Womens Rights camp) until it effected me personally when I came home from work one night a few years ago expecting to see my ex-fiance and my then 7 month-old daughter only to discover they were both gone. Upon noticing a number of things missing along with a few suit cases, I knew something was up. When my eyes turned to the computer and noticed the monitor was in Sleep Mode which I do not allow (my extensive knowledge of computers has concluded long ago that Sleep Mode drastically reduces the overall lifespan of a CRT-based computer monitor moreso than leaving it on with a screensaver and since I abhor wasting electricity, a monitor in my presence is turned completely off when not in use). I realized all my answers laid there and, within the hour, I had them. She and my daughter were gone from my daily life and never to return. It was a day I knew was coming but didn't expect it would come as soon as it did. More on that later.

Anyway, not investigating the system is something that I kick myself in the ass over because it always seems that people only seek true enlightenment when disaster has allready gone past knocking on their doors and instead barges in and starts tossing shit around, leaving you devasted with a shitload of questions. However, had I truly investigated the cottage industry that is the Child Support/Family Law system earlier, my daughter Gwen wouldn't exist today -- I'd have no doubt sworn off any illusions of ever getting married let alone having children. Truth be told, I'd probably still be a virgin today (perhaps a fucking monk) instead of traveling 600+ miles to Athens, GA to lose it back in 1998.

Snark at that all you want but I still look back at my 27 years of virginity with a sense of fondness because, although I had more than enough opportunities to lose it growing up as a 70s/80s child, I was able to witness what losing virginity had done to the crazy fuckers I hung around with. My male friends would always whine about "not having pussy since x ammount of days/weeks" and I would just marvel at how downright pathetic it made them sound. These whines and whimpers would always start whenever some hottie would pass through the mall entrance while we all sat playing Euchre in the food court (which happened about every 3 minutes):

Nate: "Damn! Check that bitch out, Mike!"
Lymon: "Oh ... my ... dick!"
Nate: "Mmmm-hmmm, that makes my balls ache."
Lymon: "Outta be a crime to look that good ..."
Nate: "You said it. Oh, my fuckin' dick."
Lymon: *suddenly gripping the table* "JAY, I GOTTA GET LAID, MAN!"
Me:: "I need you to call trump before I slip into a coma."
Nate: "Shaddap, Jay ... ya 24 year old virgin!"
Lymon: "Just wait till you get pussy. You'll understand ..."
Me (noting Lymon's white knuckles): "That's what I'm afraid of ..."

I saw this and thought what a sorry and pathetic way to live -- to be reduced to gripping a shopping mall table mewling like a wounded buffalo about the lack of pussy before a public audience? If that's what pussy does to a man, I'm going to avoid it for the time being. Sure as hell didn't want to turn into these fools ... and thank God, I didn't. My spur of the moment venture out to Athens was more along the lines of being tired of seeing the same four walls, the same fuckin' small town where everybody knows your name (and holds your ass to account to any ammount of rumors and innuendoes -- be they true or false), same old moronic but otherwise lovable friends, same family members and their grievances, etc. and I just had to get away for a while. It was more out of lonliness and wanting a change of scenery before the same-old same-old drove me bananas.

It's the feeling of being lonely and perhaps a sense of feeling betrayed on a multitude of levels that I believe fuels the rage within the Father's Rights camp more than anything. After reading some of the writings by Stephen Baskerville, Dr. Sanford Braver, and others on the subject, I can totally understand why: the Family Law, Divorce, and Child Support industry is indeed a cottage industry that allows nefarious for-profit corporations to walk hand-in-hand with the tons of crooked government bureacracies for the expressed purpose of what Baskerville calls, "... the greatest denial of civil rights since segregation: the arbitrary and groundless stealing of children from their fathers", and the only children that are really benefitting from this smarmy bastion of state-supported domestic terrorism are the ones that were fortunate enough to have been born by those whom enjoy continued gainful employment within these inhumane capitalistic companies and bourgeois bureacracies.

