Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some Things Should Never Have to Become Mainstream

When you live in the southwest, it is inevitable that you are going to come into contact with country music. Good or bad, it is what it is, and you will occasionally find that if you listen to the lyrics, whether or not you like country, many of the songs have messages to pass along. Some are the stereotypical "My woman/man left me yesterday, I lost my job, and my dawg ran away", but others have inspirational messages, and still others have sad-but-necessary messages. That's the case of "Alyssa Lies":

My little girl met a new friend just the other day
On the playground at school
Between the tires and the swings
But she came home with tear-filled eyes
And she said to me "Daddy, Alyssa lies."

Well, I just brushed it off at first
'Cause I didn't know how much my little girl had been hurt
Or the things she had seen
I wasn't ready when I said you can tell me
And she said

"Alyssa lies to the classroom
Alyssa lies every day at school
Alyssa lies to the teacher
As she tries
To cover every bruise"

The song goes on, telling the story of how his little girl prays for Alyssa, and he takes her to school, intending to report what his daughter has seen, only to find out that Alyssa is dead, and how his daughter wants to know why this happened.

I listened to the song and its lyrics, and tears just poured down my face. Oh, I know it's a fictional song, at least I hope it is, but I know there are little girls and boys out there in Alyssa's situation that fall through the system's cracks every day. It breaks my heart to know that the problem is so prevalent that it would become the subject of a song that receives so much airtime on the country stations. It saddens me to know that there are women out there who would give anything to have children and can't, for whatever reason, and there are others who can carry a child to term and have no compunction about beating, selling, pimping, drugging, killing that child.

Every time I hear a news story about parents who killed their children, I wonder how it is that they can do it? How can you carry a child for 40 weeks, right under your heart, feel that child move in your stomach, hear that child's heartbeat, give birth to that child, and turn around and kill it? How???

I will not lie: there are times when my daughter drives me absolutely insane. But hurt her? Deliberately? Not a chance in hell. Holler and yell, certainly. Put her in one room and myself in another, definitely. Send her to a friend's house to play so I can have some time to myself, oh yeah. But never hurt her.

I've tried to put myself in the place of those women who have killed their own children, tried to understand what made them do it, but it's impossible for me. My mind just isn't that dark. It's easier for me to understand the terror that their children must have felt.

I can't remember the exact quote, but to paraphrase it, " 'Mother' means 'God' in the eyes of a child." Children look to their parents for protection, guidance, and love. I can't wrap my brain around the concept of fearing for my life when looking at my parents. I can't wrap my brain around the concept of my daughter fearing for her life when looking at me. I can't sympathize or empathize with those parents that harm their kids. They make me want to vomit. Hell, they make me want to be, just for a moment, the type of person who could be a vigilante. It comforts me a bit to know that they won't last long in prison.

How has child abuse become such a huge problem? Is it simply that it has always been this big, but in years past we didn't have the widespread media and communication that we have now, and thus did not see it, or has it really grown so much? Why is it so prevalent now? What can we do to reverse the trend? Children are innocent. There isn't one of them that asked to be here, not one that has a choice in who its parents are. It's our job to take care of them, to love them, to raise them right, to discipline without breaking them, so that when it's their turn to become parents, they can do the same for their own children. Why are so many parents doing exactly the opposite?

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