This site is no longer moderated. Newer posts are at nymensactionnetwork.org and these posts have been moved there also.
While Republicans in NYS certainly talk a good game of supporting men, fathers, and families the talk is just that, cheap talk. Now that we have 20 years of grass roots lobbying hindsight NY MAN can safely say that NY Republicans have achieved nothing for Men, Fathers, Boys, and Families. That’s not to say the Democrats have been any better, indeed it seems both are an unholy alliance of big intrusive government career politicians who, at best, work to continue the system which is breaking families apart as it provides monetary rewards for them and at worst villify all men as guilty to champion a cause. And “deadbeat” and “abusive” men are an easy mark, even if placed with a broad brush upon men who don’t resemble the stereotyping.
We can see this bias in the posting of New York’s Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, once an upstate moderate Democrat who now holds the radical feminist “women are victims” party line as she maneuvers for a Presidential run in 2020. Also spouting the “Women’s Equality” agenda is current Governor, and also Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew Cuomo. One would think the NY Republicans would follow the National Republican platform and oppose the policies of the Democrats, yet Republican State Senator Kathy Marchionne and other Republican Senators voted for “pay equity” legislation, this opposite their national party platform. And now we see Brian Kolb, Republican Assembly Minority Leader putting forth a “I support these women victims” DV report, this just in time for his run at the Governorship which he has announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for.
The Duluth Model of Domestic Violence has been properly debunked yet time, and time again, yet we see politicians doubling down on the myths as they pander to the “women’s vote”; Domestic Violence is perpetrated by men against women for “power and control”, women need protection from abusive men and an Order of Protection (OOP) will prevent violence, and that false allegations of Domestic Violence are few and far between (Debunked here). And once again we see doubling down on the debunked Duluth Model and blatant political pandering for votes by Brian Kolb in the NYS Assembly Republican Minority Report on Domestic Violence. This report ignores male victims, false allegations victims , and undermines Constitutional protections for the innocent (a link to “PASK, Partner Abuse State of Knowledge, non biased research is here).
Apparently NYS Republican’s have forgotten politics 101, and that is don’t alienate your base. Although NY MAN is non partisan, the left wing of the Democratic Party has moved left, and in the process many moderate Democrats (which I was for over 20 years) switched to the Republican Party (which I did) as it was more in line with pro family policies, this more so in upstate NY (where I am) which until recently remained a Republic bastion. In fact it was the upstate and Long Island (Republican) control of the NYS Senate which balanced the overwhelming Democratic control of the NYS Assembly. The support for anti-male biased reports like this says to us male Republicans “I don’t support you” and one would certainly expect the same non support in return. (see “what party do I register in” at http://nymensactionnetwork.org/advocacy-get-active.shtml)
The balance between the two legislative houses meant that you needed a Democratic sponsor in the Assembly and a Republican Sponsor in the Senate with “same as” bills, and in fact the majority party in each house would not let the minority party to sign on as a supporter of one of their sponsored bills. This created a unique situation in that the minority members of either house were willing to put in “feel good” legislation, that is bills which they didn’t really support but did so to make a constituent happy, knowing it would never make it out of committee.
Brian Kolb is a sponsor of the Family Court Reform Act, a NY MAN supported bill of needed reform in NYS Matrimonial and Family Courts (which was carried by Republican Assemblyman Bob Prentis and before him Jay Dinga) and NY MAN was positioned to support his run for Governor, until the anti male DV minority report came out. Given his pandering for the women’s vote it appears his support of Fathers and Families and family court reform was nothing more than a feel good bill going no where to curry votes among men in his drive up the “NYS political ladder”? As such, unless and until retracted, NY MAN urges men, fathers, and families to NOT support Brian Kolb in his run for nomination to Governor on the Republican line or general election.
There is often discussion about which party will best represent the interests of men, boys, fathers, and families and unfortunately the answer is neither. The Democrats have moved to garner the women’s vote and to this end often follow the radical feminist agenda that men are bad and women victimized. But the Republican’s often treat men and boys at worst as “deadbeats” who shirk their responsibilities to society. Fortunately, both parties do have supporters of men, boys, fathers, and families in their ranks and it behooves us to work within both parties, and within ALL parties, to foster equality of opportunity and free choices in the pursuit of happiness for all individuals. What we don’t need is a politician of either party who panders to get our votes, only to switch positions for political expediency to further their own career later on.
Lt. James H. Hays (Ret.), Director NY MAN
When married, or co-parenting and child focused, parents try to spread the emotional equity around, that time the children get with you and extended family. Often it is Christmas Eve with one side of your immediate family, Christmas Day with the other, the “traditional” gathering spot for the occasion. But Christmas morning was the kids at home time, with tree and presents, up at 5am, kids with parents in tow, close up emotional equity for parents and child. Then the divorce (or separation) and the question is, “how do we divide the emotional equity?”.
Now “visitation” (parenting time) is reduced to a court order and a time frame, “the children will be with the father from 9am to 5 pm Christmas Day and the mother from 4pm to 12 pm on Christmas Eve in even years and inversely on odd years”. Punch a clock, move out kids, the court says so. For those that suffer the “custodial” parents move away the time together is even more limited by distance, perhaps every other year is your time. For the Alienated Parent the holidays heighten the sense of loss you feel each and every day of the year, no contact at all. Regardless of the parent-child status all separated parents will feel the absence and loss of the children to some degree, and so too the children.
For those fathers (or mothers) who are suffering with an alienating ex spouse you can expect them to use the emotional aspects of the holiday and their control of the children to cause turmoil. Baby Mama Drama, withholding access, bringing them late to disrupt your events, excessive gift giving, laying abandonment guilt on the kids, and the ever present bad mouthing are to be expected. The courts are closed and the police will do nothing to enforce an order for your time with your children. Many a disenfranchised dad has found himself standing alone, waiting, to no avail. If it has been occurring through the year, expect it at the holidays and prepare yourself.
It’s important to acknowledge the emotional difficulties the holidays bring on the separated family and to us individually as Fathers in them. For the sake of our children we need to stay child focused (regardless if the ex does or not) and try to make the holiday a normal father-child-family event. Don’t get dragged into the drama and turmoil. Focus on your time together and not on the time that you do not have. But when you are apart you need to focus on YOURSELF, including your emotional needs. The feelings of loss and grief to absent children are normal responses to your quickly changing circumstance, and like all of us fathers, you are having a normal response to the child absence and changing family life.
