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'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Post 2 of 2: Bipolar Presidential Rhetoric (1995)

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It’s time we took a look at two pronouncements from the sultry summer of 1995, within one month of each other.

Both by then-President Clinton (i.e., Bill, not Hillary)

This is a quote, but any font changes or other emphases are mine.  

I also add a few (#)s for footnote.

 

1995, June

THE WHITE HOUSE:
Washington
June 16, 1995

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Supporting the Role of Fathers in Families

I am firm in my belief that the future of our Republic depends on strong families and that committed fathers are essential to those families (1). I am also aware that strengthening fathers’ involvement with their children cannot be accomplished by the Federal Government alone (2); the solutions lie in the hearts and consciences of individual fathers and the support of the families and communities in which they live. However, there are ways for a flexible (3), responsive (4) Government to help support men in their roles as fathers.

Therefore, today I am asking the Federal agencies to assist me in this effort, I direct all executive departments and agencies to review every program, policy, and initiative (hereinafter referred to collectively as “programs”) that pertains to families to:  

(A) ensure, where appropriate, and consistent with program objectives, that they seek to engage and meaningfully include fathers; (B) proactively modify those programs that were designed to serve primarily mothers and children, where appropriate and consistent with program objectives; (C) to explicitly include fathers and strengthen their involvement with their children;  (D) include evidence of father involvement and participation, where appropriate, in measuring the success of the programs; and (E) incorporate fathers, where appropriate, in government initiated research regarding children and their families.I ask the departments and agencies to provide an initial report on the results of the review to the Vice President through the National Performance Review within 90 days of the date of this memorandum.

The information gained from this review will be combined with information gathered through the Vice President’s “Father to Father” initiative and other father involvement programs to determine the direction of those programs for the future.   The National Performance Review, together with the Domestic Policy Council, will recommend further action based on the results of this review.

William J. Clinton

~ ~ ~ ~

For the scope of what ALL departments (and agencies, which are a subset of departments) mean, see my former post, or “USASpending.gov).  This is virtually a 3-month-makeover along the lines of a physical fitness guru, only we are talking about the entire U.S. Executive Branch, not just your body.

Well, I guess we are talking about your body, and pocket(book)s, if you also take into account how this weakens VAWA provisions, and some of the government-sponsored research involved.

My comments:

(1) At risk of disrespect, part of then-President Clinton’s commitment to his own family (not that he was the only such President) included being caught with his pants down, publically.  Just imagine what a shakeup if it were required for Presidents to practice what they preach in this arena! 

(2) This awareness that the Government alone cannot make fathers be cool will not prevent it from attempting to do so, anyhow, obviously displeased with the results of its former institutions/premises/experiments (choose one of the above) but failing to acknowledge this.  Ah, the vagaries of catch-all terms, like “fathers” and “families,” “consciences” and “hearts.”  

I keep returning to the educational/corporations system, but that’s just me.  Is not some of the premise of continuing this, while attempting to shut down and discredit homeschooling, etc., based on the premise that parents, unchecked, are incompetent?  WHO is going to ask, with me, who educated those supposedly incompetent parents?  In what institutions did they grow up?  Is education something a “government” should be doing?  Seriously, now. . .   

(3) flexible:  Further study (and experience) shows that what this entails flexibility on inludes:  (a) child support arrearages.  They are simply, by decree, reduced.  I witnessed this with my own eyes (33% off, and no evidence of any deterrents to the fathers’ unemployment actually existing, other than choice.  Incarceration was not one in our case, nor drug use, nor being a teen Dad, or otherwise disabled.  OR, uninvolved with the kids.  Nevertheless, 33% went off, and I went back to what I left — fundraising after job losses).  I have also studied the literature, and yes, friends this indeed was part of the deal.  

