Archive for June, 2011

Father’s Day, a Holiday

June 20, 2011

Wow! I wake up this Father’s Day. One kid is almost an adult and the other almost a teenager. The hugs and the heartfelt “Happy Father’s Day” greetings are sincere. I wish I could give them more, but they’re not even my kids. I have to wonder how many Dads are in the same predicament as myself.

With over half the nation divorced and so many friends I know with multiple families, it almost seems like being a Dad to your own kid is a Grace. Yes. I’m talking about the capital “G”–“Grace”; that power of heaven bestowed upon us humans that fills us with forgiveness for all the things our lives have lacked. Because a Father wants most to give the best to his own.

When even the presence of my own children is denied–by any contact, by any means–hope springs in my heart that they know who I am. They know that I love them; that I would be there at the first call. They know they are biologically tied and they have a choice–in their lifetime–to say–whenever they want–“I want my Dad in my life.” As long as I breath, I will be here to answer.

And these kids who return my smile today–they’re smart–they know they hold a place for a time in the future when my own kids will step in. If we should all meet again, I would, indeed, call it a Holiday.

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Could It Happen Here?

June 14, 2011

Distressing as it may sound, the remarkably impolitic idea of violating first-amendment speech has been breached. In a shot-across-the-bow article, Jennifer Van Grove, “New State Law Makes Posting Distressing Images a Crime,” shows how much some people hate free speech.

Any transmission or display of an image that “has the possibility to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to anyone who sees it” is now illegal in Tennessee. Could this be legal? Could this be Constitutional? That is; does it breach our first amendment rights? Chances are, the law will not survive its first constitutional challenge.

But, how did a bunch of lawmakers pass this bill in the middle of America? Were these elected officials unaware of the U.S. Constitution? Or–one must consider it more likely–are there powerful special interest groups who got their way?

I think we can interpret a few clues from the language that was actually passed into law.

“(a) A person commits an offense who intentionally:
(4) Communicates with another person or transmits or displays an image in a manner in which there is a reasonable expectation that the image will be viewed by the victim by [by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication] without legitimate purpose:
(A) (i) With the malicious intent to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress; or
(ii) In a manner the defendant knows, or reasonably should know, would frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities; and
(B) As the result of the communication, the person is frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed.”

WAIT… WAIT… I know this!

These are laws intended to protect victims of domestic violence. The arguments are often, not very persuasive in themselves, but they are delivered by a passionate cadre of actors. These actors are very good at playing on human emotions, particularly fear, to get their point across. They peddle a lot of bogus statistics with teary eyes and quavering lips.

The people promoting these ideas call themselves advocates protecting the innocent and, at the same time, pointing their fingers at men, husbands, soldiers, and even children who happen to be boys. They tell you that you and your daughter are the next ones who will be abused.

Fear is just one of the ways societies have given away freedoms and it is the domestic violence victim’s advocate who uses it today. Blame the fathers, the husbands and the sons. Never look in the mirror, never acknowledge that conflict is inevitable and never learn that a family can survive together. Better to tear a father from a child and tear a family apart than to let them both live and learn from imperfect lives.

These are people who will easily turn against you if you question their anti-family, militaristic feminist, serial interloper world-views.

Could it happen here; in Hawaii?

Just consider last legislative session, a proposal to change our laws to make online harassment a misdemeanor. (HB 618) would have made it a misdemeanor to use another person’s name online without permission and with “intent to harm;” a concept so broad that it could be perceived any way an offended person conceives.

So, for example, the statement of a father declaring his innocence against false allegations of abuse could be deemed an action of harassment. Simply stating facts about a bad-actor, a child abuser, and a parental alienator, could lead to jail, fines and pretty harsh consequences for someone who was simply telling the truth.

Other past failed proposals include cyber harassment laws that would have outlawed Google searches (see Penumbrook’s post on 2/14/2009). An angry ex can do a lot of damage to our constitutional freedoms. Hawaii would have been very close to creating, with this proposed law, a police state.

Yes it can happen here.

It can happen here because the people who have proposed these Constitutionally violative laws have gained a lot of traction. They walk the hallways of our Hawaiian legislature peddling their fear, veiling family-destroying ideals under the guise of protecting the vulnerable. They come back, year after year, every legislative session taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes to ply a vision of perfect control over people’s lives through the law.

Domestic violence is a serious issue. Effective programs can be developed to mitigate its harm to families and society. But, it will take a lot of will-power, a lot of education, and a lot of political fortitude to recognize where we trade the “improvement” of a punitive law at the expense of our Constitutional freedoms.

Tennessee crossed that line. Is Hawaii next?

Rain’s Dad is his Sunshine

June 7, 2011

Dale Price is a stay-at-home Dad with an artificial leg. His claim to fame–besides nurturing a family who enjoys life–is waving at the bus.. umm.. daily.. uhh.. in costumes.

As Dale’s notoriety grows, so do the naysayers. Most people scoff at the idea when a man stays home. It’s a common misconception that a man cannot take care of his children and even more stereotypical that a father does nothing more than provide a stoic, if not abusive, role model for his son to follow.

Not so with Rain Price’s Dad (yup, his name is Rain). And, not so with millions of loving and caring Dad’s across the globe. Dale’s wife, Rochelle, chimes in: “Dale: is now a stay at home dad, actively parenting our three kids. He’s a pretty decent mechanic, landscaper, housekeeper, trophy husband (complete with a kickstand), and an amazing dad.”

There are no limits to love, life, and laughter when a family has this kind of magic. A nod to Yahoo News where I first found this story.