Avoiding the politics of custody

Try to visualize a situation where a divorced couple, living in New York City, share joint custody of their 6-year-old child, who resides with the father but sees the mother regularly.

Suddenly one day, the father, who is a very liberal, born-again progressive Democrat, decides there are two many Republicans living on Sutton Place on the upper eastside of Manhattan, where his child is being raised. To save the child from any further corruption, he’s going to move to the more liberal shores of Santa Monica, California, a place notoriously uncorrupted by any hints of Republicanism. So he packs his son and all of his worldly goods into his appropriately progressive Volvo, neglects to tell his ex-wife and heads west into the setting sun.

Several days later tragedy strikes. Their Volvo is involved in a tragic accident on the Santa Monica Freeway and the father is killed but the boy, who is asleep in the back seat, miraculously escapes harm. The CHP finds the father, trapped in the car, dying, holding a blood stained letter in his hand from his Santa Monica relatives inviting them to stay with them in Santa Monica. His dying words to the CHP are, “Take my boy to his cousins in Santa Monica.”

Figuring that the kid had been through enough already, the CHP temporarily turns the little boy over to his aunts and uncles and cousins rather than taking him to foster care. Then they call the mother in New York City to tell her what happened.

The mother collapses. A short time later, the Santa Monica relatives call the mother back in New York, extend their condolences, and then advise her that they’re not going to return the child because, in their opinion, her unbridled Republicanism, and the rank, outrageous Republicanism of New York City which has kept Rudy Giuliani in power, an obvious disciple of the dark side, is both corrupting and destroying the child. They know it’s in the best interest of the boy, whom they assure her is very happy, that he remain in Santa Monica where the political climate is more conducive to the healthy rearing of an impressionable young boy. Not only that, but they are raising money to hire lawyers to defend the boy if the mother tries to get him back.

Also, the Mayor of Santa Monica and the Chief of the Santa Monica Police Department have publicly assured the Santa Monica relatives and their supporters from the Santa Monica Renters Rights organization that they would never permit the child to be taken from them by any fascist lackeys of Rudy Giuliani and his ilk.

That, to my mind, is the case of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez. Now, what do you think would happen?

Would the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate jump in to berate the out-of-control Republicanism of the upper eastside of Manhattan?

Would the Democratic candidate for the Presidency stay hiding in his abode in Tennessee, or would he be out taking polls to find out what moral position to take?

Would Rudy Giuliani point to the little boy and explain that this is all due to moral deterioration of our culture, in no small part, to dirty pictures in the Brooklyn Museum and the fact that Hillary was going to bob her hair?

Or would the Santa Monica police show up at the relatives’ door with the mother in tow, and announce very clearly that, unless they produce the child within the next 15 seconds they are going to arrest every relative in the house, and probably the family dog, and charge them all with kidnapping?

And then it would all be over, and the U.S . Senate or House wouldn’t even have to get involved.

That’s all, folks!

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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