The other flexibilities included on civil rights (of protective parents, female or male), due process (through family courts — cases farmed out to mediation that shouldn’t be, many times), and the law (laws against rebuttable presumption that custody should NOT go to batterers ignored, as well as laws advising against joint custody in such cases, as well as substantial, already government-funded research that mediation is inappropriate in situations with violence due to the power imbalance.).  Ah yes, flexible indeed — bending over backwards, just about.  Also flexibility, as it turns out, encompasses the fiscal accountability arena as well.  

As to the a, b, c notes (above), I simply wish to call attention to them.  Also, phrase (c) has no object:  include fathers in WHAT is not specified.  However, (d)) is where the dollars are really flowing — not to the kids, but to people studying them.  See my posts on the TAGGS system and Acronyms.  

On any phrase, practically, I could insert a URL to serve appropriate, $$ interpretation, but not today.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now that then-President Clinton had spoken about fathers, families, and children (and directed that programs helping mothers be modified pro-actively to include more Dads (translation:  Increased Access ;; Access/Visitation grants, and all that goes with it– about that pesky child support:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

President Clinton’s Letter – OCSE 20th Anniversary

President Clinton issued the following letter on behalf of the Child
Support Enforcement Program’s twentieth anniversary.


 

The White House

Washington

July 11, 1995

 

Greetings to everyone gathered in our nation’s capital to mark
the twentieth anniversary of the National Child Support Enforcement
Program of the Department of Health and Human Services. [HHS]

Children are our greatest hope and our most profound responsibility.
Only when our young people are provided with the best upbringing
possible can we truly say that we are prepared for the challenges of
the twenty-first century. Yet, sadly, many AMERICANS avoid their
responsibility to provide basic economic support to their children.
That is why the national Child Support Enforcement Program was
created in 1975, reflecting a bipartisan commitment to giving
children the chance they deserve.

All of you in the National Child Support Enforcement Program–at the
federal, state, and local levels–have been instrumental in giving
hope and support to America’s children while fostering STRONG
FAMILIES and RESPONSIBLE PARENTING. [1] Through your efforts, more than
4.5 million
children now have a legally recognized father; more than
11 million children with A PARENT LIVING OUTSIDE THEIR HOME have
a legal right to the financial support of that PARENT; and more than
$62.5 billion has been provided for children by their noncustodial
parents.[2]

As we celebrate the successes of the past two decades, we should
rededicate ourselves to working across party lines to pass the
strongest possible child support and welfare reform legislation.
Strong child support enforcement measures are crucial not only
because they help provide children with economic security, but also
because they send a clear signal to young men and young women that
they should not have children until they are prepared to care for
them.  And THOSE WHO DO HAVE children must not be permitted to walk
away from them. [3] Governments don’t raise children; PARENTS do. [4] We
cannot rest until PARENTS across our nation begin to shoulder that
responsibility. [5] We must act now to give our children the future they
deserve.

I commend you for your efforts to put America’s children first. Best
wishes for a wonderful anniversary and for much continued success.