The APA has tips for handling holiday blues as does the Mayo Clinic who’s tips I find most relevant to the child absent parent. You can also do a search for advice which best helps your particular situation. Social media provides an outlet, the issues discussion page Friends of Protection For Men will be monitored by many and is a good place for us to discuss our issues that day. The stress of being a beat dead, dead broke, and disenfranchised dad weighs heavily on all of us going through this, know you are not alone. We discuss suicide prevention at the PFM Suicide Prevention site and if you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide you can reach out to the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or you can Text a counselor at 741741 (USA). Or search for a provider in your state or country.
From my perspective the best course of action is to stay connected and look to help another person in need. It is now the 20th anniversary for me since I last had my children on the holiday, and yes, I do still miss them. But I have worked to stay connected to those friends and family who care about me and I also look to find those beat dead, dead broke, disenfranchised dads who need a kind word of encouragement and a friend at a trying time in their life.
Indeed, this post is part of that outreach for I’ll put it on social media and check it on Christmas Eve and Day in case someone reaches out. I’m a retired police officer (US Army veteran also) and was part of our critical incident response team in addition to providing peer support and counseling to parents and families in crisis due to divorce and separation for over 20 years now and I can be reached at my e-mail if you wish to talk (note it will not be continually monitored and if in severe crisis use a manned hotline).
The important thing is to not suffer alone and in silence when the kids are gone. Volunteer your time with a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or veterans organization. Go to church, reach out to others, connect, rebuild family and family traditions anew. Do something with somebody. Remember, you are not alone and there are many of us in your circumstance, reach out if need be.
I’m not talking about his emotional response to the violation of his parental rights (full video here). My personal experience and 20+ years of father advocacy tells me what he is experiencing is a normal response to the trauma that he is enduring as I’ve seen it and done it. Where he needs to “man up” is recognizing the biases within the system and how he can best survive it. He also needs to face up to his contributions to the system which is now emotionally and financially eating him alive.
Tyrese laments “the uninvolved fathers has made it bad for the involved fathers because our voices are being someway, somehow drowned out”. He goes on about good and bad fathers and the system not being able to tell the difference. It is the myth of the deadbeat dad, a father uninvolved by choice, that this system is based upon. And “good men” holding the “bad men” accountable, turning bad into “responsible fathers” for children, myth’s which fuels the injustices. The system dupes the “good dad” into believing that it only goes after the “bad dads”. I can see Tyrese fell for it by his claim to be a good dad in a system that confuses him with the bad dads.
Here are some of the realities I give to every father who enters the system, most just like Tyrese, duped into thinking they are a good dad who was sucked into the system by mistake and if they just show they are a good father then it will be OK and they will be treated fair. First, recognize that you are the only one in the court room who has to defend yourself and justify your parental right and you are the only one who is PAYING while all the others are taking in when in court.
Hard reality #1 – your abilities as a father count for nothing. Hard reality #2 – Truth counts for nothing. Hard reality #3 – The best interests of your child count for nothing. Hard reality #4 – It IS about the money, your money going to others. Hard reality #5 – you have no rights – PERIOD. Hard reality #6 – Everything you say or do will be twisted and used against you. Hard reality #7 – ANY display of ANY emotion will be used against you. Hard reality #8 – You are viewed as a potential danger to your child and Ex. Hard reality #9 – Most everyone will believe you are guilty and abandon you. Hard reality #10 – you WILL suffer injustice, persecution, indignities, and assaults on your physical and mental health.
I expect that like most of us Tyrese is now figuring out his assumptions about “deadbeat dads” and a just family court working in the interest of a child are incorrect. Many fathers come into this system thinking that they can beat it with a good attorney, win on appeal, publicize their unjust case and to win and foster change, or connections or fame will protect them. They are wrong. The system knows the myth’s. It is designed to move your assets into the pockets of those within the system and will run until you are drained of finances. Nothing you can do will change the system while you are in it.
Tyrese case is the standard. First a filing and the mother gets “temporary custody, a “temporary order of protection” (TOP) based upon “being afraid”, and ” temporary child support” all without him getting his day in court to defend himself. She then makes allegations of violating the TOP for frivolous things like contacting your child or sending gifts. He is removed from contact with his child “pending a hearing” but when you go in the attorneys broker a deal for “supervised visitation”, a scant few hours a week with someone looking over your shoulder (which you pay for). You take it as something is better than nothing.
Being separated from your child takes a toll on you. Everything you do results in another filing in court and you have to respond. Attorneys fees (yours and hers most likely), child support, and lost income to handle the action are draining you of your assets. The system assaults you on a daily basis with no contact with your children and continuous filings and you bleed money you don’t have. Emotionally you are drained but if you show anger or grief (as Tyrese did) it is used against you in court (Tyrese had 4 deputies in court who patted him down in response to his video) and your friends and family make fun of you for being “emotionally unstable” (check youtube for the response to Tyrese).
Your ex is using the system to foster Parental Alienation between you and your child(ren) and the system is more than happy to oblige. Allegations against your ex are ignored (Tyrese ex texted she would cut off his fingers and he gets no TOP) and anything you do results in allegations you have to defend in court (Tyrese was dragged in for “following his ex” based upon a private investigator hired to monitor her activity). You are running out of money (Tyrese borrowed to pay attorneys) with no end in sight to the legal fees. The stress is so bad you end up physically ill (Tyrese ended up in the hospital with chest pains).
If you end up so physically or emotionally ill you can’t continue you’ll be accused of “giving up” and “abandoning your child” you’ll be the “deadbeat dad”. If you’re broke there is no assistance anywhere to help you in court and if you fall behind on your child support you’ll be put in jail. The system defines a “good father” by child support paid. Making money will take priority, even over spending time with your child, if the loss of money means jail. Fall behind or miss “visitation” and you’ll be the “deadbeat dad”. And should you grow tired of being a “visitor” for a scant few hours a week and not a parent, the child is moved away from you, or the mother just interferes with your time together and you can’t fight anymore, you’ll be the “deadbeat dad”. And the world will pass judgement on you.
Now you know, the “deadbeat” is actually a beat dead, dead broke, and disenfranchised dad.
I reprint my tips on managing your case below. They are online at NY MAN and our NY discussion group is here and the international discussion group here. You can find links and recommended reading here.
