Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.

On Fatherhood, Family, and Civil Belligerence

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
January 20, 2003

How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also.
All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. - Henry David Thoreau
I don't approve of violence, but I understand what turns Mr. Hand into Mr. Fist. - Sam Kinison
At the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the disenfranchised black population of the country numbered between 18 and 19 million aggrieved souls. At the height of the radical feminist movement in the 2000s, the disenfranchised father population of the country numbers between 14 and 18 million aggrieved souls.

In the 40 years between 1960 and 2000, we have merely substituted one form of discrimination and injustice for another, with nearly equal numbers. Tyranny is not too strong a word to describe the posture of today's government towards the men who want only to be fathers to their children, and husbands to their wives. And civil belligerence is as ethically imperative today as it was in 1960, for this new class of indentured citizen-slaves.

What form and forums might that civil belligerence take on? Let me suggest three: Political, Public, and Judicial. These are not unique forums, but an organized, palpable and well-coordinated campaign of belligerence will be. And there is ample evidence that the right timing is now.

Political Belligerence

There are scattered groups of men who are challenging their State legislators to turn back the assault on their God-given rights. For example, in Iowa, a group of 50 - 75 men have connected with a legislator who for five terms has been an advocate of family and fatherhood. His name is Dan Boddicker (R). Lately, he has been enthused by the focused support he is now receiving from this cohort of male belligerents. Lest it be misunderstood, let me define 'belligerent' as it is being used here: exhibiting assertiveness and combativeness, marked by eagerness to contend, to strive, to debate, to overcome.

Having known and consulted with Representative Boddicker for nearly as long as he has been in office, I asked him to provide guidelines for effective belligerence. Here is his formula:

  • Legislators don't pay much attention if they are lobbied when a bill is filed. When a vote is near in committee and then on the floor, that is the time to act.
  • The fathers should present themselves in a professional, but firm manner. They should represent what they are, men who want fairness for the sake of their children, and the family.
  • Numbers are important, 75 - 100 men are a formidable cohort. They should focus on committee members first then their elected representative and Senator.
  • They should have talking points on the bill and then individually try to talk to their Representative, Senator and members of the House and Senate committees dealing with the bill, and then finally any other legislators.
  • They could distribute a brief myth/fact sheet or quotes from articles/research on the importance of parental involvement, etc. but legislators are so inundated with paper that it will likely go in the first waste basket.
  • I don't know how to advise it other than to say it would be useful to present a "fed up" demeanor; one that suggests offense is taken at the so-called "fatherhood" initiatives and assumption that men don't want to be dads. There should be the subtle but firm message that "we are not going away until our kids get justice".
  • Again, numbers are important. It's hard to ignore a hundred "fed up" dads in the rotunda, sending notes into chamber requesting that Senators and Representatives step out to talk.

    One of the key ingredients in effective lobbying is, as Boddicker indicates, timing. One way of seizing the moment is to set up an Internet 'kiosk' of pending State legislation and the critical time and dates to arrive. It is also important to let your father-friendly legislator know that you will back him (or her) throughout the course of a desired piece of legislation. The DA*DI organization will be creating a legislative kiosk for Iowa and nearby states this year.

    Don't hesitate to use the provisions of the family and medical leave act to take time away from work to tend to 'family matters'. And make it clear to those pantyhose legislators, It's the family stupid!
    But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. - Henry David Thoreau
    Public Belligerence

    A successful campaign of belligerence in the political and judicial venues requires public awareness and support. The American public knows that something is wrong with the so-called 'family courts' and a resounding majority of 79% have voiced the opinion that family dissolution is a significant societal problem. But there is no public drumbeat that gives cadence to the potential marchers in the fatherhood and family parade.

    Radio and television announcements are not only expensive; they lack a sense of "publicness." Public displays, like billboards, provide a unique window wherein observers are conscious of a shared vision - unlike the privateness of watching television at home, and listening to the radio in your car. A billboard on a busily trafficked city freeway or public plaza proclaims that the message is 'out there'. And it is out there 24-7.

    Two highly successful campaigns that began with or augmented their appeal with billboards and similar displays are the pro-life images of aborted fetuses, and the more mundane dairy farmer promotion "Got Milk?" The latter campaign has been so successful that celebrities have flocked to get their milk mustachioed mugs on the boards. And although there may be no direct association with the fetal displays, a subsequent national survey has found that among those surveyed, the majority now "favored legal protection for unborn children by a margin of 68 to 25."

    Although billboard promotions are less expensive than a random series of TV and radio spots, given their durability and constancy, they still are pricey for the prime locations in urban areas. Many outdoor advertisers do provide some charitable displays. And some of you may know an executive or owner who would be willing to donate space, or artwork, or both. As with the legislative agenda, this public awareness campaign needs to proceed on a state-by-state basis. And don't forget about trucking companies that might contribute rolling billboards.

    Many of you probably have some brilliant and creative ideas that would have enormous visual appeal, or you may know an artist with those gifts. We've put together a few sample displays just to prime the pump. The billboard idea has been shared with a number of dad advocates, and their collective response has been generally enthusiastic - with many of their contributions incorporated here. Permission is freely given to use any of the sample billboards as long as credit is given to the source. You are also encouraged to share your graphics with us.