My own outrage doesn't end there. When my own research on the subject confirmed much of Baskerville's charges, I knew right then that the only way disenfranchised fathers would ever gain even the slightest hint of a sympathetic audience in this country was through the Conservative/Christian media and only because of (1) their penchant for employing repetitious opinionated pundits and (2) "political correctness" has literally gone mad in this country over the past 20 years. In everything, the truth is always in the middle. But rightwing "Patriotic Correctness" and leftwing "Political Correctness" (along with the dominion of Capitalism) has compromised how information is delivered to the American people by their constant jockeying to "work the refs" in exchange for being granted the dominant view without a single shred of opposition. Thus, the truth is buried. Now more than ever, the various right and left bastions of corporate mainstream media have refs that either come pre-worked or can work themselves into a lather after a few bodyslams in the boardroom by the CEO and the shareholders, alleviating the workload (perhaps even the purpose) of spindoctors.

Even the phrase "political correctness" goes to show just how much the American government and its citizens have shirked not only the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but have also crucified their brains in order to accomodate it. It's amazing and damning that nobody ever pulled an Edward R. Murrow and said, "Wait! How can it be both political and correct at the same time?!?" Not at all. Nevermind that shit -- logic, common sense, and critical analysis out and image, smoke, and mirrors in.

We've already seen the effect of rightwing "Patriotic Correctness" in action by the very craven assholes of the Republican Party and President Bush's minions -- a cavalcade of 101st Fighting Keyboardists that spent the last few years lambasting anyone that didn't kiss Dear Leader's Neo-Nazi ass as un-American and un-patriotic (sometimes to the point where they'd caterwaul for a public lynching under the charge of treason). But while Bush was nothing more than a relatively powerless jester to his Jebus-King, often boiling his subjects in Texas tea with the occassional fricasseed Christian constituent, leftwing "Political Correctness" was ruling the roost doing essentially the same thing, blowing cigar smoke up the collective twats of America.

Unfortunately, having languished with the gibbering fruitcakes of the Conservative/Fundy Fristian Press has done much to adle Baskerville's worldview, especially with articles like "Can Your Kids Be Given To 'Gay' Parents?" appearing in WingNutDaily where he blasts feminists, "no-fault" divorce, and the overall system if gay people adopt children that was stolen from families.

Granted, I have no love for the Dept. of Social Services and never have simply because of my firm belief that if it collects a government paycheck, it's not to be trusted. However, I also have no love for people who deliberately milk gays and lesbians castigating them as "second class citizens" because that's not America and it's a direct violation of their Constitutional "pursuit of happiness". So, Baskerville is full of shit here. If anything, the only reason why the U.S. Government does not allow legally married gay couples to adopt children is because of money -- since same-sex couples can't procreate, the U.S. government won't have children to milk for monetary or political hay. Thus, they have more cash, votes, and power to glean from unsuspecting Red-State Christian Fundamentalist voters and citizens by playing the ol' sexuality card in the context of adoption. The day gay marriage and gay adoption is legalized in every state (and that day will come eventually just like womens and minority rights did at the behest of the status-quo) will also be the day the Government will tell Fundamentalist Christianity to take a hike because our government goes where the votes, money, and power goes.

Because of Baskerville's penchant of appearing in the Conservative/Fundy Fristian media, I'm left with no alternative but to immediately suspect that a sizable portion of the Fathers Rights crowd are nothing more than embittered, feminist-loathing, anti-liberal, anti-abortion, anti-women fruitcakes whom to this very day seeth over everything Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks achieved in this country. This infantestial sense of unmitigated rage and betrayal has driven Christian fundamentalists ever since Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and the rest of our forefathers rejected not just the God of the Mayflower Pilgrams but every single God and Goddess imaginable since humankind has been able to devote consonants and vowels to them. Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, and the rest of the "Just Us Sunday" brigade are nothing more than modern-day Cotton Matther and Father Coughlin clones. But not all within the Fathers Rights crowd are Christian Fundamentalists -- they very well could be ordinary poor and middle-class independents and moderates whose sense of betrayal and rage is geared more towards the continued perpetuation of the lies and deceits that instigated the mess in the first and continue to instigate the mess.

