Family Law reform movement - time for introspection?

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Wed Mar 18 2009 - 17:26:11 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith,

Two years ago I came away excited from the 2007 DC Rally.  A lot of
good people and I felt real momentum building for reform. I haven't
felt so hopeful since then, you?

I still believe reform will happen, because recognizing and protecting
basic human rights has Justice on our side.  But it may take a little
longer than is really necessary... Why?

What 'they' are doing wrong.
A few disturbing trends as I scan messages on several reform lists:

* Like to share news messages where Mom kills/abuses the kids.

  I think it's done to show women are flawed also; although recent
  news stories show men win hands-down when it comes to murderous
  rampages.  I ask, "what's the point?"

  I've been told it's education?  Especially necessary to report the
  excesses of the Feminazis! We need to present these facts to the
  public so they can form a balanced opinion.  I ask, "of what?"

* Like to share news of the foster parent that kills/abuses the kids.

  Same arguments as above, only applied to social services!

* Stores of corrupt judges, lawyers, and politicians.

  More of the same rationale?  Again, "What's the point?"

* Lastly, I need help with MY kids. What can you do for ME?

A quote worth remembering from my local Assemblyman. What would it
take for real reform (beyond simple wording changes about shared
parenting).  He said,

  "John, it would take a sea change in public opinion."

What's the point: "It's not about them.  It's us."
This is the Christian season of Lent, a time of introspection prior to
Easter.  Some say a time for "fasting, weeping, and mourning."  Maybe
we should think about that and take a good look in the mirror?

It seems right now we "weep & mourn" over the injustices done to us by
others.  We're wasting our time.  The "weeping & mourning" called for
in Lent is over our own failures and the hurt we have caused.

We are all brothers & sisters, they are not that different from us.
The GREAT Civil Rights of the past were defined & won by the
sacrifices made by people who believed.

    What caused a "sea change" in public opinion regarding
    Christianity in the Roman Empire?  The Coliseum and other public
    spectacles of Christians killed and tortured to avoid a simple
    public denial of their faith.

    What caused a "sea change" giving women the right to vote?  The
    sacrifices of many suffragettes who risked jail and mistreatment for
    their cause.

    What caused a "sea change" to break the grip of segregation?
    Black's who were willing to sit in front of the bus and accept the
    consequences to their life, job, and family.

When it comes to Civil Rights, it doesn't matter what "they" do.  What
are we doing?  A nice quote from Gandhi:

    Appealing to the common sense and morality of his adversary was
    key. "It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel
    themselves honored by humiliation of their fellow human beings."
    Satyagraha (NonViolent Action) assumes there is a constant
    dialog between the opponents with a view to ultimate
    reconciliation. Insults, threats, and propaganda only serve to
    obstruct the goal.

Ready for a look in the mirror?
Well, me first.  I didn't like it.  I sort of 'weanied' out the last
couple of months.  I started a campaign walking outside the offices of
Assemblyman Robert Oaks, and then outside the local County Courthouse,
and then inside the local County Courthouse...

I was willing to be arrested & jailed to demonstrate my beliefs -- but 
I sure didn't want to be....

I planned to slowly escalate actions, but then March came and I was
within 30 days of seeing my son, Domenic.  He has Spring break from
March 21-28. So I stopped and took a break (as I have done in the
past).  Many of you don't even have the option of seeing your kids,
sorry - I'm not willing to sacrifice any time with mine?

In the past, some people have said I was brave -- well, the border is
vague between the Land of Fools and the Land of the Brave.  Also, the
line between the Land of the Reasonable and the Land of the Cowards &
Selfish is not well marked!

How about you?
About a month ago we sent out a story about a jailed parent who was
not eating to protest unjust treatment regarding his family.

His jail address is there and we asked people to write.  There are over
5000 names on this list (not counting redistribution).  I've gotten a
couple of letters from Bill Coleman -- he was happy, he said two other
people had written him!  Imagine that!

     Why didn't you take the time to write?  Maybe now?

I often get "heated" email where folks tell me how fouled up the system
is and go to great lengths to lay out some excellent arguments about
where things have gone wrong.  I reply, but also ask them:

     Would you mind telling me what you are willing to sacrifice right
     now to help make reform a reality and help others?

I had a few people who were willing.  The vast majority send no reply
at all.  What would you say?  I think here is how most folks feel --
not the kind of thing you'd want on a resume!

     Well, I'm not going to risk my job, or my family, or my
     reputation over it.  I've been beaten up by the system enough,
     why should I voluntarily sacrifice even more?

     Honestly, I think the problem is too big and nothing I do will
     really matter.  Talk is easy, I can share my ideas, my time, and
     help "educate" other people and offer support.  But go to jail,
     loose my home -- not gonna happen! Sorry.

You know, nothing really wrong with that.  It's honest.  I think once
we are honest with ourselves, we stop worrying about "them", and focus
more on what we can & should do....

Some comfort and optimism.
Those same problems confronted the movements of the past.  People
asked those same questions -- and the great Sea Change occurred.

    "Segregation yesterday, today, and forever!" -- not any more.

And what is Lent all about?  I hardly believe we remember Jesus of
Nazareth for the great things he said.  We remember him for actions
which clearly showed what he believed and who he was.... death on a
cross.... and resurrection.

Hopefully, our actions as parents will begin to show how much we
believe in our dignity and value as parents.  There will be sacrifice
required, but great rewards also.

Your FEEDBACK is welcome, and when you write:

     Would you mind telling me what you are willing to sacrifice right
     now to help make reform a reality and help others?

Best regards!
                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/
A Kid's Right to Both Parents!
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