I'm still working on something for the next post - #400. Zoinks!
I'm still intrigued by the FLDS issues. I'm not normally a news junky, but...I can't help but follow the twists and turns. Maybe it's because I have a personal connection? Maybe it's because I have children of my own and can see all sides of this issue? I don't know.
One thing that is interesting (and that may be too nice a word), is the way the LDS newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune is covering the story. In the beginning, the were quick to disavow this sect. "Oh no. That's not us. They're nothing like us." Well...yeah. They are, actually. In fact, if you go strictly by who's following the religion you believe in, in the most orthodox ways, then the FLDS have more right to claim the name Latter Day Saint than do the people in "mainstream" LDS. How can you "disavow" something that's so intricately woven into your own history? And, thus...I believe, the reason we're seeing a curious new approach evolve in the Tribune. The tone of the articles have changed. No longer are we seeing the knee-jerk, "run away, run away", "these people are "doing it wrong"" mentality in the reporting. Most, if not all, of the articles seem downright sympathetic towards the FLDS. There isn't as much distancing going on - drawing a line between "us" and "them", if you will. So, why the change? Children are still being abused in Hilldale, Utah. So, is this sudden, sympathetic switch a way to try and shake responsibility for what has been happening, by the very same people, who aren't all that far from Salt Lake? Is it a subconscious attempt to make what's going on in your own backyard seem less horrible than what was going on in the YFZ Ranch? Too close for comfort?
I'll be honest. I don't feel exactly the same as I did two weeks ago. I'm not backing down on my opinion that this is an, overall, good thing to do. Teenagers are still considered minors for a reason. I have a teenager. She's mature. She's bright. She's everything one might ask for in a young lady. Still...there's no way she could consent to marriage. And, I can't think of a circumstance where I would allow her to consent to sex or childbearing at this age. What was occurring on the YFZ Ranch, with regard to raping, molesting, and entrapping teen aged girls (and that's what it is: Entrapment) is bullshit. Those fathers and mothers that perpetuated that abuse and dressed it up in jewel-toned, strangling collar religious rhetoric are criminal. On that, I have not waivered.
But, there's also this part of me that says, "mistakes have been made." And, when you're dealing with something of this magnitude, maybe mistakes are inevitable. That doesn't make the mistakes acceptable. A two year old ending up in a hospital, being treated for shock secondary to dehydration, is one of those mistakes. Let's look at the odds. Odds are, this toddler's mother is a child herself. The dehydration seems to be a result of the abrupt cessation of breast milk and food the toddler is used to. Say what you will about the FLDS, they're hardcore about breastfeeding and eating healthy foods. Even at two, breastfeeding is common in most parts of the world and it really pisses me off when the media acts like two years is perverted or wrong. Why could they not have allowed this toddler to stay in a home close to her mother? Pump the breast milk...if you need to separate them for whatever reason. Have the FLDS moms bring the foods the toddlers are used to into a drop off station. This kid has just had everything she ever knew ripped out from under her...it's not a shocker that she would refuse to eat or drink or even get so stressed out that she makes herself physically ill. Blah, blah, blah... I'm rambling. I just think this could've been done better, but that's Monday morning quarterbacking.
I feel for the state of Texas. As sure as I am that there have been mistakes, I'm also sure that none of the state's services anticipated the gravity or magnitude of this situation. And, the truth is: this should've never, ever been allowed to become this big. These abuses have been catalogued for YEARS! Hell...right before the SLC Olympic games, they rounded up some polygamous and tossed the book at them (Tom Greene, anyone?). That's like putting a bandaid on a gaping head wound. Utah did a "hey...look over there. Don't look at that mess to the south." But, the truth is that the FLDS were largely ignored, despite the knowledge that children were being abused and molestation, incest, and violence were common. And, I doubt you could've found one person in Utah who didn't know about it. Texas would be entirely justified, in my opinion, in asking the state of Utah to pony up. And, Utah needs to own some of this.