Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, November 30, 1999
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
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
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
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:
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.
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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
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