Bigoted against single parents

To the Editor:

I can forgive Tom West (editor) for wanting his readers to be uncomfortable and miserable for Christmas, but I cannot rationalize his condemnation of the single parent of the mentally disturbed boy who shot children in their school.

He states that something in the boy’s upbringing caused this psychotic episode. His ignorant logic for mental illness is dreadful. Next he will be blaming demons from underground.

Mental afflictions are not caused by single parent homes. I would dread to ask him what his definition of proper nurturing or sufficient guidance is.

Mental illness needs more awareness and earlier detection, but not narrow-minded stupidity. — Sue Kowal, Brainerd

  • Josh

    I read his editorial, and I believe what he is saying that kids in families with moms and dads do better than single parent homes. That is what I got out of it, and it is true that families with a mom and dad typically are healthier socially, emotionally, etc.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      Many of my friends have been married for decades and raised families during the same years I did. Over half of their children married young and divorced while still others had children right out of high school and became single parents themselves. The issues are more complex than to simply suggest that married people raise children who are more stable and better community members. I’m stunned at how many girls straight out of high school in this community end up having babies right after graduation and a huge percentage that I know of came from 2 parent family’s. I don’t know how that squares with healthier socially and emotionally.

      I think economics is a huge factor. It used to be that divorced fathers only had to pay what they could afford based on how much they earned not based on a fair percentage of what it actually cost to raise the child. This has since changed so it will be interesting to see how this alters outcomes. But I also think its important not to confuse the impacts of our country’s very long history of misogynistic legislation that protected men and left their offspring in poverty, with single parents.

  • Jody Scott Olson

    Well said! The corporate office of ECM newspapers is in Coon Rapids, MN. I really think we should start submitting complaints to that office. This type of ignorance is almost a weekly occurrence and legitimate reporting does not get done.

    I raised 3 amazing human beings as a single parent. While it’s true that I was divorced there was nothing “broken” about our home. All of Tom’s writing, including his article about the assassination of JFK grieves the loss of “simpler” times, and harkens back to his reverence for a sunshiny-Glen-Miller America that never existed.

    What Tom has not considered is that when he wrote of the “simpler” times in the early sixties; they were only simpler for straight, white, men. Race crimes and civil rights issues where barbaric and white hot during the very period Tom embraces as our country’s finest days. Domestic violence was a “family matter”. Women were largely dependent and families stayed together because divorce left women and their children living in abject poverty while their counter parts moved on to start new families. Our court systems only required divorced fathers to toss in a few buck each month toward the care of the children they already produced so they could start fresh with new wives and new lives all while gay partners lived and loved in fear and secrecy.

    Unfortunately, Tom’s ignorance and denial of a more varied, broader community infiltrates all of his work at the paper. Where his West Words articles ignore the whole of society except white men, his weekly selection of publishable “relevant stories” completely ignore truly important stories about nursing home abuse, health violations, school board failures, racist remarks by council members and unexplained cuts to federal grants and instead he presents himself and the community with only the nice parts of stories. Stories that frame Morrison County and its leaders as individuals who belong to the sunshiny Glen Miller America that Tom longs for. Never mind that it never existed. Never mind that it still doesn’t. Never mind the papers obligation to report all the facts about the news, not just the parts that pander to Tom West’ sense of nostalgia.

    Beyond the broader issues his articles raise, I think his opinion on this topic regarding legislation is completely inaccurate because too few have access to health insurance and even fewer have access to mental health care. We focus on gun control when we need to focus on mental health, whether that be of the parent, child or both. After the US opened the doors to the atrocities in our asylums we largely left those individuals to rot in our prison systems.

  • Josh

    Robin you really need to stop blaming all the problems on white males! If white males are so bad why are white females marrying them and dating them and having kids with them? The truth is it sucks for single parents and not just the woman. If you want fairness than preach fairness. I respect women who have to try and make it on there own, sometimes it is even there own choice to do so. The ones who have been abandoned have been dealt a bad card, and even though they made a wrong decision to have sex in the first place it is punishment enough for them to be abandoned by the father. I agree the father or mother that abandons their children should be financially responsible for something. Right now when it comes to custody and child support payments the system favors women. Men who haven’t abandoned there children who have half custody or partial custody have to pay until their child is 18 or goes to college. I am not saying this is wrong but in some cases it is. When it comes to custody women are also favored. This is another piece of evidence of what happens to people and a society as a whole that have abandoned God and his moral principals.

    In response to Robin Hensel

    • Nicholas Scott

      You’re misconstruing the argument being made. Saying that, ‘in the past racial and sexual prejudices lead to social problems that are unrecognized in Tom West’s idelic recollection of the past’ is not ‘blaming white men for all the problems’. It’s not even blaming anyone for anything, it’s a factual statement that directly contradicts the central point of Tom West’s argument.

      You have taken a specific statement and extrapolated it into an all-encompassing world view, which is entirely your own assumption.

      As for your point about women receiving preference in custody discussions, that is true and creates problems. However, it’s important to remember there are probably greater problems in the justice system than that; in 2009 African-Americans comprised nearly 40% of the prison population, while making up only 13% of the general population. It is interesting that you have chosen to fixate your argument on the lesser problem that, coincidentally, favors the group you belong to.

      Yes, under some circumstances white males are discriminated against. This is wrong and, as far as I am aware, no one denies that.

      So, I’m not entirely certain what the point you’re trying to make is?

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