Okay, Tennessee, Listen Up.

Today, I’m over at Nashville is Talking and I’m looking at the various stuff going on in the state. Peruse with me right quick.

  • A murdered pastor’s children are missing. Authorities presume his wife has them and, I would suspect, presume she is the reason he’s murdered.
  • A Robertson County teacher’s aide has been arrested on charges of molestation.
  • Some guy shot a little kid.

Who are the most dangerous people in Tennessee for children to be around? On any given day, if one follows the news, it appears that the answer is straight people.

Straight people are all the time killing their spouses and running off with the kids, beating their kids, molesting other people’s kids, and randomly shooting kids.

I don’t have any statistics handy, but anecdotal evidence would seem to prove that there’s some link between heterosexuality and crappy treatment of children.

And yet, we don’t ban heterosexuals from fostering children, even though most crimes against children are committed by heterosexuals.

Why do you suppose that is?

Maybe because monsters are monsters regardless of their sexual orientation? Or because it doesn’t take a genius to see that if heterosexuals are most of the population and they have most of the kids, they’re going to be most of the people NOT committing crimes against children as well as most of the people committing them? Or maybe because what one does sexually with other consenting adults has little to do with what kind of parent one is?

To go off on a tangent, for a second, there are some people who believe that every child should have a mother and a father who are married to each other and that the state ought to make getting divorced as difficult as possible to ensure that it’s hard for people to break up two-parent households. And, when rhetoric about this gets heated, it often devolves into this idea that single women make shitty parents and cannot provide children with everything they need.

So, you’d think that a single mom like Tennessee State Representative Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) would be a little bit sympathetic to homosexuals who are willing to foster children. She, after all, is in another group often accused of being unfit parents.

But no.

In a story I first saw at Pandagon and followed to Out&About, Maggart is running around telling people that the reason she’s opposed to allowing gay people to become foster parents is that

I don’t believe taking these children out of one precarious situation and putting them in homes where there is an abundance of evidence that homosexual couples do not make the optimum family unit. We also have seen evidence that homosexual couples prey on young males and have in some instances adopted them in order to have unfretted [sic] access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse. Some of the evidence we were presented showed that lesbian and gay couples have a higher rate of breaking up than heterosexual coupes as well as higher rates of promiscuity outside of their relationships.

Jesus Christ.

I don’t even know where to start because the fucktardedness of this situation should be so obvious to anyone who thinks about it for three seconds.

But here we go.

1. There are not enough foster parents to go around. How can we, as a state, in good conscience run around begging women to choose life if we don’t have a competent system in place to make sure that the life they’ve chosen to inflict on those kids isn’t one of perpetual hell?

2. Most child molesters are straight men. By and large, study after study shows this. By Maggart’s “logic” we should pass a law making it illegal for straight men to foster children. Look at that poor Russian girl last year who was adopted by that monster who sexually abused her and posted the photos on the internet for his evil internet buddies to enjoy. That was all over the news. We know straight men do this. And yet we don’t pass sweeping legislation barring straight men from being foster parents because we know the vast majority of straight men don’t have any even remote interest in fucking children.

3. In our society, a father and a mother who are married to each other is the optimal family unit. Does Maggart believe that single women such as herself ought not to be allowed to foster children?

There are already not enough foster families for all the kids who need them. If we ban homosexuals from fostering children because some homosexuals are child molesters and some are promiscuous and some break up with their partners frequently, aren’t we also obliged to ban other groups with members who exhibit unfavorable characteristics, such as straight men and single women?

And, if homosexuals, straight men, and single women are not allowed to foster children, who’s left? Wives of servicemen who are overseas? Women whose husbands are in prison for life? Nuns who are married to God?

Is it so important to punish gay people that we’ll hurt children to do it? Is that what it comes down to? That it’s so important for us as a state to make sure gay people know we think they’re sinning evil freaks that we’ll do it at the expense of suffering children who need someone, anyone, to give two shits about them?

Because that’s pretty fucking disgusting. And Representative Maggart, I’m pretty fucking disgusted with you.

The Picture on My Fridge

The Butcher hung a picture of the five of us–me, him, the recalcitrant brother, and the other Reverend’s two kids–on the fridge a while ago. I think I’m thirteen or fourteen.

I might as old as fifteen, though, looking at the fact that I was wearing a long sleeved sweater and a coat in the house, and I spent much of my first two years of high school trying to work up the courage to kill myself outright without being detected and stopped. I had to keep the evidence of that hidden.

My earliest lame attempt was to just stop eating, which was nice in some ways because I got all these compliments from the people in my church about how good I looked and so I was convinced, in that pathetic, narcissistic way you have when you’re a moody, self-destructive teenager, that if people noticed me, they would feel really bad when I was gone and boy did I want everyone around me to feel as bad as I felt.

My grandma caught on, though. Because you don’t decline Grandma’s beef and noodles without there being some problems. She did not get up at five in the morning to roll out noodles so that you could sit there sullenly refusing to eat.

After that, I made sure to keep what I was up to hidden.

Anyway, the picture.

I think the Butcher likes that picture because the five of us are all together and we’re all doing our best to look bad ass and we’ve all got toy guns and we’re all getting along. For him, it’s a great moment.

I look at that photo, though, and I have really mixed emotions.

I’ve known the other reverend’s boys all my life and I love them like brothers. And, until I got to college and met the Super Genius, there was no one else on the planet I felt like I could talk to about what was going on in our home who really intrinsically understood it–who knew how shitty the job was, in general, and who also got what it meant to be living in the fallout of some nasty family crap.

I look at that photo and I see five hugely fucked up kids at a moment before it’s about to get much, much worse and my heart breaks for them every time I go to get the milk.

And this is a change. For a long time, I had no sympathy for them. I felt like, if only they’d tried harder, they wouldn’t have ended up in the messes they ended up in. But I see now that we were so young. I mean, I really get that we were children and that we were trying as hard as we could and if that wasn’t enough to keep our lives from being shitty, that wasn’t something we really had control over.

It’s weird, but I think it’s that slow realization–that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens to you–that makes it easier to be an adult and take responsibility for the choices you can make. Does that make sense? You can stop blaming yourself for the shit you can’t do anything about and you can get to the business of doing the things you can.

Hmm. I guess I can’t quite articulate what I’m getting at.

Anyway, when Sarcastro was over yesterday, he saw the photo and he asked me if that was during my “Goth” phase and I laughed it off. But I was embarrassed, a little, that it was that obvious how depressed and pissed off I was.

I mean, why would a person look at a picture of a sullen, selfish, thirteen year old every day?

But it’s because I love her.