Mother’s Day 2010—of mothers, grandmothers, Gregg Abbott, and the Alamo….

On Mother’s Day, I can’t help thinking what an amazing and diverse institution motherhood is. Aldous Huxley in “Brave New World” predicted a society in which motherhood would be gone, a thing of the past. I think of the difference between my two grandmothers, one with one child and the other with 9. Yet they both remained married to their first and only husbands for life, and in fact outlived their husbands.

Then I think of a recent new acquaintance and friend of mine, Melinda S., now pregnant with her second child, by a second father, still never married, and I think of or try to imagine how different her life is now and is going to be from either of my grandmothers. Will she have five children by five different fathers before she turns 30? At this rate….quite possibly. Is she the future? Melinda’s mother is taking care of her first son already. I know lots of grandmothers taking care of their grandkids. But come to think of it, my grandmother raised me more than my mother did. Although my mother had a great influence on my life as a teacher and friend, albeit with great ups and downs and sometimes time gaps in our relationship—sometimes really major time gaps in fact. But my mother taught me the Magnificat and most of the prayers I know, and a great deal of everything I know in and about English, French, German, and Italian literature, music, and civilization traces to my mother directly or indirectly. Still, she really never played any games with me or dressed me when I was young–that was left to my grandmother or others. My mother was, I suppose, half-way between my grandmothers and Melinda…. both chronologically and behaviorally. What a strange, interesting thought. All three generations very intelligent, and very atypical of their own time in some ways, while epitomizing their time in others. I admire my grandmothers and their lives and marriages. I see few others. It does appear that my Latin American Comadres Betty M. and Lee A. will stay with their first and only husbands through life, Betty M. more surely than Lee. A recent friend as of last year, Milenne D., an economically privileged wife of an M.D. and mother of four, seems like a mother of the old school, even to the point of joining her husband in dinnertime prayers every night….but she’s yet young….how will she seem in 20 years I wonder? Will she be able to maintain her traditional status? Kathleen W., another relatively young mother of four beautiful children, is nowhere nearly as economically privileged as Milenne, but she has cleaved to her troubled marriage rather than dissolving all ties to an absent and unsupportive husband, but Kathleen’s children at least benefit from her stability and commitment to them and to the concept of family, while even someone like my mother has shown a definite “modern” commitment to self over family. So Is Motherhood on the rise or declining or stable as an aspect of human life? Or is motherhood just changing, now “divorced” from traditional family in a strangely pseudo-Huxleyan fashion? Will mothers ever be replaced by test-tubes and labs? Life would be so much poorer. But, in essence, Sigmund Freud taught of the hazards of motherhood interconnected with “Civilization and its Discontents” and warned the 20th century to fear the psychological consequences of the mother-child bond, and the social engineers of the 20th century have certainly been persecuting the family as a whole, trying to make it less and less stable and relevant. Huxley equated or conflated Sigmund Freud’s research and teachings with Henry Ford’s mass production: observing that both led to socio-economic philosophies advocating and idealizing “instant gratification”. If there’s anything I think motherhood is not, it is instantly gratifying. Texas is where I was born and where I became aware of all the problems and pitfalls of family, especially my first contact with the Family Court system, which I consider to be one of the most evil and socially destructive institutional systems in modern America. The Texas Attorney General, like all modern state attorney generals, is largely if not primarily a debt collector, a hunter seeking out “deadbeat dads”, berating them, jailing them, punishing them. Child support is a disguised socialistic wealth-redistributive tax that is particularly in tune with the socialist agenda because it both encourages families to split and maximizes tension between spouses after the split. The Texas Attorney General has his central offices in Austin, Texas, located in a county called Travis, named after William Barrett Travis, remembered as the Heroic Commander of the Alamo in the Texas War of Independence. Yet Travis himself was the consummate “deadbeat dad” having left not only his native South Carolina but his native country, the United States of America, to escape his responsibilities to his wife and children back on the old farmstead. History records very little of the study of William Barrett Travis’ wife or his children. Did they even know of their husband/father’s status as a hero in that radio-less, televisionless, AP-wireless era? What were their lives like? Were any of his children Confederate officers or soldiers? Would his wife have been better off if William Barrett Travis had been hunted down by a 19th Century Gregg Abbott and jailed for failure to pay child support? What would have happened at the Alamo and in Texas History Generally? What comments would William Barrett Travis’ wife have to make about this article? About the concept of mandatory child support? Or about the Revolution in Texas and her husband’s last stand at the Alamo? About his pronouncement that, “I will never surrender or retreat” in his last letter of which my grandparents had an engraved copy hanging in the bedroom in Highland Park, Dallas, in which both of them died, 21 years apart, in 1980 and 2001?

One response to “Mother’s Day 2010—of mothers, grandmothers, Gregg Abbott, and the Alamo….