    One of the unanticipated, but positive consequences of having a few initial boards pop up here and there may be print and electronic media coverage, as has been the case with the aborted fetus campaign that was co-initiated by Priests For Life and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.
    When I meet a government which says to me, "Your money or your life," why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. - Henry David Thoreau
    Judicial Belligerence
    When is a court not a court? When it is a 'family court'.

    There is some evidence, accumulating in the past year or so, which indicates that the domestic court is not an impervious monolith. In Canada, a lawsuit has been launched against the federal government that asserts, "Child support guidelines bear no relationship to the cost of raising children and should be struck down", and that "the legislation discriminates against divorced parents by dictating to them how much money they should spend on their children."

    In Michigan, attorney Michael E. Tindall "successfully sued Wayne County Circuit Court, Wayne County Friend of Court, and the Wayne County Sheriff in federal court for issuing illegal Show Cause Orders and Bench Warrants that violated federal constitutional due process rights." But as Tindall himself has reported, "So far, I have spent about $750,000 of my own funds and dedicated three years of my life to this fight.

    In Massachusetts, attorney Gregory Hession has launched a free resource website "because so many clients have endured outrageous mistreatment at the hands of DSS agents and victim-witness advocates. To accomplish their ends, they use false allegations, and exploit the fact that the court system has abandoned due process of law - which means our constitutionally protected procedural rights such as jury trials, opportunity to be heard promptly, the rules of evidence, innocent until proven guilty, etc. ... People in Massachusetts are (also) outraged by judges who grant restraining orders under Mass General Laws Chapter 209A, without evidence or due process, merely because someone wants one. "

    And frankly, I was a little stunned when I was recently contacted by several very bright, very accomplished, and very divorced attorneys who are highly motivated to contribute to the fatherhood effort. One of the outcomes of our conversations has been the realization that family courts are not really justice courts at all. It's one of those things that is known at one level, but is not fully realized in its ominous implications.

    As described by one correspondent attorney: "Administrative law agencies in the United States have very broad powers. Oftentimes the only constitutional law standard that impacts their actions is that the agency must not have acted in an 'arbitrary and capricious' manner. Consequently, it is often difficult to successfully challenge their actions on constitutional grounds."

    Administrative law agencies? Arbitrary and capricious manner? Hmmmm.

    But as this correspondent readily acknowledged, Mike Tindall of Michigan was "was successful in establishing that the Show and Cause Orders and Bench Warrants issued by the Wayne County Friends of the Court violated federal constitutional due process rights."

    Further, this correspondent reasoned that, "Many of the constitutional issues and civil procedure issues that would arise in challenging the unfairness of how administrative agencies operate in the U.S. would seem to be issues already researched by Tindall. He probably has the knowledge needed to implement the type of action in the United States that is presently being taken against the Canadian government."

    It should be apparent that fathers would be well advised to stop thinking of these administrative law agencies as 'family courts.'
    It is decidedly better to recognize that administrative law agencies are nothing more than arbitrary and capricious boards of inquiry, operating extra-constitutionally. Why is that relevant? Because too many individual dads have too-late come to realize - thousands of dollars later, that being represented by an attorney at an administrative hearing is like taking a slingshot to a gunfight. These fraudulent and capricious hearings want to enshrine themselves as legal forums, requiring that legalese be written and spoken there. When in actuality they are nothing more than the conjurings of a humbug such as that behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, particularly when it comes to due process under the law.

    It's time to recruit attorneys, such as those who have contacted me, to take the fight outside these administrative doodads and into the constitutional arena through class action suits. In some cases, class action suits may even prove lucrative, if they were to attack the federalization of child support guidelines and recover taxpayer funds that have been unjustly allocated to this boondoggle.

    It's time to realize that men have been duped into playing a feminist game, by feminist rules, against feminist institutions that those same men are funding. Imagine what can be accomplished if men stop funding these agencies and start funding agents of change; if they quit throwing good money after bad in the fruitless search for justice and due process in the junk yard of administrative law agencies.

    The foregoing ideas and observations are certainly not the only options that might be exercised. But hopefully this array of approaches provides a tent large enough for any man to find their niche. And when I say tent, I do not mean political, but organizational. It is not my intent to demean the earnest efforts of men who are working effectively within their own venues. It is not my intent to advocate a given political party, except to say that a true conservative would want to first conserve the family.

    It seems that when a bloated, liberal government has forgotten its limits, it cannot resist creating a new class of slaves. In today's America, there is one group of individuals who have a legitimate claim for constitutional relief. Unlike the babykillers and sodmomists who want to confabulate a founding document to legitimize their wicked ends, fathers have a vested set of unambiguous rights that are at the heart of the true founding document. If the American culture, and its freedoms are to be conserved, reinstating the vital roles of fatherhood and family, and destroying the tyranny of the divorce industry, must become the civil rights movement of this century.
    There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. - Henry David Thoreau
    And if Mr. Hand is to become Mr. Fist, men now more than ever, need to seize the option of going on offense, of becoming politically, publicly, and judicially belligerent, and quit playing defense.
    As I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - and I will be heard. - Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison

    Prior columns in this three-part series:
    1. What Father's Rights 'Movement'?
    2. You Mess With One Of Us, You Mess With All Of Us

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