Jim Hays, Director NY MAN
MAN’s 15 IMPORTANT TIPS ON MANAGING YOUR CASE
You woke up one day and said “I must be in the twilight zone, this can’t happen in America”. Well, you ain’t in Kansas anymore Theodore, it does happen, on a daily basis (in KS too). And to make matters worse chances are that the “opposing party” (formerly the person you would have given your life to protect) wants the divorce, filed against you, and is way ahead on the preparation.
First thing you should realize, you are not alone. With a 50% divorce rate and one third our of wedlock birth rate chances are you are sitting next to a divorced/separated “non custodial” dad on the bus, at work, school, library or just walking down the street. Just begin to speak of your situation and the kindred Dads will open up and begin talking to you.
There are some fundamentally important things you can do to help yourself. First and foremost you have to recognize that YOU are responsible for your interactions with others including your ex, your children the Courts, whoever. Second you need to build a support network. We suggest a network of three. One family member, a mother, sister or brother, etc. who can go to ALL meetings you have regarding your children. Court, school conferences and public events you children are in. One friend who understands you and is willing to attend an event or come to court when your family person is unavailable. You can also discuss your emotions with them so you don’t explode later on. One FaFNY member (or a divorced Dad), a mentor from within the organization. Someone who has been through this before. You can do this through networking, phone calls, e-mails and by attending the meetings. You need someone who has been through the system to explain it to you.
Once your support base is set try the following suggestions:
1. “Manage” your outward emotions at ALL times. You can not afford an outward display of anger toward ANYONE, but most importantly towards your ex spouse. As one father put it “I’m the Buckingham Palace Guard when I’m relating to her”. Recognize they will try to make you act angry and argumentative. Don’t fall into the trap. Adhere to the Standard Conditions of Parental Behavior on this site.
2. Keep a DAILY diary or calendar. Cases often run months and even years. Recalling facts and events is difficult and made worse because of the stress. Write down all major points of your interactions with your ex, your kids and those involved in the case such as law guardians, etc. and include phone calls made and topic discussed.
3. Buy a digital recorder or a voice activated pocket recorder and phone microphone and record ALL conversations and contacts with your ex. False allegations are an accepted practice in family court and attorneys use them as leverage. YOU HAVE TO PROTECT YOURSELF. If you never suffer a false allegation you can destroy the tapes when your case is done. But in a He said, She said when the allegations are against you, YOU LOSE. Unless you have evidence to the contrary false allegations will be believed. (Speak with your attorney on the legality of recording conversations. Presently in New York State a person can record a conversation as long as they are physically a party to the conversation. Laws change, make sure you are up to date)
3. Make yourself “father of the year”. In the adversarial arena of family court there is a tendency to respond to attacks on your character with cross attacks on character. Instead of showing you should “get the kids because she is no good” show that you should get your kids because YOU ARE SO GOOD. Build yourself up, not tear her down. Carry photo’s and brag about your kids. Get your kids because your deserve them.
4. Know your kids! Learn everything there is to know about your children PERSONALLY. Learn all their sizes and tastes in clothes. Learn about their friends and what they really like to do. Know them as people. Even if you end up with limited parenting time you will be much better off having really learned who your children are.
5. Be involved in the major decisions in your child’s life! Know who their doctor is by name and location and talk to him about your child’s health issues. Be there when they get medical attention. Know who their extra curricular activity instructors are by name in music, dance, soccer or whatever. Attend games and events. Share information with your ex spouse, they are still a parent even though not your spouse.
6. Get involved in your child’s education! Meet with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor and let them know of your continued involvement in the child’s education. File the parental access form (FERPA) with your child’s school but bring it in in person and ask that it be kept on file. Be aware of who is listed on the emergency release card and that the contact numbers are up to date. Explain the current situation to school personnel so that they are aware of the family dissolution as it affects your kids. JOIN THE PTA. Attend school (and school board) meetings and events.
7. Don’t be a Disneyland Dad. Having limited time with your children can often result in a child-parent relationship based on “we have to do something fun”, McDonalds and a movie! But this is not a natural parental role. REMEMBER YOU ARE STILL A PARENT! Act like it. Time together should be spent on normal family functions. Weekday evenings should be homework and dinner at HOME (the one they are currently at!). Do these family things together. Keep normal routines regardless of the parent in charge at the time. Spend weekends at normal family events and gatherings. Remember their religious upbringing consistent with what was done before the divorce.
8. Allow your child to express his or her emotions openly and freely. No child asks for divorce. They are truly the innocent party that has to suffer the consequences of another’s decision. Let your child express their emotions as they need to and DON”T BE JUDGEMENTAL. They want and need security, not blame. Listen. Listen. Listen.
9. Respect the other parent! Absolutely no bad mouthing of the other parent should occur. This destroys your child’s self esteem no matter which parent is “bad”. This goes for extended family, friends and the children themselves. If someone bad mouths your ex-spouse in front of you stand up for your child’s parent. You are not supporting your spouse, you are supporting the parent of your child (and thereby the child them self).
10. Nurture your child’s relationship with their family. Not only your extended family but BOTH branches of the tree. On father’s day call BOTH Grandfathers and wish them a happy father’s day. Same for mother’s day. Aunts and uncles, cousins etc. are important to the child too. Allow open contact with the other parent and all of the extended family when you are exercising your parenting time.
11. Think outside the box. Being “non custodial” means limited time with your children. You can increase your time by thinking outside of the limitations placed on you. Attend all public events your child is in. All sporting events and presentations. Volunteer to chaperone on school and church filed trips. Volunteer to be a reading parent at your child’s school. By being involved you gain time outside the court order and the limitations imposed there.
12. In Court, once you agree to it you can’t take it back. Never, EVER stipulate to ANYTHING on the record. It will get twisted around and come back to bite you. If you are unsure or confused, say so. You can agree to something in principle and ASK THAT IT BE REDUCED TO WRITING SO YOU CAN READ IT BEFORE SIGNING. If you don’t like something OBJECT TO IT.
13. Understand the terminology and what you are agreeing to. Vague references such as “such further visitation times as the parties agree” are unenforceable. “Joint custody with primary physical possession with the mother” really means she is the custodial parent and you are the non custodial parent. Make sure dates and times are specific. A statement “Christmas in even years with the father from 10:00PM Christmas eve to 8:00PM Christmas night” is enforceable and is better than “the father shall have the child every other Christmas” which is unenforceable.
