by Jim Loose
Date: 8/3/02 4:44:39 PM Central Standard Time
From: Lacey Carey
To: Jim Loose
Okay, I'll agree it's hard to argue with a lot of what you're saying, except for one thing, and that's something that's got me worried about you and your daughter. I'm talking about the practicality of your crusade (I'm not going to put quote marks around the word, crusade, because that's what I think you're doing). And when you mentioned a hunger strike, you really scared me. Between talking with my lawyer, other friends, and my single appearance in court, I know that, just like you said, those judges are dictators in their courts. Your daughter needs you, Jim. What's going to happen if you give your judge the excuse she needs to take more of her time from you? Have you realllllllly stopped to think about that? I know how much you already miss her, and how much she misses you. Do you want to gamble with the little you time you have left? Can any crusade, no matter how important you think it is, really be worth that? Whatever you decide to do, you have my support. But I do hope you're really careful and prayerful about your decisions, because I think you're asking for trouble. And don't give me any more of this "Nuts have rights too" crap. What good would you be to your daughter if you made your point at the cost of her losing a father? You've given me all kinds of arguments about being rational and using my head. Well.......
Date: 8/4/02 5:07:31 AM Central Standard Time
From: Jim Loose
To: Lacey Carey
There's no need to yell, is there? Well, here I am before work, coffee at my desk, not awake, and I'm going to tackle your email from yesterday afternoon before I'm even able to obey your admonition to THINK. Maybe I really should have my head examined.
Your last email raised powerful questions. When you question whether or not I ought to accept the injustice of Gender Apartheid in my daughter's interest, you touch the core moral dilemma of the case. Let me explain why I'm taking the stand I'm taking. (Remember something: I'm not laboring to get into position to make the ultimate protest. I'm doing everything I can to avoid it. I'm simply willing, as a matter of conscience, to pay any price required of me. If our situation were reversed, wouldn't you?)
I strongly suspect that in the 1960s when Civil Rights activists were spending nights in jail, getting their heads beat in, and often ruining their practical lives in pursuit of justice, they were faced with the same kind of question you've offered me. It must have been tough for them to look at their sleeping children in their beds at night and have to face up to the question of whether they might be putting something ahead of the welfare of their children. I think what must have gotten them through is this: The supreme responsibility American parents have toward their children is to prepare them to live in a society governed by law that assures all Americans of equality. Therefore, the supreme legacy parents may leave their children is, if necessary, to fight any power that erodes equality for all Americans. Believing this, I'm confident that even if the worst happens, when my daughter is old enough to understand the principle involved here, she will be proud of the stand her father took to try to protect the society she will one day inherit. There are 26 two-week periods in a year. Under the Standard Possession schedule, in 22 of those I have custody of my daughter for two days. No conceivably honest notion of equality can square with this. A presumption of equal time of child custody is the only child custody schedule that doesn't render the term "equality" an empty formalism.
Once I carefully think through the problem all the way, I see this: a system that encourages literally the worst in human behavior. The worst? Yes. By effectively turning children into pawns to be moved around in a Family Court conflict, the system creates things like dead beat dads and ongoing conflict between ex-spouses. In a situation where that's the case, it takes saints to prevent bad outcomes -- and the law can't be written for saints. If Family Courts insist that we be saints in order to be parents, all our children will grow up orphans. When courts practice what amounts to a Judicial Jihad against men, practical fatherlessness is an unavoidable result. You said you know I'm a fine father. But I'm not. When I have custody two days out of every fourteen, I'm not a father. I'm Uncle Dad. My daughter is growing up fatherless. And there are endless studies that show that all kinds of terrible social statistics correlate most closely with one factor, fatherlessness. Roll back fatherlessness in this country and all kinds of adverse social problems will do a U-turn. Divorce is a tragedy between two adults that tends to diminish the judgment of each. As a society, therefore, we have to do everything we can to confine the tragedy and temporarily diminished judgment to the adults. We have to keep children out of the middle. The only way to keep children out of the middle is to TAKE THEM OFF THE TABLE. Judicially, we have to make the reasonable assumption that children love their parents equally, and we have to give full respect that love. Coupling that with a meaningful courtroom presumption of equality (guaranteed by the Constitution -- this is hardly radical, my friend) the law would presume equal custody and would properly put a high burden on anyone who wanted something different. Now, since their are very few women -- even hyperfeminists -- who, outside the crucible of a courtroom conflict, actually want to argue that women are innately better or more important parents than men, it follows that no winning argument for inequitable custody distribution exists. Once equity gets put into practice, courtroom conflict and post-divorce conflict will drop dramatically.
When I look across America I see millions of children and their fathers savaged by Gender Apartheid. I even see millions of women also savaged by a system that, serpent-like, whispers temptation into their ears to use their children against their husbands because they know there's a sense in which they can get away with it. Summing up all this injury, it's clear to me that the catastrophic, thoughtless unfairness of Gender Apartheid and the divorce industry it spawns is the worst social crime in American history.
In this context a last-resort hunger strike can be seen properly.
Putting in place the simple and obvious reforms that would help all those children, fathers and mothers is a mission worthy of whatever suffering might be required to bring it to pass. Just like Civil Rights. My mission isn't about me. It's not even about my daughter. If it was, I might knuckle under. My mission is about those suffering millions. Milton Friedman once wrote that in America the only tyranny is the status quo. While I doubt he ever went through a custody dispute, he has a point. America belongs to US. Those judges work for US. They succeed with their injustice only because they terrorize us and our children one at a time -- and have been doing it a long time. We'll stop them as soon as we pull together and say "enough." For the sake of our children and our nation's future, we have to stop them. If we don't, the future of America looks very much like the giant sociological experiment in fatherlessness that's been conducted over the last thirty years -- the ghetto. That's what's inevitable across our entire society if we don't make a stand.
Prediction: the stand will be made and it will succeed. When the Babyboom is in its 80s and 90s, our grandchildren will look back on today and say: "Whoa, wait a minute... Let me see if I'm understanding this. You're saying that back then when parents got divorced there was almost always something other than a 50/50 custody arrangement????" And gray-haired old Babyboomers will say "Yes." And that will seem as bizarre to our grandchildren as it now seems to us that in downtown Dallas 40 years ago black Americans legally couldn't drink out of the same water fountains as white Americans.
One day in 1955 a little lady named Rosa Parks said she wasn't giving up her seat...because her feet hurt. She didn't realize she was spawning the modern Civil Rights movement when she took her spontaneous stand. Understand -- what she did was illegal. But the law was wrong. She was right. And look what happened.
Gender Apartheid is wrong. My feet hurt.
All the best,
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