Edgy has a great family. It's the bestest family ever, even if Edgy doesn't get along with Lil Bro. In fact, if it weren't for Edgy's family, he would really truly hate living in Utah.
Edgy spends a lot of time with his family. But that's the advantage to having nearly the entire extended family in the area. He goes up to visit The Momma every weekend, usually twice. He could just stay overnight on Saturdays, but he would like to at least pretend he's not a momma's boy. He's even repaired his relationship with The Dad in the last few years, which has been an unexpected and pleasant turn of events. (This is why The Momma thinks there's hope for the relationship with Lil Bro.) Sister is probably Edgy's closest friend in the family, due largely to years spent together at the Y and their mutual conspiracy. And Sister loves Edgy, even if he does have a tendency to scare away boyfriends. ("So, tell me exactly why it is you think you're worthy to date Sister.") Then there's Big Bro. He's handicapped, which is why Edgy always claims to be Functioning Oldest whenever anyone asks about birth order.
Anyway, Edgy doesn't intend to write about his family in this post, despite his family's greatness. No, Edgy intends to write about the principle of Family in general. He is likely to offend conservative Christian folk in the process, so if you happen to be conservative Christian folk, now would be a good time to discontinue reading and skip to the bottom where you will find this post's sponsors.
Conservative Christian folk gone? Good.
Let's just get it out in the open. Edgy is of the opinion that anyone who touts the mantra Natural or Traditional Family (and its sister Traditional Marriage) is selling snake oil.
Especially when such mantras are used to push political agendas.
True, Edgy will agree that the family is under attack. However, Edgy thinks that those who are most vociferously attacking the family are groups like the Sutherland Institute and Focus on the Family and others of their ilk who push to legislate their idea of Traditional Family.
For starters, what is a Traditional Family anyway? Is it the one of 50 years ago where Father reigned supreme and Mother made sure dinner was ready and the children scrubbed before he got home from work? (The Sutherland Institute would tell you that it is.) Is it the one of a few hundred years ago wherein Bob's son was matched with Fred's daughter to unite the families in some sort of political or economic alliance? If you're Mormon, technically the Traditional Family is Dad and Mom and Mom and Mom and Mom and Mom and fifty kids.
You see, the political right's idea of family is centered in the notion that family is and always has been mom and dad and kids born to their union. Umm . . . since when? Unfortunately, that family is largely a post-industrial revolution American construct. You know, when we moved from an agrarian society to a metropolitan society wherein families no longer needed twelve kids to keep the farm running. It's also that same construct that somehow decided that the best thing to do with old people is stick them in an institution with a whole bunch of other old people.
That's not family.
Family is the parents and the children and the grandparents and the cousins and the aunts and the uncles and the in-laws. Family is what you make it. Family is who you care for.
Family is who you love.
Edgy knows that some may find this to be a bit radical. Edgy himself seems to come from a radical family (even if The Momma keeps at least one TV in the house tuned to Fox Imitation News/Bush Administration Talking Points 24/7) wherein many of the cousins receive just as much love and assistance from The Momma and The Dad as Edgy and his siblings, a family wherein The Momma has already decided that Grandma is moving in if anything should happen to Grandpa because of his cancer. In fact, Sister's favorite missionary non-companion (they were in the MTC together and often in the same district but were never actually companions) is also part of the family. As were most of Sister's and Lil Bro's friends in high school. So Edgy acknowledges that his view of Family is skewed.
Still back to the Attack on the Family . . . Edgy's big beef here is that the rampant legislation abounding throughout the country to define marriage and traditional families is what is truly leading to the disintegration of the family. Such legislation relies on such a narrow view of family that it undermines many families' efforts to sustain and protect themselves. Edgy believes that all families ought to have equal standing before the law. Edgy doesn't believe that the notion of the "natural family" ought to be privileged over other families. (Lil Bro seems to think so, which baffles Edgy considering that Niece is, well, adopted.) Edgy agrees with Equality Utah in that "families play an important role in our communities. Today's families are constructed in many ways--single parent families, families with adopted and foster children, and families of same-sex partners."
Unfortunately, government has gotten too caught up in promoting this or that notion of Family. So some families are able to protect themselves with inherent legal protections such as property transference, monetary responsibility, insurance benefits, hospital visitation and decision rights, child custody, etc. Others have to hire lawyers to try and curry a fraction of these protections. And yet "family advocacy groups" and politicians feel the need to inhibit these families (see here and here and here and here and here). This is just wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
Rather than pushing to make family life more difficult, we should seek to make it easier. We should seek to make it stronger.
Because Family matters.
This post has been brought to you by Faith Hill and Cornelia Funke. Edgy loves Faith. He'd say more, but must more be said? Didn't think so.
And Edgy highly recommends The Thief Lord, Inkheart, and Inkspell. Funke has an engaging style, especially for English major types, and a strong German sensibility to her writing. Edgy loves that there isn't a nicely wrapped up Hollywood ending to The Thief Lord.
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