If all the appropriate tomes in history detailing militant Roman imperialism and Victorian European Colonialsm isn't enough, Kimberly Blaker's fabulous "The Fundamentals Of Extremism: The Christian Right In America" illustrates a monumental multitude of examples on just how rotten and diabolical belligerent religious fundamentalism is to the minds of an otherwise independent thinker -- be they man, woman, or child. In that regard, rightwing Christian Fundamentalism offers no real difference between Islamic Fundamentalism, Jewish Fundamentalism, or even Capitalist Fundamentalism. They're all enculcated with their own sense of entitlement that brags that it's the only one to be favored; the only one worth center stage on the ol' soapbox; the only one to be the dominant faction -- all the dissenters be damned. That makes them all inheritly intolerant from bow to stern and the only harvest they should reap from the American people is reciprical intolerance.

It's in this very enculcation of dominance and entitlement that concerns me deeply about the true motives behind Baskerville's predominately rightwing conservative Christian fundamentalist audience for these are the very people that would love nothing more than to re-enslave their unholy dominion upon ever single snatch, cooz, cunt, clam, quim, slash, and gash that was responsible for whelping them upon Yahweh's great spinning disco ball here in the first place. Each time Baskerville is quoted in a thread at Freeperville, there's also no shortage of these very same people ranting and raving about "feminazis", "international bankers", "welfare-queens", niggers and spics (usually masked by code-phrases such as "those people", "WOGs", "Zogs" or "them kind") while the less deserving white people they ladle with the moniker "trailer-park trash" and all of their children also seem to get schlacked with the "leeches/parasites" smear. Nevermind Jesus loves His WOGs, ZOGs, dogs and frogs. Nevermind that Jesus loved his "those people" and his "them kind". Nevermind that Jesus died for "feminizis" and would hold supper with "trailer-park trash" just as He would with anyone.

Such a level of open hostility tells me that at least half of the Fathers Rights crowd are the very type of insensitive pro-life lads that would actually use Bible scripture (or The Belle Curve if the Bible wasn't nearby) to justify telling their female wives/lovers whom had a sudden miscarriage while on the toilet and pleads to have a funeral for the fetus through a mask of tears, "Ahm nawt spendin' $4,000 tah bury that lil' shit! Flush heem -- it's cheapah," and then turn around and use more scriptures to claim feminists and pro-choicers are "child-butchering canabals". Nevermind that the fetal carnage he just flushed down the hopper will travel through the miles of sewer piping and end up at the local Waste Water Treatment Facility -- the same place where everyones shit-water, piss-water, puke-water, dish-water, bath-water, sex-water, and toilet-water gets chlorinated, purified, and recycled back down the watermains, through his basement Brita filter, into the tap-water valve at the kitchen sink he stands at 5AM every morning filling the ass-end of his coffee-machine with the retractable spray hose, and eventually into his own canibalistic fetus-flushing gullet (whose the canabal now, assclown?)

That brings me to my biggest worry with independent minded disenfranchised fathers who flock to many Fathers Rights / Men's Rights websites, Stephen Baskerville, the Conservative/Christian media outlets that publish his works, and the Fundamentalist Christian alliance groups: consistancy and continuity in their presentations has never been one of their strong points and could very well be as paper thin as is the "official" dreck pumped out of the various government bureacracies, corporations with vested interests in shoring up those multimillion dollar contracts, and any of the potential feminist cliques that desire to keep the system the way it is, especially those cliques that don't have children, vow never to have children, never been around children for a great length of time, and have never been or don't plan on ever getting married but nevertheless pretend they're experts on marriage and children (but probably wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they ever discover taking a liking to marriage or motherhood one day). I consider these as "Fundamentalist Feminists" because they're not much different than those Religious Fundamentalists who aren't homosexual, never been homosexual, never been around homosexual people for a great length of time, don't fathom being homosexual anytime in the future but nevertheless pretend they're experts on homosexuality (but probably wouldn't know what to do with themselves once they discover they've been repressing their homosexuality all along). Also, looking for consistancy and continuity in religion has always been a hard task because one has to really go out of their way to find a religious person that still retains an independent mind. Same with some of the Mens Issues groups, Freepers, and AM talk radio pundits that pidgeonhole all feminists together when feminism has about a dozen or more flavors (as opposed to the 22,000+ denominations of Christianity)

