Parents often ask me, in one form or another, why our family court system is so broken. How can the judges, attorneys, therapists, police officers, etc., who are supposed to protect children fail so miserably? How can “they” deny due process, violate the First Amendment, ignore the rule of law, and inflict so much pain and suffering on families in the name of justice and get away with it, every day, right here, in the greatest country on earth?
All over the world, people suffer this and worse, I'm sorry to say. Look at Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sudan, Nigeria, to name just a few. “Injustice” doesn’t begin to capture the reality of those places. You think because you’re Americans and you live in the "greatest country on earth" that you are guaranteed "liberty and justice." You entrust your freedoms to others; put yellow-ribbon stickers on your cars; share warm and fuzzy memes on Facebook; choose your elected officials based on a two-second analysis of which bears a "D" or an "R" after their name, and go about living your very privileged lives, secure in your conviction that you have done your part in being a “good” American.
As long as the news is about someone else being arrested, convicted, jailed or having their children removed by the state, you’re just fine trusting that the system works; just fine believing whatever the media tells you to believe; right on board with not rocking the boat; and A-OK with obediently – and blindly – submitting to authority and power. You sneer at those who don’t play by those rules and feel smug when they wind up jailed, with broken bones, or dead. You teach your children to follow your lead and support MORE LAWS that would demand that everyone teach the same.
Until, that is, it happens to you, and then you think, “I’m special,” and “my circumstances are special.” And you just know that as soon as all those other freedom-loving, brave Americans (like you) find out about the injustice being done TO YOU, they will jump to your rescue and protest against this insult to the principles that all those yellow ribbons and feel-good memes were meant to protect.
Except, as you soon discover, there aren't a lot of freedom-loving, brave Americans (like you) to be found that aren't too busy living their very privileged lives to be bothered to do more than post on Facebook or affix a pretty symbol to their car. Not many who are free anyway, or still alive, or whose bones have sufficiently healed, who can be bothered with the sacrifices and inconveniences that actually being free and ensuring justice for all - like we all pledge to do - demand.
So how can “they” – the judges and police officers, etc. - inflict so much injustice, right out in the broad light of day – in plain sight of all those “freedom” loving Americans? The answer is obvious. Because they can. Because there’s no one (left) to stop them. Because “we” let them, every day.
The problem is not "them." "They" ARE us. WE are the problem.
We who don’t question beyond what “sounds” right to us;
We who want good government to play like a sports match: root, root, root for the home team because being part of the WINNING team is all that matters and how we win and what we do afterwards doesn’t matter either, so long as we’re declared the winner;
We who are enamored of power and those who wield it and will wield it the same if we’re ever given the opportunity because we want THE POWER, and not the obligations that come with it;
We who don’t care how wealth is accumulated so long as we can be wealthy too because THOSE are the only American principle that really matter anymore: Land of the wealthy and home of the wanna-be wealthy – at all cost, at any price.
Think I’m wrong? Think I’m not talking about YOU? Then consider this: the next time you hear or sing the national anthem, remember, it ends with a question. Have you always considered it as a rhetorical one? Or do you recognize it for what it really is: a reminder of the vigilance that freedom demands? Because if you think that red, white and blue stars and stripes whipping in the wind are evidence of freedom; that because you are free to sing a song, freedom reigns from sea to shining sea, that playing by the rules that others made for you is “freedom,” then you might want to consider moving to North Korea. You’ll fit right in.
For the rest of you who actually believe you love this country and the ideals it stands for, then it’s way past time to start walking the talk in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Here are my top four walks:
- Support a federal constitutional amendment to end absolute immunity for judges and prosecutors.
- Organize local Court Watch programs and demand transparency in ALL proceedings.
- Find, support and elect individuals to state and federal legislatures who are committed to repealing, rather than enacting, legislation, especially legislation that favors certain classes, such as attorneys, legislators, judges and executives.
- TEACH your children how to think critically and for themselves and that it is un-American and un-patriotic to ever blindly trust anyone who wields the power to decide what you're NOT free to do.