Don't You Dare Use the 'V' Word!
by Casey Alexander
A pointless rant about the ongoing annoyance of politically correct and incorrect terms.
I'd like to start this editorial by first saying that I mean no disrespect to the judge I am about to quote. He seems to try to keep children's best interest in mind when making a ruling and quite frankly I just get a good feeling about his integrity and character. In short, I like the guy. However (there's always a however, huh?), he did say one thing that made me scratch my head.
The other night, at Texas Fathers For Equal Rights, we had the above mentioned Tarrant County family court judge speak at one of our meetings. One of our members was describing his situation to the judge and the member said something like this, "First of all, I'm not in a custody battle yet.......but, I'm at least trying to get visitation with my son."
"Wait a second", interrupted the judge, "Let's analyze what you just said. 'Custody battle'? Why do you have it refer to it as a battle? Your child doesn't need to be in the middle of a battle."
Good point, I thought to myself. The word "battle" seems a little strong considering there is an innocent child in the middle. I believe words are more powerful then we know and sometimes one can say something very prophetic without realizing it. Freudian slips are alive and well. Perhaps this guy can avoid a battle.
Then the judge said, "And don't call it 'visitation'. That just makes it sound like you are only visiting your child. You are his father. Call it possession."
RED FLAG. Possession?
Now, I realize that "visitation" is referred to as "possession and access" in the Texas Family Code. However, if we are going to choose politically correct terms and our only choices are visitation and possession, I think I'll go with visitation when it comes to my son. I'd rather visit him then possess him. I'd like to possess all the cool playstation games he has at his mother's house.
The political incorrectness of the term "visitation" is bought to us by the same group of people who, "Don't use your child as a pawn." and "Don't use your child as a means to an end." In other words, treat your child like a person and not an object.
Now, which verb makes a child sound more like an object....."possess" or "visit"? I mean, many people have referred to me as "the devil himself" (especially a few mothers who are now paying child support and a couple of former board members) but I don't think I really have the power to actually possess a person do I? Trust me, if I had that power I would be floating around in the spirit world at the Tarrant County Court House jumping into the souls of lawyers, judges and ............ never mind.
Back to my point. It's too bad their is not a single word in the English dictionary for "quality time with my child because I love him* ."
Another thing that annoys me: There are judges who jump every time a party uses the phrase "my child" instead of "our child". Please. Aren't there more important things then semantics when a judge is ruling on where a child is going to live?
When you are in the grocery store and you speak to a person about your son's little league game and that person is not familiar with your son's name then you say, "My son hit a home run the other day." You don't say, "Our son hit a home run the other day," and certainly the grocery clerk doesn't slam a gavel shaped cucumber onto the cash register and remind you that every child has two parents and neither of you own (but somehow take turns possessing) the child.
OK folks. Here comes a politically incorrect statement. It is completely innocent, completely appropriate and the fact that I utter it says NOTHING about what type of father I am. However, in a courtroom, it could very well influence some people's opinion of my ability to parent. Ready? Here it goes.............
"I really enjoyed VISITING with MY son at his school the other day."
Heaven forbid. Call CPS.
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