tomorrow a friend of mine goes to do battle in the halls of blindfolded justice. she goes not so much on behalf of herself, but on behalf of her children.... and we know just how much children are valued by our larger culture... our own president just declared victory against them. this is one reason why a blindfolded person with a sword is an accurate depiction of our legal system. by the time the judge gets finished, i'm pretty sure she'll have decided it'd be quicker and easier and far less painful to blindfold him and let him take a swing at her with a broadsword.
she said to me, today.... it'd be easier if i'd stayed. at least i know my kids would be clothed and fed and cared for.
but it wouldn't be authentic. i've known a lot of people who stay married for "the sake of the kids." i always feel sorry for their kids. because kids know when relationships aren't real. and for people in abusive relationships... if you stay and be abused... you're teaching your kids it's okay to be abusive, and it's okay to be abused. and it's not.
i know because i was. my ex husband is a sick, sad, sorry man who blamed me for everything he thought was wrong in his life. he's still blaming me, in fact. now it amuses me to think how much power he thinks i have. (i do, of course, but i sure don't intend to waste it messing up his life.) i found the courage to leave after i'd sold two novels and he suggested i quit writing. you wouldn't be the first woman, he said, to put her career on hold for her family.
i filed for divorce shortly afterwards. it was a brutal, bitter, bloody battle, waged across three states, eleven years, and utterly unfair... because he IS a lawyer. and i'm not.
the fighting's mostly done, however... libby is finally old enough to decide for herself when to see him. he's remarried to a lady of the cloth who thinks it's her job to save him. (bless you, too, sister, for i don't think the blessed virgin herself could please him. i'm here if you need a place to run.)
i remember how in the beginning, he puffed himself up like a guinea hen and said... gird your loins... you're going to find out what it's like to litigate against me!
i remember i looked at him, this silly, vain, proud little man who'd never have gone to law school at all if i'd not encouraged him (be careful what you wish for is a lesson i had to learn in spades), and i said...
you can win every battle, but you've already lost the war. you lost me.
so just remember that, sister... when you stand before that judge tomorrow, in the halls of blinded justice in the courts of men where the needs of children are weighed like human chattel. they can win every battle, but they've already lost the war.
strength to your sword arm, dear susan. sleep sweet. ;)