Your Turn 2-20-03
In last week's paper, we mistakenly lopped off the name of Illinois Heritage, the magazine of the Illinois State Historical Society, which published the original version of Stacy Pratt McDermott's article on Abraham Lincoln, divorce lawyer.
Divorce is still bad
Dear Illinois Times,
As a lifelong resident of central Illinois who has been through our modern divorce system, I found Stacy Pratt McDermott's article ["Houses Divided," February 13] interesting. I want to say that Stacy did an excellent job researching and putting this article together. With that said, I would like to be critical of the article's theme, in a respectful fashion.
The irony of the article's title was not lost on me. The same greatest American President, who dedicated most of his presidency to holding our "Union" together, was the same person who helped to create our modern, destructive divorce industry.
The theme of this article seemed to be the last few lines: "Lincoln helped his clients to remove themselves from difficult marriages and assert their independence. This newfound option helped to change the roles and expectations of modern American women."
I support the idea of men and women having a variety of justifications for divorce. However, having gone through our modern divorce courts, I can honestly say that we should not be proud as women, or a nation, of what our modern "no-fault" divorce system has done to children, as well as the traditional nuclear family. While the author has her facts right, she seems to be celebrating the same outlived ideas of radical feminism. The author correctly pointed out that: "during the 19th century familial relationships were becoming less patriarchal in nature." This trend has continued to our modern day. The snapshot we are left with is an America that has 30 percent of its children living without their biological fathers.
The point I am trying to make is that we should not be celebrating outdated notions that men are evil and women are good. Women and men are equal on those traits. We can do better than this. Men and women should be celebrating our differences, instead of destroying our culture over these horrible gender wars. The only casualty is our nation's future: our children.
Do you want to talk about solutions? It should be harder to get married. Personal responsibility should be emphasized in reforming our family courts. Custody for divorced parents should be 50/50. If neither parents has a record of abuse, there is no need for long, destructive custody battles. Parents should have equal rights to their children. The Constitution of the United States guarantees this under the fourteenth amendment.
The fight for women's rights arrived decades ago. What about children's rights? Women can choose to get pregnant at any time. Women do not have to tell or include the biological father, unless they choose to. Women can then choose to abort that child at any time.
If the father is lucky enough to know about his future child, he has no say whether that child is born or not. If the mother chooses to have the child, the father usually has to support the mother and child, without getting equal access to his child. All this because of the "pill" and our modern family court system.
Our nation was not founded on a principle of no personal responsibility. We do not have to look very far to see the effects of a destructive divorce industry on our children and our country. We can do better than this.
Welcome, Blagojevich appointee
I am new in town and desperate for good restaurant food. Regarding Illinois Times, February 13-19, 2003, PAGE 7. The gentleman pictured on this page, Mr. One-Eyed Jack ["Good-bye One-Eye"], is sitting in a restaurant with lots of photos on the wall in the background. What is the name of the restaurant and where is it located? Is it good? Thank you.
That was Sam's Italian Pizza, 731 E. North Grand. For more restaurant information, check out the Food & Fun section, page 21.
Stamp out hyperbole!
Dear Dusty Rhodes,
Who, what, when, where, why, and how was your life wrecked? ["Full Disclosure: How One-Eyed Jack wrecked my life," February 13]
Get some self-respect.
The article on the problems with District 186 is so true ["Dis-integration," February 6]. However, our children need some solutions with or without government intervention. We can't just sit around and wait for someone to answer the call for quality education. The time is now, and we must provide the answers.
Our children enter the school system with five years of history. This history can be good or bad but we must build on what they bring. Therefore, we can use their history to build a legacy for a lifelong learner. We can seize the teachable moments each day that they enter the classroom. For instance, if most children watch television, we can use a program to teach the core subjects. We can use the time that they spend watching television to introduce them to critical thinking skills. We can give them the tools necessary to become a problem-based learner by allowing them to create a problem, real or make believe, that can be solved by using various subjects in the curriculum. By researching the problem, the children will learn problem-solving skills that will remain with them for a lifetime.
There are no easy answers to the problems that our children face, but as a parent and an educator I believe that we can use what we have to achieve what we can. We can't wait because if we do we will lose our chance to impact the children of this generation.