Reader Mail

Making It Final

Our divorce culture. Delivering the wrong speech. Houston’s provisions. The lefty who lived up to expectations. Plus more.

5.25.04

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QUE SERA SARAH!
Re: P. David Hornik's Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dogs' Tails:

I can speak from the perspective of a child of divorce. My mother was a "Sarah." She left my dad in 1981 because she said she was "not happy." My brother and I were under 5 years old. I am convinced that the vast majority of children like ourselves, and there are a lot of us out there, react with extreme anger towards our mothers.

Divorce is bad; I think what makes it doubly bad is something I've never heard anyone say before but is one of my undeniable truths of life: stepmothers, unless a font of class and/or religiosity, will be outright hostile to their stepchildren; and most divorced fathers will remarry. The same is not true for step-fathers.

While our step-mom was abusing us, my mother was out "finding herself." It's too long a story why I'm not as upset with my dad.

Selfishness, narcissism, and the belief that gender differences were cultural helped push these women into feelings that their husbands are making them suffer. If a husband "knows" a woman needs to talk but he "refuses" to ask her about her feelings, of course she is going to think he doesn't care or is even hostile to her!

I'm married, and my values are a marked contrast from my mother's. I would never allow done to my children what was done to me. I hear about other divorced children who have problems with relationships; frankly, I just don't think they're that smart. If you can't observe your parents, reason what their mistakes were, and do differently... That being said, I do think there is something to the question, "...could it be we're finding out that -- contrary to the lore and assumptions of the ages -- women just don't like men that much?" I love my husband and he is my best friend, but if something should happened to him, I would not remarry; we are getting a life insurance policy that would allow me continue staying home, unmarried, with no worries. My husband needs me emotionally far more than I need him. My experience, especially with old people, tells me I'm not alone.

Your overall point about the war, I think, is a good one. The divorce types give up easily. Fortunately, we are one generation into the divorce experiment as opposed to just having begun it, and there are a lot of us divorced children who are hellions about commitment! I think that, and the so-called "Roe effect" among other reasons, are why the anti-war movement is only an echo of what that movement was during the Vietnam war.
-- Emily B.

Hornik's insightful article points out a really cogent fact about the war on terror: it's a two-front war. There's a home front and a foreign campaign. To the extent that we promote cultural and moral (or amoral) decadence we invite the kind of outrageous, despicable acts perpetrated against us like 9/11. And it is worth noting that the same media-elite, Hollywood crowd, and Clintonites who are doing everything they can to discredit President Bush and our efforts in Iraq are the very purveyors of the moral perversion and decadence that help to insight the fanaticism of our enemies. To win the war against terrorists and the nation states that support them we must not only wage an aggressive campaign against them on their soil, we must do what we can in our own lives and in our communities to promote moral truth in all we do and think and say. It's time for a spiritual reawakening if renewal and regeneration are to take place -- which we need to survive as a nation.
-- Marc Miller

What's to figure out? For all the discussion it boils down to this:

• Men are creatures of habit.
• Women are creatures of curiosity.

Women spend half their lives trying to figure out their husbands and once they have they get bored. The fact that it took them that long to figure us out is because we men hold our features closely guarded like poker players. The trick is to keep the curiosity factor going on the positive side.

How one achieves this is beyond my capacity, being now in my second marriage. But I will close with this. My grandmother, God rest her soul, had a very useful nugget -- "Like someone before you love them, love them before you marry them. It works better in the end."
-- John McGinnis

ROGER, HOUSTON
Re: RiShawn Biddle's Bust Times:

RiShawn Biddle writes: "Taxpayers in Houston, whose fund faces a $1.5 billion deficit, are looking to get from under a state-mandated rule to meet pension obligations, while citizens in rival Dallas are on the hook for $2 billion."

It was not a "rule," but a new constitutional requirement approved by Texas voters overwhelmingly last year. However, Houston voters were able to "opt out" of that provision in a special election held in Houston on May 15. Now, the real work begins on fixing the underfunded municipal employees pension liability (deficit isn't quite the right term) here.

It's an issue that our local politicians, at least up until recently, have handled poorly, and that our local newspaper has covered poorly. This problem didn't come about overnight, although one wouldn't know that from the newspaper's coverage.

