NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 10, 2012

We the People?

Viewpoint Tim Fowler
Newburyport Daily News

---- — As I scan through the current events online and in the newspapers, lately I find there is an abundance of articles to comment on.

The most recent of articles I noticed was a father/daughter dance in Cranston, R.I., that was forever canceled due to a challenge by the Civil Liberties Union, which represented a single mother who was incensed because her fatherless daughter was feeling uncomfortable, left out and unable to attend the dance.

I offer the utmost condolence for this girl with the loss of a parent. It is, by far, one of the most difficult of all adjustments for a young child to accept and continue on in a normal manner, but I do not feel that it warrants legal action from the civil libertarians.

We’re talking about a ritual that has been handed down from family to family, generation to generation. Call it a rite of passage, if you will, but it has forever been a family-oriented event that makes both dads puffy-chested and moms beaming with pride to connect with their child and the chance to show their offspring to others.

Statisticians constantly tell us that there is less and less interaction within the family these days. In this ever-increasing pace of life, families rarely sit down at the supper table and chat. They’re usually off to soccer and hockey practice or picking this one up and dropping that one off.

On a personal note, I do believe one of the best parts of living in this era in time is that the evolution of modern medicine has been able to keep me and many others running like a clock. But on the down-side, I see a country that was formed around the ideology of “We the People” constantly secede to the individualist.

I believe our forefathers had envisioned a society that was good for the “majority,” not solely for each individual. Hence the motto on most of our currency, “E pluribus unum,” which means “out of many, one.”

Subsequently, we have reversed that motto only to find that society has become more instituted to how every-day life affects them on a personal level, not on the grander scale. Americans these days seem to need not to be part of the social parameters that define family and country. They want to be “one” first before they become “many.” Whatever happened to one of the first, if not the very first lesson we grew up understanding, sometimes the hard way, that “majority rules”?

If I were to offer a resolution to the mother and daughter, it would be to address this situation as a family and community, not as one person being singled out because of an extremely unfortunate circumstance.

There must be a mentor somewhere, such as an uncle, a family friend, a neighbor who would gladly donate their time to see that this young lady is not left behind at these rites? If not, how about the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations? I’m positive they would be more than willing to lend a hand!

Being an organist and musician in a wedding and function band in the past, I have played at many events over the years and have witnessed several instances where an uncle, a close friend or even a brother gave the bride away in the absence of the father. If nothing else, it did not lessen the loss but more so enhanced the ceremony and the feeling of having that loved one there for you, even if your father could not be.

I would hope next time the mother could reach out for a helping hand instead of resorting to legal action and punishing those who are blessed with having loving and caring parents who spend time with their children in every facet of their transformation into adulthood.

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Tim Fowler lives in Newbury.