14. Think Ahead!!!! You are going to be in this system until your child reaches 21 years of age. Think ahead about who will pay for college and which college. Will you spouse try to move your children away from you when she meets a new boyfriend? Ask yourself, “What can happen in the future to keep me away from my children and what can I do to prevent it from happening”.
15. Ask yourself, “Can I accept this definition of fatherhood” and “At what price is my fatherhood”? Many people enter into agreements without asking themselves these two questions. If the definition of fatherhood handed to you doesn’t meet your expectations your parental role will fade over time. Also if the price to exercise your fatherhood is to high you won’t be able to do so. If you have to work 60 hours a week to pay the support you won’t have time to be with your children if you have them say 40% of the time. If you are abused by your spouse or arrested under false allegations of abuse when you try to get your kids the price of fatherhood will eventually, emotionally and financially, be to high for you to continue. If your spouse slams the door in your face when you come to get your children will you have the energy and stamina to keep taking her back to a court that really doesn’t care about your parental time with your children?
Being a separated parent takes work. But it is the most rewarding thing that you can do. Stay at it. Don’t give up. The better the job you do in the beginning the easier it will be towards the end.
A case study of the perverse correlation between child support and parental love of a child disenfranchised and alienated from a parent paying child support.
New York State requires child support to be paid until 21 unless the child is emancipated after they are 18 (marriage, in the military, working full time, etc.). And so when my youngest child (of 2) quit college and started working full time I looked forward to finally get out from under what I consider an extorted child excise tax. What I wasn’t ready for was the emotional response by my child akin to abandonment of her. It was plainly clear that she had developed a view that child support paid equaled parental love, and removal of child support was removal of this love. I relate this example here in the hopes that it prepares others for the day they also file and get the resulting emotional backlash.
I had lost a 3 year custody battle in 1997 which left me bankrupt, in debt, and under an order of protection based upon false allegations made when I tried to gain access to my children which if violated would result in me being charged with a felony and losing my job (beat dead, dead broke, disenfranchised). As there is no access enforcement in NYS I informed my ex that she could deliver the children whenever she wanted but her profanity laced long winded “no” and her actions to keep me from my children for 3 years prior let me know that I was to be fully alienated from my children. Additionally I was garnished at 65% of my gross salary for the next ten years to “support” children I was forced away from.
The child excise tax (see the “Ten Myth’s of Child Support”) to my ex was set at 25% of my income (standard NY order). And like most orders, there was no mention of payments for college expenses. NY Courts have used the standard State University Rates to set payment levels with both parents paying a prorated share based upon their income. My older child came of college age and was attending but I was surprised to not be dragged back into support court. She had finished college by the time my youngest turned 18 and started at community college.
The order setting my child “support” was now many years old and over the years my income had increased and by the time my oldest started college the 17% for one child would have been higher than the 25% for two at my lower salary and so I never filed to emancipate my oldest. It is the dirty little secret of “child support” that if college is attended the custodial parent will lose payments while the child is staying at college and also now have to pay part of the tuition, room, and board. So it is in the custodial parents interest to have the child living at home so they can continue to get the child support for themselves and not have to contribute towards college. After one year of community college my youngest stopped college and went to work full time and here was my opportunity to get out from under the system.
I filed my emancipation petition which listed both children but as the oldest was over 21 it was a given. The Judge could have simply asked my ex and youngest of her status and ruled to emancipate but instead he put it on for a hearing date some 9 months down the road. I had filed Pro Se but now hired an attorney as I could see the fiasco of a hearing gone wrong and a bad ruling which would cause me to have to appeal. This was a real fear as the Judge was a political hack who was the most overturned NYS Family Court Judge and who resigned his position to escape judicial review.
On the hearing date it would have been easy for the judge to go on the record to ascertain if my youngest was working full time and my petition valid. Instead he allowed a hearing and as my ex was Pro Se he allowed her and my daughter to question me. And it was through this process that I saw the emotional damage that was done to my daughter by a system which only values a fathers financial contribution. Is it any wonder that a child brought up in a system which devalues time and personal connection between a father and a child results in a child which yearns so for their fathers love that they correlate a check as love?
I sat in the witness chair and got the third degree from my own child. I’m sure the sharp tongue of the alienating parent had set the focus of blame onto me. Why are you emancipating me but you didn’t emancipate my sister? Why are you emancipating me now? Lost on her was the father-daughter relationship had been reduced to an adversarial legal relationship. Lost on her was it wasn’t about her, it was about obtaining my freedom. Lost on the entire system is the fact that if she came to me and said, “Dad, I need some financial help with college” I would have given it to her. Lost was the fact that if she came to me looking for room and board I would open my door and care for her. The system and alienation of a parent is so complete that the perverse response is to force the parent to pay, and then blame them when they don’t want to. To take by force that which would be given freely.
And so for me the emancipation ruling was bitter sweet for to escape the yoke of injustice I had been under these many years I had to endure the emotional assault upon my daughter. I can’t help but be sad, and very mad, at a system and a parent which causes so much emotional pain to a child. The Judge made sure that I paid right to the end as his ruling was emancipation from the date of the hearing, not the date of petition filing as required by law. One last unjust act done with a “feel free to appeal” given over the attorneys objections.
Many studies correlate the lack of parental contact with increased health risks and the power of touching, physical proximity also counts. Forcing one parent out of a child’s life is certainly a form of child abuse, one which the “child protective” systems do not look at. Indeed, if mental health experts were looking to intervene in at risk families and children they would first look at a system which routinely removes and marginalizes one parent, usually the father. Lacking a fathers love and touch, the child holds dearly to any connection. Those parents who have been marginalized and seek to financially emancipate their children need to be aware that the child may have an emotional attachment to the money and that your attempts to free yourself from an unjust system could result in the child construing it as an act against them.
At a recent American Psychological Association (APA) convention the topic of loneliness, and how it impact health was discussed. Dr. Keith Ablow writes about it on Fox news lamenting “we still don’t have a plan to reduce it”. In the article he points to social media as increasing loneliness in America. Emma Sepala, Ph.D. tells us it is the American Protestant work ethic and drive to get ahead. But both the work ethic and media (newspapers, books, long travel times) have been with us in the U.S. for 300 years. And what explains the rest of the world?
