Imagine: One day you’re frolicking in the open air on a large compound, doing your daily chores, and feasting on hearty homegrown fare; the next you’re gagging on a diet of T&A courtesy of MTV, and fast-food compliments of your fat foster mom. As the makeshift mom hollers at you to swallow your zombifying meds—the Texas foster care system is notorious for pumping its charges full of psychotropic drugs—her flaccid live-in lover eyes you lustily.
As I write, many of the kids kidnapped by Texas rangers from the Yearning for Zion ranch are being scattered across the state to far-flung group homes and shelters. In the land of the free and home of the brave hundreds of children can be rounded up and removed from their families based on a hunch or a hoax. No hue and cry will ensue—not from professional civil libertarians, nor from members of the unwatchful dogs in the media, or from presidential candidates vying to uphold—or is it just to hold—the Constitution.
How about it Hillary, Barack? Have you a message of hope for the children seized from the sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Of course you don’t. During an election season it would take a village idiot to defend the quaint idea of the autonomous family. To do that would involve an implicit retreat from the position that children are first and foremost wards of the state, and their parents nothing but low-level civil servants who must obey the state’s child-rearing directives, or else.
The-state-as-parent is a leftist legal doctrine that has been eagerly embraced by the rigor-mortis riddled Right.
Whether they are “plural” or single, Wicca or just weird, bohemian or bourgeoisie—parents should take the kids and skedaddle when they hear that phrase “in the best interests of the child.” It is simply a license for the state to substitute its own judgment for that of the parents. Today it’s polygamist parents—Kool-Aid drinkers is Bill O’Reilly’s favored sobriquet. Tomorrow it’ll be the offspring of home-schoolers or global warming deniers.
The “Texas Department of Child Abduction,” which writer William N. Grigg “sometimes wittily refers to as the Department of Protective and Family Services,” acted on an anonymous call from a shady character named Rozita Swinton. Rozita was released by the Texas ruffians after being briefly detained. The innocent victims of her mischief-making are being held indefinitely, separated from their mothers.
So how about it? Am I free to call the police anon, sic them on someone I dislike and then sit back and watch the show? Apparently so. At least in the kangaroo court of Judge Barbara L. Walther, for whom a tip from a complainant who never materialized constitutes probable cause.
The rules of evidence have been revised in post-constitutional America. If you thought that wrenching babes from their moms ought to be predicated on the testimony of a competent, credible witness, you were wrong. And you were utterly insane if you imagined the defendants ought to get to confront the witness against them in a trial before being punished.
That Sixth Amendment stuff is so yesterday.
In post-constitutional America the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures certainly no longer applies uniformly. Ditto due process. Creepy people, for whom the goons in government have been gunning, are as good as convicted criminals. In the case of the FLDS cult’s kids, the burden of proof has been shifted from the state to its victims.
Rest assured, if these children have not yet been forced into premature sex, they most certainly will be once they hit the foster-care circuit. The nation’s foster parents, bless them, are not known for being upstanding professionals who collect strays out of kindness. Fagin on welfare is more like it. The famed character from Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” also offered his young charges a “free meal” and “lodgings for nothing.”
Nancy Grace (who pimped out her infant twins on TV) and O’Reilly have fulfilled their providential purpose in this case. Both self-styled child champions have been evangelizing for state overreach. I’ve given up on looking for clarity of thought among TV’s tomfools. But whatever happened to compassion?
Children in foster care are more likely to be sexually and physically abused, even killed. I will say though, just to be “fair and balanced,” that only four children died in the care of the state of Texas in 2006.
Whatever are your voyeuristic fantasies about the sex romps on a polygamist commune, of this you can be certain: Relative to the loose, licentious, libertine and precarious foster-care environment, the children seized in the raid on the FLDS property have led a sheltered, chaste life. The gravest abuse still awaits them.
Misplaced compassion is common in sentimental, sensation-driven America. The country cried with Ellen DeGeneres as the comedian slobbered on camera, and begged the “Mutts and Moms” canine adoption agency to return to friends a terrier the agency had removed.
Will no member of the American Idiocracy shed a tear for tots torn from their loving mothers? I realize the FLDS females are quaint, demure (not to mention slim and unslutty!), and don’t occupy pages on myspace.com. Still, have a heart, won’t you?