  1. Today, in Stuart, Florida, in what must be called an interesting if not entirely appropriate celebration of Mother’s Day, the mother of three beautiful young girls ordered her youngest, who is 16 and named for the woman who was first love of Jacob the Patriarch, to leave the family house. This particular mother had apparently done such things before, in that she had ordered her eldest out several years ago. That eldest of these daughters was mentioned above, now pregnant with her second child by a second father. The mother apparently later moaned and bewailed that her daughter, named after the mother of all God’s Chosen People, would become a prostitute.
    This month, May 2010, is widely being “celebrated” as the 50th anniversary of “the pill” so why are unmarried and unplanned pregnancies, unprotected by contractual relations between procreators, even an issue?
    Is it because the state guarantees everyone’s safety by putting half the population at risk? Another mother, with whom I discussed this issue today, commented to me that “when a man sticks his dick somewhere, he needs to accept the full consequences.” I think, frankly, that this is preposterous as a premise upon which to base any law. Birth control is MORE accessible to women than to men at EVERY age. Women are notoriously less hormonally addled by sex drives than men, and yet women clearly understand the difference between recreation and procreative sex as well as everyone else. So women need to exercise control by negotiating, as they have always done throughout history, their sexual and romantic relations. The State cannot simply punish and oppress one class of citizens (mostly men) through the child support system for the irrational behavior of BOTH sexes in this regard.
    And so I ask, regarding the overarching and much larger issue, who is responsible for the decline of the family in modern America, in the world? How would a mother ever order her teenage daughter out of the house? Who would a mother ever do that TWICE to two daughters? There is apparently concern in the house that the mother might kill the youngest daughter’s dog before she can be brought home. The daughter is apparently safe and partying with friends in the Florida, Keys…. I rather envy this part of her story….as I haven’t been to the keys in some years. I am aware, of course, that many parents are now taking care of their children’s children, due to broken homes, ill-advised pregnancies, etc. I think that there has been a coordination of movements in America since 1980 to sap the strength of our families and in particular to disable “real” American women. On the one hand, recreational and status-oriented sex has been exalted to a status it has never had before, anywhere in the world as far as I know. The ideal “young life” has been cast as something of a continuous orgy, without any of the Roman ritual restrictions. Wagner’s Venusberg in the opera Tannhauser was truly a Victorian family home compared to the pressure-cooker than young girls find themselves in these days: they must be “sexy” from pre-teen days, basically. And yet, at the same time, an almost equally countervailing force has attacked the values of marriage and commitment and love. Family members are encouraged by the legal system, the state, the schools, and the police to turn on each other for every possible omission or transgression “for their own protection.” And yet even at this same time, countervailing yet again, birth control and responsible behavior are not taught. Marital contracts are frowned upon.
    By ratcheting up the importance of sex, down-playing the value of marriage and negotiation, and simultaneously keeping girls largely in the dark or at arms-length from birth control, the “powers that be” in this country have created a “soup sandwich” that destroys any possibility of individual autonomy.
    The solution I foresee and advocate is this: our educational system needs to restore contractual agreements as things which are consistent with love. Women have always had, even in the most violent and patriarchal societies, maximum power when it comes to saying “yes” or “no” in the context of sex and procreation. Women basically need to do two things: they need to be taught to separate recreational sex from love, and to use birth-control for the former precisely to maximize its value for negotiation in the former. Marital or sexual contracts should be the norm. Any sex not covered by a contract should be considered recreational and no presumptions of responsibility should be applied by the state or anyone else.
    But on the other hand, parents need to resume their roles as the protectors and advisors of their children. Parents, in particular, have to abandon such appalling habits as allowing the police and state to threaten punishment for their children for drug use while allowing the schools and psychologists to prescribe “ADD” or “ADHD” medication for every kind of minor misbehavior in school. “What’s the problem? Take a pill” is basically the worst advice and solution sequence of questions and answers in the history of the world.
    A Los Angeles Superior Court judge I met in 2001 was of the opinion that all evictions should be granted all the time. I talked to him about the fiduciary obligation owed by family members to each other and had I spoken of an invasion of Martians he could not have been more sarcastic. He asked me: “The law requires parents to take care of their children until they turn 18, right? Are you telling me that a parent can’t kick their kids out on their 18th birthday?” People who think like this should all be lined against a wall and shot—they are the authors of the socialist-dependency state and all associated diseases. As I have written before on this blog, and elsewhere, if those who claim to be Christians, or God’s people in any sense, do not care for each other, then Socialism, I guess, really is the only solution and alternative. I intend to go into the world and preach, for the rest of my life, that it is the Government which must be thrown out of our homes, and Parents who must take care of their children, and build families as the primary bulwark of security between the individual and the wide, cruel world, the cruelest element of which is surely the rapine government.

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