As an aside, I’ll just say that I only have seven more blocks to go! I’m really excited about piecing this together and seeing how it turns out. And seeing if I have enough yarn to put it together…
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Josh Duggar. Well, no, I’ve been mostly thinking about his wife and wondering if she’s going to be able to overcome her upbringing and do the things that will protect her children from a guy who has touched children before and who lies about his current immoral activities.
Sometimes, I wonder if it’s weird to still be concerned about morality. What I even mean by morality. But I think I mean something like morality being the things we agree to hold each other to that are not harmful to us but help guide us to be kinder and more generous than we might otherwise be. I know I’m using “morality” to mean something very different than what the Duggars do.
But I’m mostly fascinated because it’s interesting to me to see these folks living by a set of rules they would impose, and in fact are working to impose, on the rest of us, under the guise of it being for our own good. And it seems to me that there’s a pretty clear promise, a very attractive promise, that, if you follow these rules, your life will turn out okay. That’s what people are buying into, the idea that there’s some right way to live and, if you can suss out what it is and do it, everything will be okay.
At a point like this, do they just try harder to live the right way? Is there some moment where they might realize that they’ve been doing something wrong? And/or could they realize that the whole premise is a lie? There is no secret path that, if you can discover it and follow it, will guarantee that your life will work for you.
There is only striving and questioning and failing and trying again. That’s why other people try to teach their kids to be curious, critical thinkers, even if it means they’re occasionally bratty monsters. This is why feminism, even if women are often bratty monsters. Because people have to make their own ways in the world and it’s easier if they have some sense of themselves as being capable of it.
The kind of lifestyle the Duggars promote gives an illusion of safety and certainty. But look at Josh’s wife. If she follows the tenets of her religion, her family is not safe and its future is uncertain, because Josh is a terrible leader. And she could sit around hoping that, somehow he figures it all out and becomes a good leader and deserving of the loyalty she believes a wife should show the head of her household, but every day she spends waiting for that to happen is a day her children are at risk.
I don’t think she’ll do the right thing, because the right thing in these circumstances is considered wrong and sinful by her religion and her family (and his), so even seeing it as the right thing or an actual possible thing, would be very difficult for her. But I hope.
The whole Duggar story has always given me a sick feeling; what were we watching but the systematic stunting of the futures of a whole lot of innocent kids? This guy, who knows, would he have been a molester if he’d had a normal life? You know what, I don’t care about him. I care about all those girls, the ones given substandard homeschool educations and shipped off to be babyfarms as soon as possible, never going to college, never leaving the claustrophobic world of their clan. It doesn’t break any laws to do that to your kids, but I could never watch it. It felt obscene to make entertainment out of it. What I really wanted was for the kids to get themselves on camera saying “Please help us, we want to get out of here.” And I can’t help wondering if the network would ever let it air if they did.
I think that’s part and parcel when living with such a strict black/white sense of morality. Everything must fall into the category of good or evil. And so even if it’s their son doing bad, he’s one of them and therefore myst be rationalized as good.
And I desperately hope that the kids can get free to this mess. But I doubt it. It is such an insular society and dissent means excommunication. They would lose EVERYTHING, literally. And so what’s bad must be considered good.
And I can’t even blame them, like North Korea, they have been taught a terrbly skewed version of the outside world. And they fear the unknown terrors out here far more than the known terrors at home.