The next Father of our Country?

(Be sure to see the ensuing discussion in which readers, while agreeing that Giuliani is not suited for the presidency, argue that his loss of custody of his children does not by itself show he did anything wrong.)

In July 2002 Donna Hanover was granted full custody of her children in her divorce from Rudolph Giuliani. Take in that simple fact: the former mayor of New York City, one of the most prominent figures in America, was denied joint custody of his own children. Yet the conservatives think he’s suited to be president of the United States.

- end of initial entry -

Nora B. writes:

You are implying that the fact that Rudolph Giuliani was denied joint custody of his own children makes him somehow even less capable to be “a father” of your country.

During the months I am following your blog I have learned to respect you as a man of inordinate intellectual honesty and even the few points where I happen to disagree with you, you made well. But I can’t but disagree entirely with this one.

I hesitate to make myself a judge of a candidate for the highest office in a country that isn’t mine and in which I don’t even live. However, all your OTHER points against him make sense to me, so I am not defending Mr. Giuliani. But the custody point is, for want of a better word, not appropriate. Countless men in your country have lost custody of their children because of the stifling feminist influence on your legal system and society generally and because of the misandrist climate it is creating and cultivating for decades now, and not because there was anything wrong with them.

Surely Mr. Giuliani is a womanizer and a louse of the worst sort and if you had used that against him, I’d be on the side of your argument entirely, but the custody case ALONE makes him just another victim of one of the vilest “-isms” that rule our Western societies. Not more, not less.

And frankly, I’d hate as much to have Ms. Hanover as a mother as I’d hate to have Mr. Giuliani as a father.

Maybe I have a preternatural aversion against feminism, but I sincerely think that its influence on society is the most corrosive one of all leftist and politically correct causes we are suffering.

LA replies:

My impression, which may be wrong, is as follows. In the past, it is true that the woman normally got full custody. But in recent decades in the U.S., the norm is joint custody, unless one of the parents has behaved in a way that disqualifies him or her. So I assumed, though I may be wrong, that if the judge gave full custody to Donna Hanover, it was because of Giuliani’s bad behavior.

Especially when the father was, as in this case, a prominent and popular public figure, one must assume that the judge found egregious conduct on his part in order to justify denying him joint custody of his children.

My understanding is that the rise of feminism did not lead to women automatically being given full custody, but rather that the period of feminism has corresponded with men getting joint custody.

Nora B. replies:
Of course Giuliani may have been truly deserving of having his custody rights revoked. But considering that the opposite side is Donna “Vagina Monologues” Hanover makes me NOT WANT to believe that. To misquote W.C. Fields: “Anybody who divorces that woman can’t be all bad.”

A reader writes:

Nora B. writes: “And frankly, I’d hate as much to have Ms. Hanover as a mother as I’d hate to have Mr. Giuliani as a father.”

Not fair. By all that we can see, including the affection of her children, Hanover has been a good mother, having had to pick up the pieces of what Giuliani left. Why should she get smeared in the interests of equity?

LA replies:

I also was repelled when Donna Hanover, then the wife of the mayor of New York, appeared in that play. But let’s remember that at that period of time Giuliani was virtually publicly carrying on an affair with his assistant Christine Lategano. Let’s also remember that by today’s accepted standards (i,e., the stanrdards guiding a judge in a divorce case), there is nothing objectionable about “The Vagina Monologues,” while the kind of behavior Giuliani engaged in is still considered objectionable.

By the way, it’s amazing that “conservative” Giuliani supporters, echoing the Clinton supporters of the Nineties, say that private behavior doesn’t matter. Don’t they see the chaos, private AND public, affecting individuals, families, and our whole society, that bad “private” behavior leads to?

See, in my discussion of George Washingon’s first inaugural address, the passage dealing with the “indissoluable union” between private virtue and public happiness. Scroll down to where I say, “Then, at about midpoint in the address…”

The New Nationalist writes:

You write:

“But in recent decades in the U.S., the norm is joint custody, unless one of the parents has behaved in a way that disqualifies him or her. So I assumed, though I may be wrong, that if the judge gave full custody to Donna Hanover, it was because of Giuliani’s bad behavior. Especially when the father was, as in this case, a prominent and popular public figure, one must assume that the judge found egregious conduct on his part in order to justify denying him joint custody of his children.”

You would think that would be the case—it stands to perfect reason—but you would be wrong. As an attorney, let me assure you that the family law system is heavily, even ridiculously stacked against men. Despite objectively neutral and perfectly liberal statutes that command that the husband and wife be treated as equals and that only the “best interests of the child” guide the court’s hand, other statutes interpret that command in such a manner as almost always to hand the children to the mother.

For example, here in my beloved Oregon, the court is perfectly, perfectly neutral on the matter, by law. All they want to know is who has historically been the childrens’ primary care giver? Who cleans their scraped knees? Makes them cereal and toast? Takes them to the doctor? Picks them up from the bus after school? Takes them to the park?

Sure, under such an analysis it is perfectly possible that the parent so situated is the father, but in practice this is almost never so. Enough of our traditional family and division of labor still stands so that it is the mother who is largely engaged in these duties.

Add to this the moral disaster that is our wonderfully modern “no fault” divorce laws, in which anyone can demand a family-destroying divorce for any reason whatsoever, and our “neutral” courts engage in an analysis that looks remarkably like this in most cases:

  • Wife files for divorce. Despite what you hear on Oprah and see on Lifetime, the fact is that the vast majority of divorces are filed by women.

  • Court takes jurisdiction, family submits documentation on current jobs, assets, children, etc.

  • It’s All About the Children (if “it’s for the children” or “kids first” doesn’t have you reaching for your sidearm by now, you aren’t a proper conservative‚Ķ) so the court says:

  • Who is making the primary income? Okay, let me plug this into a fomula. Okay, primary income earner, you must pay $458 a month to your children in child support. This means you, Dad.

  • Who is the primary caregiver? Who cleans their scraped knees, etc? Okay, you get legal custody and primary physical custody of the children. This means you, Mom.

  • The children need a home. And insurance. So, the kids stay in the home and the primary income earner pays the mortgage and the health insurance. This means Mom, who has to take care of the kids, gets the home and free health insurance. This means Dad has no roof over his head and is headed to a studio apartment, all he can afford at this point, with all the Mariachi music he would ever want to hear.

  • And, oh yes, all this happened because Daddy found out Mommy was screwing the neighbor, but, hey, this is “no fault”! Sorry, Dad. Doesn’t matter that none of this is your fault. Pay up, sucker.

As you can see, all of this is wonderfully neutral and takes no notice of gender (wink, wink) at all. It’s all perfectly feminist.

So, no, the fact that Guiliani got screwed does not necessarily make him a bad guy, though I agree he is NOT presidential material.

It just makes him a Dad, like so many other millions of men.


Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 07, 2007 11:18 PM | Send
    

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