Here I think they miss the point entirely. We have throughout time always had distractions from close physical social interactions with others and a Protestant work ethic in America but what is different now is misandry and the removal of fathers from families. The demonization of men has impacted how men interact to form families and interact within families, specifically the nuclear family of husband (father), wife (mother) and children and how these families interact with other families and the extended family is the change which has occurred in industrial societies and worldwide these past 40 years.
The government regulated family based upon the misandric common portrayal of men as deadbeats at best, and the demonization of men as dangerous at worst is resulting in policies which are destroying parental rights, individual rights, and tearing families apart, and harming men, women, and children in the process. These government family regulatory policies have resulted in a 50% divorce rate, 1/3 out of wedlock birth rate, and 40% of children living apart from their father. And now a generation of this has fostered young people averse to getting married or having children and if they do so are doing it later in life, often with children born outside of marriage.
In 1970, and for 300 years before that, it was recognized that the nuclear family was the building block of a strong society and beneficial to men, women, and children. A 6% rate of children living in a home absent their father and a divorce rate of 5-8% in 1970 was considered high and cause for worry. It was societies expectation that both husband and wife would get, and stay together, to have children (and siblings to have the same biological parents) and to raise them. Marriage was a contract between 2 people not to be broken without cause. Parental rights were fundamental rights which would not be interfered with absent applying the legal standard of strict scrutiny. Parents, both parents, knew best how to raise their children. No school, court, or state welfare agency would think to tell parents how to parent nor to designate one a “non parent” without a showing of harm to the children.
The 1970’s saw first the “war on poverty” which was the beginning of government subsidized single mother homes. As government subsidized them they grew in number and to fill the federal coffers for expenditures to “single mothers” the government built a federal child excise tax system on “non custodial” fathers giving it the government double speak name of “child support”. These systems followed historical sex based parenting patterns of the mothers having custody of children and receiving subsidies based upon the number of children she had and the father being charged a percentage of income based upon the number of children assessed to him, an excise tax. Worse, the financial contributions were separated from child access for “non custodial” fathers. These systems, originally designed for out of wedlock families with children were over time, 1970’s-80’s, applied to ALL families.
With out of wedlock, divorced, and separated single mother homes being subsidized we saw a increase in both out of wedlock births and divorced families with children. Who needs a husband if the government will provide. Add to this a system which based itself on women having custody of children and men paying the government for the children we end up with a government system which defined men’s value only as what they could pay for a family which they were not allowed to be a part of. Historically a fathers responsibility to provide for his family financially was balanced by his right to parent and raise his children in the same home as wife and child. Government collects the “child support” a father paid, but does nothing to preserve his parental rights. A father taxation without parental representation.
As divorces increased the difficulty in obtaining one was seen as a “problem”. Pushed by Bar Associations, enter “no fault” divorce. Previously we needed cause to break the marital contract (such as adultery or abandonment) but now we were going to allow divorce based upon one party desiring to terminate the contract. Called “no fault” they were actually a unilateral divorce against the wishes of one of the parties. In the 1990’s studies showed that it was women who filed the majority of divorces (about 80%) and the number one reason given for the divorce was “we grew apart”, in other words a divorce of convenience by women to the detriment of men and children became the norm.
During this time special interest feminist groups were looking for funding sources. Using the unproven and unchallenged feminist theory of a “patriarchal” system pushed on college campuses in “women’s studies” programs, they seized upon battered and abused women at the hands of men as an issue and the domestic violence industry was born. What was originally designed as a shield against physical violence against women in families was turned into a sword to be used by unscrupulous women to gain power and control over men and curry standing in the increasing divorce, child “support” and custody battles. “Temporary” Orders of Protection (TOP) based upon unsubstantiated ex parte statements to a judge, with no regard to perjury, became the norm.
In law enforcement, prosecutor, and judicial systems, biased enforcement of allegations and reports, with the view of men as perpetrators and women as victims, became the norm even in casual dating relationships. A woman’s allegations are always believed and a man’s dismissed. Mandatory arrest took away law enforcement’s discretion to arrest or not. Mandatory prosecution took away a district attorney’s discretion, and legal mandate, to NOT prosecute a case which can not be proven. Mutual aggression was dismissed as being the man’s fault under “primary aggressor” statutes. In cases of blatant assaults on men by women “abuse excuse” and “female impunity” is applied and actions by women which would result in arrest of a man were dismissed with a warning.
Police, prosecutors, and judges are not trained by legal experts in the tradition of Blackstone, but by “domestic violence experts”, often a minimally trained worker in a “battered women’s shelter” who spouts dogma as fact. Act of abuse, even minor ones, are lumped together with “violence” and protections for the innocent are thrown out under the guise of “protecting women”. Innocent until proven guilty is now guilty until you prove your innocence. Men are charged with felonies and high misdemeanors which carry sentences of years in prison, and then offered minor fines and TOP’s if they admit their guilt, thus undermining the system for innocent men.
Feminist rhetoric of “men are bad” is forced on boys in our public education system. Systems are designed to reward girls and how they learn and boys are lined up and medicated for “A.D.D.” when they act like boys do. Boys are falling behind at all levels within our education system yet we have no “White House Council” to address the issues like we do for girls. The boy crisis in education has gotten so bad that 65% of all college graduates are female and many colleges are looking to try to lure men to attend as girls complain of the lack of available boys. “Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider” and we turn a blind eye to this sexist biased bullying of boys.
Predatory act of abuse by female pedophiles (often by a teacher or trusted woman in a position of authority) are dismissed with the “lucky stud” myth that “boys want it”. Abuse excuse is applied to the actions of the female (she was abused herself, she’s lonely, etc.) and when she is charged with a crime she is given female impunity in sentencing, often given time served or probation and not having to plea to a sex offense nor be listed on sexual offender registries. By definition we don’t consider force able compulsion of sex by a female on a male as rape. There are no counseling centers for female on male rape and sexual abuse victims. Sexual abuse of institutionalized delinquent boys at the hands of female counselors and guards occurs on a regular basis and there is no hue and cry to address it.
We consider a drunk woman as incapacitated and unable to consent to sex with no similar protection for men and don’t allow a man to claim drunkenness as a defense of sexual assault. Drunk women get protection, drunk men get prosecuted. We readily believe allegations of rape by a female and dismiss a defense of consensual, even when it is a “he said-she said” case and the allegations of abuse occur days, weeks, or months later. Again, defenses for the innocent do not exist when allegations are against men.
