Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos. Link to Travel Page

Pecos Enterprise


Pecos Gab


Living off the Land

Women in Business


Area Papers
West Texas

News Archive
Photo Archive

Smokey Briggs
Jon Fulbright
Peggy McCracken
Rosie Flores

Other Sites


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Tuesday, November 30, 1999

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Divorce ought to be

a bad thing

The rules of society, like all rules, aren't created to deal with the exceptions. They evolve _ over the generations _ as a general set of guidelines.

Unfortunately, it seems to be human nature to take any general "rule" and apply it with out a pinch of common sense or justice. In the process we turn a blind eye people in exceptional situations whose circumstances do not fit the rule.

Eventually, the injustice done to these people begins to cry for the end of the rule even though the rule may have been a pretty good idea in most cases.

I think that's how we got in the current state we're in with divorce and single-parent families.

In the last 50 years we've made the jump from divorce being taboo to it being the norm.

The only folks I can figure who've profited by this are people in exceptional circumstances and divorce lawyers.

Some folks have been saved from suffering through terrible lives with a terrible spouse because society said divorce was wrong _ or saved from suffering the scorn of society after getting divorced from a horrible spouse.

Recognizing this injustice, we have made divorce easily available for those in need with no social penalties or scorn attached. For the wife of the physically abusive husband, for the husband of the adulterous wife, etc… divorce is now pretty painless.

Today, a person can get a divorce for any reason, or no reason, and few in our society raise an eyebrow.

Maybe these folks have gained something. Maybe they have a better chance at happiness than they did 40 years ago.

But in the process, some of us have lost something. Looking around, it looks like the losers out number the winners.

The losers in this social revolution have been the kids of the new disposable marriage.

I have always been convinced, and after two years of personal experience I am more so, that raising a child is a two-man job.

You need a mom and a dad.

Yes, it can be done with just one. But doing it with one parent is like rowing a boat with one oar.

It is no where near as efficient, and no matter how hard he works, the guy with only one paddle is never going to make the same progress as the guy with both oars in the water.

Not to mention the psychological needs of boys and girls. The need for a role model. The need for security. The need to feel loved. All of these can take a beating in a single-parent home.

Time is the arch-enemy of the single mom or dad. There just isn't enough time to get it all done right.

It's hard enough when you can tag-team it with a partner.

So what's the solution?

There probably isn't one.

I certainly wouldn't call for the government to step in. Government intervention never made any problem better.

But divorce shouldn't be the social equivalent of getting a hair cut either. Not when there are kids involved. It's just too easy to hit a bump and walk away when divorce is the easy and acceptable option.

Once a child is in the picture it ought to at least carry some hint of shame or failure or sadness. Something which prevents the divorce from being totally free from social stigma for the parents.

Maybe just a hint of regret that something bad has happened for which a child or two will pay a very steep price.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the Editor and Publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose columns appear on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Fewer hispanics, blacks graduate because of TAAS

In an ongoing lawsuit against the State of Texas attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) have argued that the TAAS test discriminates against Hispanics and blacks. (TAAS stands for Texas Assessment of Academic Skills).

Their entire reasoning for this statement is that since the TAAS test was introduced as a requirement for graduation, fewer Hispanics and blacks have graduated. Hence, the test must racially discriminate.

Such reasoning should be offensive to everyone, and most especially to blacks and Hispanics.

The TAAS test is simply a test of basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. It is a test you can take eight times before graduation and an unlimited number of times after that.

Ultimately, the TAAS test is a pretty low standard.

These are skills you really ought to have mastered before anyone hands you a high school diploma.

If you haven't learned these skills you don't deserve a piece of paper that states that you have.

It's misleading. It's also cheating. It cheats society, future employers, the kids with diplomas they earned, and most importantly, the kid with the un-earned diploma.

If a smaller percentage of Hispanics and blacks pass the test then someone ought to take a hard look at why.

But eliminating the basic standards of an education isn't the answer.

That doesn't help anyone.

Return to top

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
We support Newspapers in Education
Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise