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.

You Mess With One Of Us,
You Mess With All Of Us

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
January 13, 2003

The defiant challenge that is the title of this column, like much of the dialogue in the movie Spiderman, is not quite Shakespearean. But it is no less profound in its simplicity, than are the timeless moral dilemmas that underlie this comic book transition to the big screen.

First, there is Uncle Ben's admonition to the evolving Peter Parker aka Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility." This is the organizing statement, which will ultimately shape the life and ethic of the emerging superhero. When Peter's transition from lovesick geek and anonymous protector of the girl-of-his-dreams to mature superhero is thrust upon him by the demoniacal Green Goblin, he is prepared.

In the concluding scene, we find Peter resolutely confronting his 'great responsibility' - the lifelong battle against evil - and the imparted necessity of relinquishing romantic, sexual fantasy in its service.

Like the grain of sand that forms the pearl, it is the organizing statement that gives meaning, impetus and aftergrowth to any valued endeavor. In human affairs, such was the organizing, galvanizing effect of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States: "We, The People, in order to form a more perfect union ..."

The Father's Rights movement has not yet found its organizing statement, as witnessed by its fragmented efforts. For some, it is the issue of child support. For others it is the derivative issue of false paternity. Then there are the matters of joint custody, kangaroo justice, visitation sabotage, debtor's prison, and so forth. And all of those issues are valid as a matter of degree, but are ultimately just individual facets of the larger concept. Yet there seems to be no tent big enough to house the various disciples.

In Spiderman the movie, the print media conspired to equate Spiderman and the Green Goblin as equivalent evils - like the equivalence imposed on divorced dads as deadbeats. But there was one critical event that resolved widespread citizen ambivalence about the dueling arachnid and goblin. When it was seen that Spidey was trying to protect women and children, while fighting for his very existence, the crowd joined his battle with a defiant challenge to the Goblin, You Mess With One Of Us, You Mess With All Of Us. And the tide was turned.

After all is said and done, is this not an abounding analogy to the Father's Rights struggle? And is it not vital that we grasp that all of our varied ends will ultimately be served through a unified goal built around an organizing statement? And is that goal not the preservation of the traditional role and form of the nuclear family?

There has been endless sophomoric drivel, maliciously directed towards eroding the historic bedrock acceptance of the vital role of family. Marriage has been portrayed as the great evil that suppresses women. Family has been portrayed as, hey, just-as-good in myriad forms. The single-parent family has been lionized. Is it not the organizing statement of the radical opposition that they are determined to destroy the traditional family?

And meanwhile our new prisons are filling with fatherless young men; 3 in 10 High School students are dropping out; schools at all levels are becoming pseudo-family communes evangelically preaching the sermons of unrestricted sex and perverse diversity; educators are myopically focused on building artificial self-esteem, instead of honing self-confidence based on achieving competence; and shopping centers and other 'caretaker' warehousing facilities have assumed the parent role for our inconvenient kids.

How else can there be a unique place for fatherhood if the traditional Family is not preserved both as a concept and as a unique effort by two parents, dedicated to each other and the family unit? How else can our children be most adequately protected and nurtured and educated?

For centuries the historic, traditional family charter has had a mandate that is inverse to the message given Peter Parker. It is, "With great responsibility comes great power." It is the family and two responsible parents that guide the course of the culture and the nation. It is the family that gives coherence to both individuality and society. It is the family which first exposes and educates the child and their siblings to the full range of societal interaction: between the (two) sexes, between individuals, within a democracy, in relation to authority, and in fundamental loyalties born of routines and sharing.

The family has for centuries been the seat of societal power and prosperity. And that is why the socialists, the feminists, and those given to perversion and anarchy have always been hell-bent on destroying it. They covet its power - but not its responsibility.

If there was ever a statement that has characterized family solidarity, it is this; "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us." Isn't that what you really want, Dads? Isn't that what the Father's Rights 'movement' is essentially all about? Are Father's Rights advocates pursuing nothing more than single-parent equity? I unequivocally think not.

I think the so-called "Father's Rights" movement is misnamed. In part, that misnomer is a harmful barrier to achieving the real goal. I think that goal is about encouraging families to stay together to raise and protect their children; to fight the forces that want to drive them apart, that want to create two separate classes of parents, that want to sustain sexual hostility.

If that's the case, then we have the core organizing statement:

It's The Family Stupid!

Next: Some thoughts on organized belligerence.

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