Woman can, and do, lie about their reproductive status. Even though perpetrating a fraud we hold men financially accountable for children they did not want. Even when a woman steals his sperm a man is held accountable for the child, in NYS the high court ruling that a “man’s right to reproduction ends at ejaculation”. Once on the hook and named the father of a child we hold the man financially responsible even if DNA results show the man to not be the father. Another instance of a fraud perpetrated on men by women with no accountability for the actions.
The social interactions between men and women and social institutions have gotten so hostile to men that they are avoiding them wholesale. At first it was risk aversion, now it is a conscious decision to NOT enter into a situation where you will be judged and risk life, limb, and property. A generation of men watched their grand fathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, and friends get cleaned out financially, removed from their homes, their family and their children, arrested and persecuted, abandoned. Young men learned from their example. Indeed it is now so hostile that many men espouse “M.G.T.O.W. – Men going Their Own Way, no committing to spouse and children due to the risk involved.
The Myth of the “deadbeat dad” was debunked in the 1990’s with federal studies (see Sanford Bravers “Divorced dads: Shattering the Myth’s). Studies over time have shown that women are as violent as men and the hidden problem within families is those with mutual violence or male victims, which are ignored. The problem of female pedohiles is flat out ignored due to the “Lucky Stud” myth and female impunity in criminal prosecutions and in sentencing. Drunken and stoned consensual sex and tawdry behavior which is later regretted results in him being arrested and her treated the victim. In all these instances we blame men, arrest men, prosecute men, vilify men, ostracize men, and incarcerate men.
When men avoid the dangerous minefield of relationships we look to men as the problem. We have “responsible fatherhood” programs which purport to teach men how to responsibly pay for children they are not allowed to raise. We look to see what is wrong with men who don’t want to get married. We wonder what is wrong with young men without families who seem happy to sit in mom’s basement and play video games all day. We wonder what is wrong with young men who look to crime, gangs, and drugs and make our communities unsafe and try to get “mentoring” programs. We look to find “father figures” for the boys who are growing up missing “male role models”.
Men are good. Men are not the problem. Men are not a problem. Recognize this and we can then begin to address the misandric anti-male policies of the past 40 years. If we address the hostile environments that men have to face we need do no more than remove the barriers and men will do the rest. (link to men’s/boy’s issues here)
If Ablow, Sepala and others in the APA want to address the underlying causes of loneliness, in addition to a myriad of other problems in America, perhaps they would look to debunk the myth of the patriarchy and abusive bad men and the anti family government policies (listed above) which have been developed based upon these myths. And debunk the myth that men and women are the same and their differences “socialized into a gender” and recognize it it the differences and strength’s of men and women which fosters a strong family for the benefit of all. And they need to recognize it is these policies which are hostile to men which are the problem, and stop blaming men for the hostile environment they now have to navigate in.
In the Hank Williams, Sr. classic, “I’m so lonesome I could cry” we get to the end of the ballad before we learn he is lonesome as he pines for another, lamenting, he “wonders where you are”. “You” isn’t stated clearly but it is apparent that the loneliness will go when they are together again. It’s not hard to imagine that he is apart due to work to provide for his family and it is his family which will solve his loneliness. And it is not hard to imagine that without their husband/father they are also lonely. Is anyone lonely when they have a family to come home to?
The movie Megan Leavey opens in theaters June 9 but as former military and an AT&T subscriber I was invited to an early screening of the movie on May 30 for free to mark National Military Appreciation Month. In addition to being a U.S. Army Veteran (76-79) I was also an Army Brat to a career (43-70) US Army E.O.D. (Explosives Ordinance for non military) and am a dog lover also, so a movie about a bomb sniffing dog caught my attention as I was watching the trailers, announcements, and snippets of the plot line leading up to release.
I’m looking forward to it until I get a preview trailer which contains an interview with a male in the film where he says how wonderful it was to work on a film “with so many women” with “wonderful energy” (a women overcoming bias film, I’m sure). The Director goes on to say there are many war films depicting male marines and few with women. And this is where I go I go DUH. Since the first Gulf War 97% of combat deaths and casualties have been men and they compose over 90% of US Veterans. And previously men fought all wars with very few female combatants. Ironically I posted a piece about female specific services and the lack of MALE specific services in my memorial Day piece, “Do we support our troops”. Now I’m thinking I’m headed to a PC “women overcoming adversity and hostile men” piece of work.
I was pleasantly surprised as I found the movie to be a nice piece of linear story telling which wasn’t in any form preachy or judgemental. The movie opens to a young person (who just happens to be a female), from divorced parents, who is coming of age and wondering what to do with her life. Deciding to enlist in the Marines she carries her bad habits with her until she finds the canine program, and this is where we meet the dog, “Rex”. Here she encounters the reality of life, to achieve (anything) requires setting goals and objectives and a commitment to succeed.
We follow her to her deployment in a war zone, having to face the unknown. She has the “what did I get myself into” and “I’m not ready for this” thoughts that I’m sure every young person has when they first start to make their own decisions for themselves, then have to either suffer the consequences or reap the rewards of their decisions. Here again the movie isn’t preachy but sticks to the story line presenting issues as the normal course of life.
The story line continues to post deployment where Leavey tries to arrange to have Rex evaluated to allow her to adopt him when he is no longer being used by the military. Again there is no preaching and the story line shows all perspectives in why things are being done the way they are. There is no glossing over the challenges she has to face, nor is there a demonization of the people who make decisions counter to her wishes.
I found the story line believable. The interactions of her and her family showed the stresses divorce play upon children and the and the actions and dialogue of parents believable. The training and conduct of the military personnel was also believable, as were the war scenes, which showed the dangers of military deployment without being overly graphic. The dangers, and rewards, of military service were portrayed factually.
If you are looking for a movie which speaks to the issue of women in the draft, women in combat, or the downtrodden female overcoming patriarchal adversity, this isn’t it so if you’re looking for a PC movie – stay home. Also, it isn’t a “blockbuster” nor is it set to be a classic cleaning up the Oscars. It is a nice little film with a good story line which you can take your teenagers to, enjoy together, and maybe open up some discussion about life itself and their decisions for their future. If you are looking for a good coming of age war story with a dog as the co-star, this is it. And if nothing else, you have to like the dog.
Megan Leavey Opens in theaters today, June 9, 2017. More on “Rotten Tomato” here.