Signed: Bill Clinton

~~~~~

Italics = references to children.

BOLD CAPS = gender -neutral terms that, in context, really aren’t.  Note:  The fatherhood initiative is primarily going after fathers to get them re-involved so they will pay child support.  Why?  Too many mothers were on welfare.  This is not a gender-neutral issue, although many Moms are noncustodial and do pay child support (or go to jail).  Many, many MORE since these two memos went out, I must add.  

I have no problem with the government going after fathers to get them reinvolved and pay up.  I DO have a problem with the government, in public proclamations like this (I wasn’t there at this time, I was being slapped around my home, age 40-plus, and I had most definitely been a contributing member of society throughout, even during these years).  I DO have a problem with the government taking tax $$ and using them to BRIBE ALL fathers indiscriminately (simply because of their Y chromosome and some DNA relationship to offspring) into pretty please coming back, and with that goal in mind, bending the judicial process, law, and my civil rights (and my kids) in order to do this, with dubious success.  

I also have a problem with women my age, who are many times an absolutely STUNNING sector of America’s enterprise, creativity, workforce (especially at the support levels) and bearing, raising, and caring for children — or working as teachers of them — I have a problem with us disappearing from the Presidential rhetoric as mothers. If you think this isn’t so, you haven’t read my recent post on White House  and “same old wine.”

bold not-caps:  terms that are inclusive:  we, our, us, etc.  Then, the government says that “Parents raise children, it does not. Nevertheless, communally, they are “our” children.  Maybe it’s this kind of doublespeak rhetoric, please whoever you’re in front of at the time, that has contributed to the dropping mental health barometer, and increasing budget of the HHS??  That’s bipolar talk.

[1], [2] — this is the rhetoric of the fatherhood movement, and if you think this has changed, you have not looked at the family agenda of the Administration of “Change.gov” to see what has not.  Again, “whitehouse.gov // Agenda // family.  Then look at “strengthening Families at Home” and see if you can find a reference to a woman above the age of 20 (not including the nurses, possibly, who need to visit the teens having kids).  The word “noncustodial” clearly refers to a family law status.  Custody is settled in family courts, by decree.  This is the chosen venue of this movement, FYI.

[3]  Although parents are not to walk away from their children, this does not preclude other government programs snatching them, sometimes properly, sometimes not so.  (see CPS, or the recent 400-plus snatch of the Texas group).  (see, existence of a thriving foster care system, kids for $$).  (and related atrocities).  

[4]  This is debatable.

[5].  I was most at rest and personally stabilized while shouldering my God-given (or, at least biologically-given) responsibility to work and provide for my daughters.  I have had precious little rest since restless government rhetoric, reinventing itself, had a better idea, and allowed a child-snatch to become a custody-switch, wiping the slate of Dad’s responsibility to comply with the law almost clean, and my shot at getting free of him, too.  I now have to reinvent myself, along with all social relationships, as well.  What a great idea — WHOSE was it anyhow?  

Makes one almost wax religious:  (from Prov. 11 — I was looking for the first verse, here):

A FALSE balance is an abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. 

When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

With his mouth the godless man destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the righteous be delivered.

Where no wise guidance is, the people falleth: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.


I cannot think of anything more presumptuous, or proud, than an elected Chief Executive presuming to revise the entire government to conform to concepts he got from, really, large pressure from a small segment of it (see “Don & Wade” et al).

The lowly are the women and children on welfare.  Go talk to them!  Then report in their own words what it’s like!

It takes a belief in some set of universal truths day of accountability and secrets being exposed (whether “God” or not) to refrain from acting on behalf of God to parent an entire nation.  Also, I should think that thorough exposure to at least some religious text, processed through centuries, might yield to some more logical language than what we now here — doublespeak.  At least within those texts, some coherence of ideas pervades them.  

The idea of  universal, state-funded education I THINK originated in Rome, but I can’t swear it.  It originated in expansionist, imperialist, governments.  People FLED such governments to come to the colonies and start over again, not too long ago (a few centuries).    

Also is at the heart of the matter — whose kids ARE they, anyhow?  [In LOCO parentis?] I found out (in my situation) that when that child goes through the door of a public education institution, he/she/(of transgendered) does not, really, belong to the parents.  They do not, really, have control.  Ask Savanna Redding, who was strip-searched at 13 because of a tip that she might have drugs (a.k.a. Ibuprofen for cramps).  She is now 19, and never went back to that school, but instead got a GED, having been at the time an honor kid with no disciplinary problem.  Her parents sued.  Ask Michael Farris, HSLDA, and the parentalrights.org folk.  Ask Edwatch.org, a group in Minnesota is as upset as me about these situations (but less indignant than I that single parent means poor.  I voted for our current President in part because I knew he’d been through this process, had a single mother, and one would think, might have understood it).  Or, ask some of the parents of the juveniles who ended up in detention, suddenly, because two judges in Pennsylvania (caught, finally, thank God) had a kickback scheme going on.  

I am older and wiser now, and advise women (single Moms, moms owed child support) wherever and whenever possible to avoid that child support system entirely.  It is going to erode their due process and family  (if they still have one).  If their children’s father cannot be persuaded by family, church, or community peer pressure to show his face and get to work, then perhaps that family, church, or community ought to (if Dad is around, but not working) support them.  If he’s in jail, then the public is already supporting him.  If he’s missing, that’s another matter.  

I learned the hard way, this sequence of events, and that I do NOT, nor am I about to, have any control over what any Child Support Enforcement agency does with my money, or itself.  Trust me, I pursued this.  

Failure to distinguish from teen pregnancies and fathers who disappeared (or are working their way round a harem) and mothers who, leaving domestic violence — OR, leaving a primary care-taking situation of several years — and as such need help is wrong and misguided.  

My sequence was:  

1. DV — MANY years of it, a.k.a., survival mode.  PART of DV (and often the first part is economic control, which may answer some of your questions as to “why doesn’t she just leave?”).

2. Filing for separation through RO with KICKOUT (that’s “Restraining Order” in our state).  This is, again, a safety issue.

3. Being (actually, it took a year before this happened to me) to file for welfare.  Violence often destroys a family economically.

4.  When I got welfare, my county wanted its money back and went after the father.

5.  I got re-established, before the restraining order was removed, and in no small part by moving a few miles away.  He still saw his kids.

6.  His control was slipping, and he went after the remaining leverage he had over me:  my family of origin, and our kids, and got help removing the restraining order, in the process undermining not only my relationship with them, but also income.

7.  I thereafter had to divert energies from work, seriously so, in to self-preservation, help-seeking, and naturally, I wanted child support enforced.

8.  Through the family court venue, and because of this paradigm (see above Presidential memos, and many, many of the links I have on this site), a battering, non-working, aggressively hostile father was coached and rewarded in the family court venue to get more access to his kids, and his child support arrears reduced.  This reduced me to begging.  Eventually, there was a custody-switch.  Who is impoverished in this scenario?  Not just me!

Do not buy the ‘fatherhood” rhetoric.  It’s more often about something entirely different.  Do not even “buy” it from a President.  

 

