Tag Archives: Military

My Epiphany For Social Change

I want to precursor this by letting you know that I actually wrote this about 10 years ago.  It’s just as relevant now as it was then.  I probably should have sent it to the White House as a petition.

If any of you have any ideas or connections to make this happen, or make it better, by all means, let me know and feel free to share this.

A little back story… My ex-husband (Kid’s biological father) was ordered to court when she was 5 so we could start receiving child support.  He never responded to or complied with court information requests for job and income information.  The child support order was written based on minimum wage (which was $4.25 at the time).  Truly, each time there was a minimum wage increase I should have gone back to court to have it adjusted.  I, however, didn’t feel it worth the time since he wasn’t paying it anyway.

President Clinton signed into law a bill making it a felony to flee the state to avoid paying child support.  Shortly afterward, I discovered that he moved to Kentucky.  I called child support enforcement and was told that they couldn’t go after him because even though we were separated we were still legally married.  (I was not able to collect government assistance including him in our ranks however because we didn’t live together.  See a little problem there?  I know I did.)

Fast forward our story to about 3 years ago.  All of a sudden I start receiving small child support checks.  To this day I’m not sure if a) he just ran out of under the table jobs, b) he finally stayed at a job long enough for the support order to kick in or c) lost track of time and thought she was too old to have to pay child support somehow thinking it goes away when they get older.

The checks lasted a couple of months (every two weeks) before child support finally issued me one of their new debit cards.  Then the payments stopped.  Over the next year, I would get one randomly here or there before they stopped again altogether.

Well these sporadic payments triggered an audit and I was required to go to court several times and of course, he never showed up.  After almost 14 years of non-support and arrearages of over $20,000 (remember, this was based on $4.25 an hour) child support they decided that it was the time that an arrest warrant was issued and that he should go to jail.

I asked the attorney when he goes to prison does the state pay the support on his behalf?  No.  So let me get this straight… he hasn’t willingly contributed to the raising of his daughter at any opportunity, he owes me over $20K and now I have to support him during his incarceration via my tax dollars???  In addition, when he gets out of prison he’ll have a record making it even more difficult for him to get a job?  How does this help me, our daughter, him, anyone really?

I know that mine is not the only side of the coin on this issue.  I know that many “deadbeats” are classed as such, not because they don’t want to take care of their kids but because they can’t.  Poor job markets, unfair support orders (ones favoring the child/ren with the ex but not factoring in the children living with you because you don’t have a support order for them since they live in your home), support orders that don’t allow enough left in your check for you to live on but if you get a second job they’ll take that too, etc…

So here’s the epiphany… open the draft to “deadbeat parents” after say, one year of non-support.  Don’t wait for 5, 10, 15 years for things to get so out of control.  Here’s my reasoning…

By being drafted into the military, the draftee’s pay is based on the number of dependants guaranteeing that all parties are covered and no one is getting the short end of the stick.

All parties would be covered by insurance.  Sadly, even if an employer does offer insurance the cost is even more prohibitive when you have child support being deducted from your pay.  In addition, life insurance is also part of the package making sure that your child will continue to be taken care of on your behalf should something happen to you before they reach 18.

Being in the military is recession proof as well as lazy proof.  You can’t get laid off or fired.  Your job will never be outsourced and your hours will never be cut.

Being in the military is salaried position so there are no fluctuations in pay making it difficult to pay a set support amount if you miss a days work.

Being in the military will offer the opportunity for you to learn a trade and/or go to college.  Most Americans can’t afford to go back to college once they take on the financial responsibilities of a family.  This tends to add to the frustration because this is where we truly see the value of an education at its fullest as an adult. We now “get it” that we need the degree to get the better job to better support our families.  The military allows you to do both without you or your family starving and/or becoming homeless.

I realize this is a two-sided coin.  There are those that would find the miliary as a deterrant and that’s fine.  Do what you have to do to keep from being drafted.  For others out there, this would be a welcome solution and a means to get on track as opposed to prison which will have negative ramifications for the rest of your life.  By and large I believe this could be the most proactive step our country could take to reform a system that isn’t working.

Please give me your feedback and let me know what you think.  If you really like the idea, share it with others – including people in position to make change.

Maggie

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A Day of National Remembrance

To those who have lost loved ones in military service, let me take this opportunity to offer my sincerest apologies.

I made a horrible misstep. Despite the fact that I made great pains to share graphics and links regarding the origins and meaning of the holiday, I like most people, thoughtlessly wished a Happy Memorial Day.  I’m sorry.

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Growing up I remember VFW poppies being handed out to anyone in the crowd who didn’t have them. I also remember bringing them home by the handful from school.

 

I haven’t seen these VFW poppies since I was a kid growing up in New York. Memorial Day is much different there than in the Midwest. Here it’s all about barbecues, parties and family gatherings.  There’s still the acknowledgement and thanks for military service, but it seems to be more about thanking the current service men and women.  

Growing up, this holiday had a very different vibe altogether.  I remember all the vets donning their uniforms and partaking in memorial parades… not loud boisterous ones like we see at the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, but somber respectful ones more akin to a funeral procession. It’s a march filled of overwhelming pride for the brethren walking the streets remembering their lost comrades in arms.  It’s also a hard pill for vets to swallow knowing that they were spared the same fate. It’s very humbling to witness.  

It’s a day of reflection and remembrance, thinking about those we’ve lost, visiting cemeteries and putting flags on the graves of the fallen.

While we all have different views and opinions of wars, politics and causes, this is the day to set aside those difference and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.   While we were young it always seemed to be old-timers who served in wars of the past, however it’s very much a day for those in the present.  So many families have been touched only recently with military loss.

While I have not lost anyone close to me during their military service, I know how painful it was to me when my own father was terminally ill with cancer and people thoughtlessly (although well-meaning) sent get well cards because that is our custom when someone is sick.  I can only imagine that it is the same pain experienced.

So while I hope that you had a safe and happy day with your family and friends, I would ask you to join me going forward in not wishing a “happy” Memorial Day.  You never know who is grieving their loss on this day. Especially in this electronic age of “friends” that we know little more about other than a profile picture.

Rolling Thunder
Maggie

America the Beautiful

1938 Yellowstone National Park Poster

 

Not just a song or slogan, “America the Beautiful” is also a pass program offered by the National Parks Service.

The America the Beautiful Land Pass is an all access pass that covers more than 2000 federal recreation sites, including national parks and wildlife refuges, national forests and grasslands, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.  Check out the list to see what’s in your area or where you’d like to visit.

The pass offers entrance fees and any standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a passenger vehicle at a per vehicle fee area or up to four adults at sites that charge per person. Children 15 or under are free

The annual pass is available for $80 which is the same price of an annual membership at my local zoo, but can be used for so many more locations making it a frugal deal for vacation plans.  The annual pass is available FREE for active duty military and their dependants and there is a FREE access pass for disabled Americans.

Seniors (62 or over) can get a lifetime pass for only $10 (with a $10 processing fee).

What a great way to spend time in nature, see this beautiful country and immerse yourself in our rich history in our National Park Service that is celebrating 97 years!

For more information check out http://www.nps.gov