And at the end of the movie I say … and 4 of 5 stars.
A common phrase which I hear a lot these days is “I support our troops”. Good. Regardless of personal political opinions we should recognize the sacrifice of the individual in the military who defends our freedoms here at home. I expect “Troops” conjures up images in our mind such as the one below and others which can be found on the Department of Defense Web site of our Troops working towards goals and objectives to keep us safe. Who wouldn’t support these fine young people sacrificing for our benefit. Thank you for your service.
While it is important that we support our troops while on active duty our responsibility to support them doesn’t end there, it continues after they return home. Unfortunately my experience as a father and family rights activist, Army Brat and Veteran, and member of the Critical Incident Management Team with a NYS law enforcement agency tell me that what we say is far different than what we do when we talk of supporting our veterans, more specifically our MALE Veterans.
A big part of the problem as I see it is men are treated at best as disposable members of society and at worst as perpetrators of violence and abuse who we need to protect society from. This bias against men works to foster the public perception that men don’t need any assistance with issues related to their service or due to their being males and in addition it is working to hinder men seeking the assistance they need by not providing male specific outreach and services. We see this in the lack of programs and services directed towards the specific issues that men face, ignoring their problems.
First the stats: Since the first Gulf War 97% of combat deaths and casualties have been men and they compose over 90% of US Veterans. 90% of homeless people are men and a large portion of that are veterans. 80% of suicides are men, and a large portion of them are also veterans. In 2016 males accounted for 86% of active duty enlisted personnel and 84.7% of officers. If we look at longevity as a measure of overall health we find men have a life expectancy (76.2 years) 4.9 years younger than females (81.2 years). White females life expectancy (81.4 years) eclipses black females (78.4 years), white males (76.7 years), and white females life expectancy is a whopping 14.1 years over black men (72.3 years). It’s clear that there are many issues related to men which result in negative outcomes evidenced by life expectancy.
I go to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website under “Health” and “Conditions and Treatment” I find a link to “WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES” which brings me to the “Office of Women’s Health Services” which links to a study to determine female veterans barriers to receiving care. Even though men account for 85% of veterans there is no male (men) specific link to resources designed towards the needs of men. A search of “America’s Male Veterans” returns hits to “Women’s health Issues”! There is lacking any link to male specific health issues (showing the value the VA places on men), and there is no reference to male specific health issues available (showing the health field’s lack of attention to men)! The links to “women’s healthcare” include “comprehensive primary care”, “reproductive health”, “child care”, “domestic violence”, “culture change”, and “Special Groups” which is “homeless female veterans”. Which leads me to ask, DON’T MEN HAVE MALE SPECIFIC ISSUES IN THESE SAME CATEGORIES?
The VA classifies sexual assault and sexual harassment under the heading “Military Sexual Trauma” (MST) and when I look at the issue as portrayed by the VA I see “1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men REPORT a history to the VA during screenings”. For those of us who deal with male victims of domestic abuse, harassment, and sexual assault we understand the number one problem with male victims is their reluctance to report! It is only when I dig through the materials do I find that almost HALF the victims in the program for MST are MALE! One can only wonder, given the lack of male specific referrals and information, how many men are suffering in silence?
Usually when I author one of these truthful perspectives about the lack of male specific services I receive a ton of responses about being “anti-female”, to the point that I now include the (obvious) disclaimer that I am NOT promoting a reduction in services for females and/or female Veterans. Indeed, to treat female Veterans like we now treat male Veterans woulds still be mistreating A VETERAN. The VA (and US) should treat all Veterans equally based upon their individual needs understanding that their sex, race, religion, and national origin may require different outreaches and programs to achieve an equal outcome. Veterans are not widgets, all the same, they are real people who have sacrificed for all of us and they deserve individual attention to their needs.
Men account for the vast majority of the homeless and the bulk of those men are MALE VETERAN’S. Men account for the bulk of suicides and many of those are MALE VETERAN’S. You can’t treat men as disposable members of society who don’t have male specific issues which require services and programs and then say “I support our Veteran’s” as the bulk of Veteran’s are MEN. Disregarding the health issues of men is to disregard the health issues of Veteran’s.
If you would like to advocate for Veterans (feel free to cut and paste or send the link to this article) you can reach the VA here https://www.va.gov/landing2_contact.htm, and the White House is here https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact, The US Secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs can be found here https://www.defense.gov/Resources/Contact-DoD/
They stood up for us, we should stand up for them.
When we memorialize those who gave all, in perspective http://prospect.org/article/american-war-dead-numbers the vast majority are men, and it is an issue for our younger generation that men still have to register for the draft (under penalty) and women don’t https://nymensactionnetwork.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/welcome-to-adulthood-gen-z-advice-for-boys-aging-into-men/.
Equal rights, equal responsibilities, equal access to services.
May 4, 2017
Secretary Betsy DeVos
U.S. Dept. of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington DC 20209
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am writing to encourage you to rescind the Dear Colleague letter of 2011 which unnecessarily interfered with local control of Colleges and Universities and additionally has resulted in a biased system of one sided enforcement of a class of individuals (men) without regard for due process. Worse, the systems in place due to the letter have begun to persecute victims of sexual assault.
The recent case of a male Amherst student who was himself the victim of a sexual assault serves as an example of a victim being punished (http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/11/amherst-student-was-expelled-for-rape-bu). Even those who have done nothing but engage in consensual sex have been caught up in the hysteria (http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/27/interview-student-expelled-for-rape-even). I believe there are hundreds of lawsuits against Colleges and Universities by men denied due process, and the number is increasing daily. It is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system that you are innocent until proven guilty in a competent court and given due process. Shamefully this has been thrown out at our Colleges and Universities at the insistence of your Agency and under threat of financial penalty for non compliance.
Worse, the policies have done nothing to make the campus safer for women, or men, who are victimized by rape or sexual abuse. Indeed, removing the investigations of these incidents from the police and district attorneys who have the knowledge and resources to investigate and prosecute the incident into a college administration which has no resources to this end will certainly result in felonious acts being treated along the lines of violations of campus rules. As a recently retired 34 year police officer, 2 1/2 years of which were as a NYS University Police Officer, I can tell you that in no instance I am aware has a complaint not been fully investigated within the bounds of criminal law and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The “1 in 5” study which drove the “affirmative consent” provisions has been widely debunked (http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/ten-myths/) and the knee jerk reaction to “the sky is falling”, affirmative consent, has also been widely criticized (http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/affirmative-consent/). The illegal and unnecessary federalization of campus rape investigations is being pushed even further into the unconstitutional realm by such ludicrous legislation such as the “Campus Accountability and Safety Act” (http://reason.com/blog/2017/04/24/campus-accountability-and-safety-act). It is time to get the federal government out of business which is reserved to the states.
