Thursday, November 30, 2006

Look both ways before crossing

I have never raised a child. I've never had a child. I've never come close to raising a child, or ever had the opportunity to do so. I've barely even ever had contact with children in my 30 years of life. In fact, my feelings about ever actually raising children are tremendously ambivalent. However, if there is one thing that gets my blood fucking boiling, it's the spouting off by pompous, arrogant, idiotic conservative asshats who think they know what's right for everybody about how best to raise children in this country.

What I'm referring to specifically is this idiotic piece of garbage, written by one Patrick Fagan. For some reason or other I cannot comprehend, Tractorfacts wrote a post about it last night, albeit arguing against its main points, but nevertheless, I was inspired to respond.

I made a lot of assumptions about Mr. Fagan based on this article, and a simple Google search proved me mostly right. First off, the article was published in the National Review, and Fagan works for the ultra-conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, which is really just a terribly biased lobbying group for the ultra-right.

The gist of Fagan's article is that he argues that "Europe is dying because they don't love babies enough" (oh my god....) and that if America isn't careful, that could happen to us, because, according to Fagan's statistics, approximately 36% of all American children are born out of wedlock, and regardless of any circustances, that's bad and will lead to an eventual complete breakdown of society. And that's very, very bad. He argues that it builds a "culture of rejection and isolation from each other," and goes on to blame the churches, the media and the educational system for this heinous trend, all because they've made sex out to be something that can be done recreationally, as opposed for the sole purpose of procreating in a committed marriage between two heterosexual people. He blames the Supreme Court for legitimizing (i.e., decriminalizing) sexual practices between 2 consenting adults that don't lead to babies (i.e., the homos next door sodomizing each other into oblivion).

Predictably, and just as I suspected, Mr. Fagan is very anti same-sex marriage as well. Through some irrelevant and arbitrary statistics comparing the United States to the Netherlands, he tries his damnedest to blame the fags for the "recent public policy...that has facilitated the erosion of the family" in Europe because some countries there let the gays marry. It seems to me that facilitating any kind of monogamy and committment, whether it's between gays or straights would be good for everybody involved, but I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, and also anyone with half a fucking brain cell knows that as well.

But that's not even what really gets up my ire. And I'll give you an example of what really does: two men named Roger and Steven.

Roger and Steven are a long-term, committed, and one presumes monogomous, gay couple that used to live in the culturally rich and exciting city of Miami, Florida. They are both very successful in their chosen professions (one's a doctor, and the other a lawyer, I believe) and had money, time and energy to burn. So they decided they wanted a child. After much debating and exploring options, they decided to participate in Florida's foster child program, because for the Big, Bad Gays, adopting children in Florida is illegal (one of only three states, actually, that has laws expressely banning adoption by homos; the other two are Mississippi and Utah. Surprised?). They chose a 5-year-old black boy with HIV to take in.

Now think about that for a minute if you will. Two upper-class, wealthy, educated, committed men happily and lovingly taking in a 5-year-old black boy with HIV, to not only raise and provide for medically, but to provide a stable, loving home. Do you think anyone else would take in a 5-year-old black boy with HIV? Maybe for the monthly check, but even then, I seriously doubt it.

Turns out, Roger and Steven loved this boy so much, they wanted another. And another. And another. And another. Until they had 5 (FIVE!!) foster children, all unwanted, unadoptable, and all with HIV. They formed a family. The children all essentially became brothers and sisters, relying on one another for fun, for emotional support, for physical support, and Roger and Steven their unwavering fathers, basking them with love, opportunity, and top-notch medical care.

There was one problem, however. No matter how close they became, or how long the children lived with Roger and Steven, their relationships would always be tenuous, because since Roger and Steven are gay, they can't legally adopt these children in Florida, and technically, the state can come and take them away anytime they want to.

Which is precisely what happened.


When it was discovered that Bert, a 13-year-old boy they'd taken in when he was only an infant, had initially been diagnosed incorrectly, and did not, in fact, have HIV, the state authorities of Florida, with the full backing of Governor Jeb Bush, decided that what would now be best for Bert would be to remove him from these two unsuitable gay men, and throw him into the foster system. As a 13-year-old black boy in Miami. After he'd been living with Roger and Steven his entire life. Oh, and while the state was at it, they might as well take the other kids as well, since clearly being back in the system, or with a straight couple, would be far superior to being brought up in this home of love and privilege, since it's headed by two gay men.

Roger and Steven fought the system, tried to officially adopt the children, and lost. Even a personal appeal to Jeb Bush did no good (because, well, he thinks that children belong with a mom and a dad. Sorry Roger and Stephen, but you just don't cut it). So in a final act of desperation, Roger and Stephen left their entire lives in Miami, and moved their family to Portland, Oregon where they had some friends. I'm not sure what all the legalities involved were, but somehow, in Oregon, the men managed to certifiably adopt all 5 children, and start their lives over, keeping their family intact.

So what I would like to know, Mr. Patrick Fagan, in the face of stories like these, how you can possibly look in the mirror, or sleep at night, or write your ignorant, hateful columns, holding the opinions that you hold, and claiming to care so much about the youth of America. How can you say that these people aren't a family, and where was the outcry when the state of Florida wanted to take away these essentially unadoptable children from the only family they'd ever known? Call me cynical, but methinks you care more about your agenda than you actually do about families. Which leads me to wonder what your ultimate goal is, if you claim to care so much about families, but then turn around and advocate destroying them. So which is it, Fagan? Are you in favor of families and children being raised by loving parents, or no? You can't have it both ways.

Roger, Stephen and their family. Check out the docmentary, "We Are Dad" about them. It's devastating, but totally inspiring.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

I love the story of Roger and Stephen. They are amazing humans. I want to know them.
I stopped listening to the simple minded judgmental idiots long ago. My kid will do big and wonderful things in this world.