Our new conservative watchdog effort (ChronicallyBiased.com) hopes to keep a closer eye on issues like this, and perhaps to spur the local newspaper to engage in less cheerleading for favored local politicians and entities, and provide better coverage of topics -- like this one -- important to Houstonians and Texans.
-- Kevin Whited
ChronicallyBiased.com

MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Re: Jed Babbin's Hope Is Not a Policy (and Robert A. Berdon's "French Collapse" letter in Reader Mail's What's So Funny?):

I just watched the President deliver his dull speech. Too bad he didn't deliver the one Jed Babbin wrote. To be sure, if he had the media and the Democrats would be shrieking from the housetops all night, all day tomorrow and all week about his failure to understand how an American President should behave in this world, about his failure to apologize again for Abu Ghraib, about his stupidity and his altogether vicious incompetence -- and one more thing: he would have won the strong support of most of his countrymen, and gone a long way toward nailing down his reelection.
-- John G. Hubbell
Minneapolis, Minnesota

How often have I thought of sitting down and writing a speech the President SHOULD deliver. As did Jed Babbin and his offering was fairly close to being possible. Dubya would probably have to leave all that stuff about the Democrats as it is too blatantly political, albeit very true.

But the rest of the missive is right on and how I wish, how I desperately wish, that President Bush would sit down and talk straight to us idiots out here in la-la land. I mean some real straight, down and dirty talk.

Congress accuses this administration of being very tight-lipped and I must agree. Speech after speech after Meet the Press, Bush says the same old platitudes and mouths the same stale phrases.

Which is why the media and Democrats are winning. Because they have the stage and Bush lets them have it.

This war on terror is as much a propaganda war as it is anything else. Yet no one seems to care about the propaganda foisted on the American people. I hear America broadcasts into Iraq so why can't we get some of that propaganda here in America?

America will be done with Iraq and the war on terror if the media liberals and power-hungry Democrats get their way. But the American public, the great unwashed living their quiet legal lives, have polled time and time again to support the war on terror.

This administration is going to lose this war because they were too timid to give some straight and serious talk. If the American public gives up, President Bush, the war on terror and democracy in Iraq will be totally lost.

And I won't blame the Democrats and I won't blame the media. This American will blame the cowardly administration that let political correctness rule and didn't fight back with their most powerful weapon: the truth.
-- Pat Fish
Georgetown, Delaware

Please consider the Third Jihad when you comment on what President Bush says tonight at the Army War College. This article was written a month ago, and can be found here. Here is an extract:

The so-called "War On Terror" did not start on 9-11. That was when many realized that the United States was in protracted asymmetrical warfare with Islamic militants. This conflict started in the 1970s and will last decades, and longer if the Islamic militants get overt state sponsorship. As in all warfare this is fundamentally a battle of wills. Two questions must be answered:

• What is a realistic estimate of the current situation?
• What is the best strategy to achieve victory at the lowest possible cost?
-- Dr. Sam Holliday
Director, Armiger Cromwell Center

Too bad President Bush didn't see your speech first. It would have been a breath of fresh air. I enjoy listening to Mr. Babbin on KSFO in San Francisco.
-- Billy Maher, Jr.

I loved "Once More Into the Screech." Thanks for the article.
-- Larry Morris

CHEWLESS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Attack of the Killer Cicadas:

Re: the Killer Cicada article by Shawn Macomber, he states that the number of plants cicadas eat are outnumbered only by the creatures that eat cicadas. Cicadas don't eat plants. They don't eat anything. They may drink a little water. In their nymph stage, they suck sap from tree roots, but they have no chewing mouthparts.
-- Lisa Ryan

COMING THROUGH
Re: Sean Michael Campbell's letter (under "It Gets Worse") in Reader Mail's What's So Funny?:

Hey Sean, I'm really surprised to find out they loosened your leather straps long enough for you to pen that drivel. To say that Nick Berg deserved to have his head sawed off because he went to Iraq alone is like saying you deserve to be let out of the looney bin before you are cured.
-- Greg Goff
Casper, Wyoming

Yes! Yes!

I knew the left would find some way to excuse the Berg murder; I just didn't know how. Many thanks for the letter from Sean Michael Campbell with his brilliant answer.

It was Berg's own fault. He shouldna been there. He was askin' for it. Look at the way he was dressed.
-- Fred Z

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