These policies, fostered by your Agency, have removed the presumption of innocence for men and denies them due process. It infantilizes women as being incapable while portraying all men as licentious lechers. It elevates minor sexual activity and later regret to the level of Rape. It is simple to see that if we treat a man and a woman engaged in the same actions as different we are denying them the Constitutionally protected right as an individual to be equally protected by law. It is simply wrong to treat people this way.
We should not condone rape or sexual assault regardless of the sex of the victim. And certainly there are incidents where where an offending party escapes criminal prosecution. But Blackstone’s formulation (and Genesis 18:23) tells us it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer. This tenet of American Common Law has been thrown out by this policy, as has the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Worse, as the innocent are persecuted there is not on iota of evidence that these policies have done anything towards reducing the incidence of sexual assault on our campuses (which I believe stands at about an unacceptable 1 in 100, not 1 in 5). Might I suggest we put this energy into teaching our young men and women not to get in situations where they may be victimized in the first place?
I look forward to working with your Agency and this Administration on returning the rights and privileges reserved to the states and to individuals back to them. I thank you in advance for your time and considerations in this matter.
On Facebook at Friends of Protection for Men
I was thinking that maybe you (the electronic world) could do me a favor. Now with social media blasting things all over for everyone to see I thought maybe if you know her you would pass along a happy birthday wish from me for my daughter. You see, I fulfilled my “responsible father” parental duties, as defined by my government, years ago and we have no contact with each other for nigh on 20 years now. So please, if you are blessed with knowing her do pass along my wishes for a good birthday and a happy year to follow.
I suppose I should also here explain and make my apologies for her ending up a disenfranchised daughter to a beat dead, dead broke, disenfranchised dad (often referred to a “deadbeat dad” or “NCP – Non Custodial Parent”). It certainly wasn’t my plan to be a disenfranchised dad, indeed I was actually a very involved dad and the primary care giving parent as her mother had returned to school and then work full time. I didn’t plan my life this way, but life is the thing that happens to you while you are busy making plans.
You see, in the 1980’s we (me and her mother) believed that men and women should both share in providing for their children emotionally and financially. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me (and most other people out there), the system has defined “responsible fatherhood” as a father who pays his “child support” on time and in full, regardless of his ability to pay the government assessed amount or the needs of the child. What I had been led to believe about society working “in the child’s best interest” and about fathers should be active and involved, “responsible”, I was soon to learn was not true. I now believe only half of what I see and nothing that I hear.
In looking back I wonder if I would have been better off not trying to be an active nurturing participating father. I could have accepted the “Standard NY Order” of every other weekend and Wednesday after school for 4 hour “visitations”. I expect though that given the circumstances and the system that the disenfranchisement would have occurred just the same. Indeed, I have come to learn that it is the hands-on active father who fights the hardest to be in their child’s life, and it is he who is often the one disenfranchised the most, an “inverse correlation”. Of course, hind sight is 20-20 and nobody knew then what they know now.
I find some consolation in that I fought very hard to stay in my children’s life, over 3 years of litigation in multiple courts. I was penalized financially for fighting “to hard” and not accepting the “standard order” and made to pay attorneys and fees in addition to “child support”. I was told to just “shut up and pay and you can visit your kids”. I likened “visiting” on a regular schedule to being in jail. I wanted more. Alas, there was no avenue in which I would be allowed to be an active father in raising them. The harder I fought, the worse I was penalized. I had to define fatherhood as I saw it, not as another thought to make me be. Unfortunately, Life isn’t fair, it was their way or nothing.
I think I did exceptionally well given I was fighting a government system with unlimited resources which was also plundering mine to pay to remove me from my children. It was only after many years when I was ultimately arrested and suspended from work and lost all income that I capitulated. I was bankrupt, facing incarceration, and a lifetime court order keeping me from my children or I could take a “deal”, return to work, pay my (extorted) “child support”, and rely on their custodial mothers good graces for any continued access to them. I chose the latter as the lesser of two evils, she had no use for me. In life you don’t always get what you want.
I did fault myself at times for “not fighting hard enough” or inversely, for not capitulating and accepting “visitor” status. But in addition to be a father by my own heritage and definition I had to ask myself, “fatherhood at what cost”? The entire system was designed to remove my parental right to raise my children, and so it did. I had no choice than to pay the “child support” extortion and it left me at maximum garnishment and I had to live on 35% of my income for 10 years (no bank account, no credit card, no home, no car). When you add in the cost of “visitation” (denial of access, more false allegations and incarceration, loss of work, more jail for not paying the “support”) the cost of being a father wasn’t there, much less being a “visitor”. My door is always open, I never denied any family member access the choice to not come to my door was not mine, and that’s cold hard fact.
When I tell people my now grown children haven’t called, emailed, or even been to “visit” me for 20 years they ask why or “who’s fault is it” (obviously I did SOMETHING to cause it). It’s nobody’s I think, and EVERYBODY’S. It’s “Parental Alienation” and a government system which encourages and rewards it, a system which most turn a bit of a blind eye to which is why it continues now for over 30 years. To hide their discomfort most people will give the “maybe they’ll come back some day”, as if 20 years of acting a way will just change overnight. Pffft is what I say back. I certainly don’t expect them to crash my threshold, but I will stay true and never turn them away should they do so.
This is a computer selfie of me in 2017. I used to look for an unattended camera and snap a “selfie”, this in the days before smart phones and the term “selfie”. So more than one person has had film developed (and then digitally downloaded) to find a photo of me smiling at them. Of course I recruited my kids as accomplices when they were old enough. I thought perhaps they would be interested in how I look now. Perhaps. Their choice now.
A lot has been taken away from me by this government system, more so my children. They took a good active involved father from two children who deserved better. What they can’t take away is me being a Dad. Sometimes you fight the good fight, and lose. Such is life. The sun will come up tomorrow and God willing you get a new day. So in keeping with still being a Dad I say to my daughter, the doors open if you desire. I wish you a happy birthday and a good year to follow. Love, Dad.