In the end, Baskerville, Wallerstein, Stroup, Braver, and a score of others have given the Fathers Rights camp more than enough ammunition for their cause but I'm afraid they're gonna have to do the following 4 things before their grievances can be taken seriously by the majority of the people:

1) Lose Baskerville and the Wingnuts -- there was no reason for him to bring up the gay issue in the context of Neil and Heidi Howard. Homosexuality has nothing to do with their plight with DSS. None whatsoever. His bringing up the gay issue was just nothing more than a demogogic attempt to get the Christian Right to rattle their sabres because the homosexuals won Massachusetts over in the marriage department. Plus his smearing of feminism in general is too passe -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and other loudmouth rightwingers have completely worn out the "damned feminists" meme just as much as the equally loud leftwing feminists have worn out the "patriarchal" meme. After hearing and reading it for over decade or two, it's time for better material and when I hear it today, I immediate tune out. If you have beefs with feminists who are being dishonest, name them and provide incontrovertable evidence that (1) they're actually feminists and (2) they're lying out their asses. If you can do that, then don't bother mentioning feminists unless you're defending feminisms core values of total sexual equality from a politically moderate position.

2) Prepare to lose the Conservative media -- they might have brought you to the dance but don't go home with them. As the Bush Administration and the GOP rode in on giving lipservice to Christian fundamentalist "values" only to see the hypocracy of those values gain a new light as the various scandals and overall imcompetence brings them all down in a heap of flames, the backlash is going to be damning. You're allready part of that backlash by continued association with the Conservative/Christian media. The rights of fathers should be a politcally progressive human rights issue just like Charles Fourier argued the same on behalf of Women's Rights. Progressivism is where you ultimately belong ... and since our current "progressives" in Washington are so complacent they couldn't pour piss out of a boot (lifting it would be too much of an effort), assailing them on your grievances would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Dead fish, more or less. Look at how much they fold up like a brown recluse spider at Karl Rove? Nuff said.

3) Shut the fuck up about about "no-fault" divorce: Seriously. When a man marries a woman that's physically or verbally abusive to him and the children, "no-fault" divorce gets you out of that mess. It's your salvation. The same goes for when a woman marries a man that's physically and verbally abusive to her and the children. As far as I'm concerned (and as long I draw oxygen and/or retain the privilege of voting), "no-fault" divorce is here to stay. Why? Because I'm convinced "no-fault" divorce is not the problem (more on that in Part III of my series).

4) Ditch the "anti-abortion" rants: Father's Rights organizations are men -- an entire class of people guaranteed NEVER to have an abortion. Why? Because YOU'RE A DUDE! I believe men should voice no opinion on the matter of abortion and are incapable of ever accurately theorizing what it must be like to abort a fetus because men aren't the ones that go to abortion clinics and make that decision. I'm a dude. Abortion means nothing to me because of it. Why? Simple: I'm guaranteed never to have one. The only time men flock around an abortion clinic is to either (1) protest its existance, (2) acting as a respectable escort to his wife/daughter seeking an abortion for whatever reason (fairly rare -- got to really go out of your way to find a man that decent but his decency is predicated on whether or not "spousal rape/incest" is the reason their wife/daughter is seeking an abortion) or (3) blow the sonofabitch up.

With all this said, I now turn my attention to the Feminists/Women's Rights ...


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