~~~~~~
Anecdotal, yesterday/today:

Last night, on our county TV channel, I briefly saw supervisors (including one I called in desperation about 3 yrs ago, and 2) discussing why food stamps are good for the community, because they allow purchases, which sustain jobs (in Safeway, etc.).  I know a woman about my age, and yesterday in heading down to the food bank, I saw her heading off to her underpaid night job at Safeway.  She has retrained herself as a physical therapist and looks forward to having a work day that doesn’t end at 2:30 a.m., on public transportation + ride from a friend.  I am retraining myself (these past few years) in other fields as well, particularly ones which I could do if I had to flee the next time the father of my daughters shows up suddenly at the front door.  

Both of us had left violent relationships; she situated her children, thankfully, with a guardian, who was a friend, and her boys are safe, and she can see them.  Mine went back to their abusively-controlling, still non law-abiding, unrepentant (about the battering, or child support arrears), underemployed father, and I cannot see them, nor do I consider this safe.  Today I am also going to, reluctantly apply for (and will probably get) Food Stamps.  That I am doing this relates to a combination of programs such as Fatherhood Initiative statements combined with Child-Support-Reducing bait (to get certain types of fathers more involved with their kids, and as a result working), plus the ongoing, communal denial of “what happened” with my own family of origin.  

I consider these to be moral issues, and lie in their hearts and consciences. 

 

I apologize for disjunct texts, and am considering switching blog domains — the technology of posting takes too long, and is painful here to get up.   Or, I could skip the commentary and just post links.  We’ll see.

I am coming to the conclusion of distrust of almost any federally-funded mandate (or initiative) to do what it claims to do.  Many times, the exact opposite happens.  We should probably go more local before we all go “loco.”

This just in:  I ehecked my inbox and realized I might be, at least acc. to DHS Secretary (unless she’s been forced down 

Written by Let's Get Honest

April 24, 2009 at 8:45 am

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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