“I will wash the dishes while you go have a beer...”
“Where is my John Wayne?
Where is my prairie son?
Where is my happy ending?
Where have all the cowboys gone? "
-Paula Cole (from This Fire, 1996)
"All battles are fought by scared men who'd rather be some place else."
-John Wayne (Capt. Rockwell Torrey, “In Harm’s Way”)
When a jolt of bad news hits me hard enough, I usually have a hard time getting it out of my head for a while. I still have no clue why I get the unavoidable odd pop-culture references, but that’s therapy for another time.
In “The Happening” M. Night Shyamalan used shockingly violent imagery to set the tone of his 2008 film depicting a pandemic of unexplainable, self-destructive behavior. Shyamalan excels at building suspenseful, compelling and gripping stories whose subplots deliver extremely poignant underlying messages. If you haven’t seen this film, a good scan of IMDB will reveal why today the following situation sent my movie-thinking brain into a tailspin.
On November 14th Nebraska lawmakers will begin a special session to address problems growing out of that state’s “Safe Haven Law". It seems there’s been a rash of “returns”, and children as old as 17 are being “dropped off” at emergency rooms. “Safe Haven” laws stem from well-intentioned efforts aiming to protect newborn infants from troubled parents tempted to terminate them or abandon them in trash bins and alleys. It is common for these laws to include anonymity and immunity for the parent or person depositing the unfortunate child. It is expected that Nebraska lawmakers will seek to add age limitations where none previously existed…focusing the program on infants.
I find no fault with any legislative effort that promotes a culture of life. More concerning to me is that the laws are necessary. Texas passed the first act in 1999, paving the way for 44 more states that adopted similar laws. Intended as a rescue measure for infants who might otherwise be terminated or eventually abused or neglected, Safe Haven measures do provide an answer to a sickeningly apparent need. As critics of these laws note, providing sanction for abandonment only invites the behavior. Involuntarily, other big government solutions to societal ills still run through my mind. It just so happens that the Nebraska dilemma has given us an opportunity to look up as the bodies begin to fall from the buildings.
What hit me harder than teenagers and infants being abandoned to the state was just how much of today's "solutions" actually encourage self-destructive behavior. Are real men an endangered species?
Paula Cole’s 1996 hit single “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” tells the story of a woman who experiences the romance of being swept off her feet, only to end up being distraught, abandoned and lonely. Whether you listen or read the lyrics, ask yourself…is she lamenting her loss and crying out for “policies” or “programs”?
In “Stagecoach” John Wayne’s character [Ringo Kid] says “Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” I’m sorry to say that in 21st century U.S.A he most certainly can, and he does. More Homer Simpson than Monte Walsh, we of Monday Night Football and "pull my finger" fame have an uphill battle to fight.
We should worry just a bit. I mean, how depressing is it that in our search for “true grit” and the leadership of rugged individualism we find ourselves hanging on to the promise of a feminine ass-kicking Governor from Alaska? Wake up, boys! It’s time we held our fellow man accountable for what he does wrong, and what he does not do, for the fairer gender of our species.
We won't make progress asking the state or U.S. governments to take over for us.
Tell them to “Keep The Change”.
Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.”
“If everything isn't black and white, I say, "Why the hell not?"