This is a letter to a Judge out of frustration of dealing with a system that is foreign to the reality which we live in – this letter is from a parent that has had the life ripped from him/ her. Who has had his/ her child removed by the courts.
This is the third and final of three postings:
On the other hand, if I do not act I fear that the lessons my children are already learning are far more harmful than witnessing a parent peaceably and openly disobey an unjust court order. Virtually every principle of sound child-rearing is contravened by this immoral practice of forcibly separating children from their parents. For the sake of clarity and emphasis I will list the harmful messages I see them absorbing:
– They are learning that we put our own desires before the needs of others, including those we profess to love such as our own children.
– They are learning that children like themselves are not to be treated as people with needs and rights of their own, but used as tools and weapons in the quest for power and profit by adults.
– They are learning that ordinary family differences and disagreements are to be resolved not with love, understanding, and compromise, but with the courts and police.
– They are learning that the vows of marriage – and by extension all other pledges, promises, commitments, and agreements – mean nothing and can be abrogated when they are no longer to our advantage.
– They are learning that principles and values are something we adhere to only so long as they are convenient, and that we can invent the rules according to our momentary pleasure.
– They are learning that contrition and forgiveness mean nothing and that injuries to others are not to be atoned for and forgiven but nursed as grievances to be revenged when the opportunity presents itself.
– They are learning that when someone disagrees with us or has other ideas or beliefs than ours, we need not listen to him, even within our own family, because now we can use the courts to silence him and have the police keep him away.
– They are learning the methods of the bully, which in other contexts we attempt to discourage and protect them from.
– They are learning that anyone in their family can be eliminated when they fall out of favor – including, perhaps, our children themselves.
– They are learning that the instruments of the state and the justice system are not public tribunals for redressing public wrongs and establishing public justice but rather a system of hired force which we can marshal for private hurts, domestic differences, and personal grievances.
– They are learning that both the family and the state are dictatorships, ruled by an arbitrary power which can be marshaled against private enemies for private injuries.
– They are learning that they need not accept or obey the authority of a parent – and by extension any other authority as well, including their teachers, ministers, parent, and eventually the laws and tribunals of the public state.
– They will learn that the police are not instruments for maintaining public order and protecting the weak, but hired mercenaries that we can marshal against members of our own family when we don’t agree with what they do or say.
– They will learn that the justice system of this country is not based on due process of law but instead rounds up and incarcerates citizens who are accused of no crime and uses the lives of innocent people – including children – for the aggrandizement of its own power.
– They will learn that a citizen of this country need not be charged with any offense that is actionable in a court of law in order to be summoned to one and stripped of his most fundamental constitutional rights.
– They will learn that the Constitution of the United States is a lie, and the Bill of Rights is a meaningless piece of paper that can be ignored by those whose responsibility it is to protect it from abuse by others.
I believe it is these lessons that account for the alienation and the adversarial relationship that so many children – especially the children of divorce – are now developing toward the justice system, the society in which they live, and their own families. I know that so long as these messages are being imparted to my children by those who seek to separate me from them and by the instruments of the public state such as your court (and by me as well so long as I acquiesce in your ruling) any attempt by me to impart contrary messages will be at cross-purposes with forces too massive for me to compete with and prevail against.
I am aware of a more serious objection to this course of action I am taking. This is the possibility that you will punish my disobedience by further reducing access to my children. This has indeed weighed heavily on my mind. The obvious rejoinder – that such an act of judicial bullying would belie any pretense that this process is concerned with “the best interest of the child” – is little comfort to me. As with other objections, this fear prevents most parents from responding as I have.
I certainly do value my time with my children, and am very reluctant to do anything that may jeopardize it. Until now I have tried to work within these constraints to have as much positive influence on my children as possible.
Yet I find I cannot remain content with this choice indefinitely, and in the long run I cannot hold it up to my children as an example worthy for them to follow. For one thing, I observe from the experience of many forcibly separated fathers that their allotted “visitation” is only one factor contributing to the gradual erosion of bonds with their children, and that it is not possible to be an adequate parent to children from whom one is kept separated by the police. Unlike some, I am not convinced that preserving or increasing my legally permitted time with my children, while still preserving the power to dictate the terms under which I may be a parent to them, is likely to make this system any less of an injustice or any less of a detriment to my relationship with my children.
To rest content with this would be to admit that this allotment of time you have decreed for me is really little more than what amounts to a bribe. Those who have more experience with the family judiciary than I inform me that bribery is widespread. I myself have not otherwise observed it first hand, and it is not my purpose here to make accusations. But in this instance I can see – and so can the world – that a kind of bribery has been openly offered and accepted. Vaclav Havel, the Czech former dissident and now president, has said that a truly corrupt system is one where the bribery is so systemic that it extends even to the public. They are bribed with material or other inducements to accept and acquiesce in a system they know to be corrupt and immoral. I believe something similar is at work here. Like many other parents, I have been effectively bribed with enough time with my children to buy my acquiescence in a system that is patently unjust, immoral, and illegal and one that reduces me to the status of something less than a true parent.
While I value time with my children and know it to be important to their well-being, I also know that the benefits it bestows cannot continue indefinitely and under any circumstances. At some point, as my children come to understand the choice their parent has made – that he has made his peace with a system that has robbed them of their most basic rights and needs in order to be permitted to “get along” with his life – the net effect will become more harmful to them than healthy. All the “visitation” and “custody” and “child support” in the world will not provide them with the parent they need if he bends his back and holds his tongue when he had the opportunity to stand upright and speak out.
There is, in other words, something here much more fundamental than disputes over “visitation”, “custody”, “child support”, and the other jargon of your trade. It concerns the unnatural power to take a child away from a parent they love and who loves them, to dictate to a parent who has done nothing wrong when and where he may see his children and what he can say and do with them, to invade and occupy a family and run it by judicial fiat. This is the arrogance of power. No parent can accept this and remain a parent. This is why I am acting.
This piece was originally written by Stephen Baskerville several years ago. It addresses the frustration that many parents face in a court system that is broken. It begs the question of how family courts, Guardians ad litem and the divorce industry can live with themselves at the end of the day.
If you have been involved in a divorce/ custody gone bad and for good reason please contact us for support at MeGALalert@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.