Father of the Year

But at least he wasn’t gay!

The home of Randall Warren Piercy, 41, was like a prison that had cameras in almost every room, with the father monitoring [his 9-year-old son] on television and computer screens, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Annie Smith said.

During the past three years, the boy has not attended school, received medical attention or had contact with people outside his family, Smith said. The police report said he was home schooled but could not read children's books.

Relatives told police that the boy was usually allowed to use the bathroom once a day because his father was teaching him to control his body.

Piercy was arrested Wednesday on charges of aggravated child abuse in the torture, malicious punishment and unlawful caging of the boy.
The mother hasn’t been charged, but may yet be. She told investigators that she “allowed her husband to make all the decisions regarding” their son, and that Crazy Dad only let her see the kid “at certain times and usually for an hour a day.” Yeah, that seems perfectly reasonable.

In Florida, where this nightmare happened, gay couples are allowed to foster kids, but are not allowed to adopt them. Florida is, in fact, one of only three states with a total ban on gay adoption. (Utah and Mississippi are the others.)

In January 2004, when four gay men who were long-time foster parents challenged the 1977 law and lost, Governor Jeb Bush was happy as a pig in shit with the ruling and said “it is in the best interest of adoptive children, many of whom come from troubled and unstable backgrounds, to be placed in a home anchored both by a father and a mother.” Made of stern moral fiber, that Jeb Bush, eh? Except here’s the thing—as the above-cited case shows, a home that is “anchored both by a father and a mother” is not guaranteed to be a good home. In fact, sometimes it’s a pretty crappy home.

People invoke the words “father” and “mother” as if the unspoken images that lay behind them—a stern but loving man who will toss around a football with junior on Sunday afternoons, and a doting and nurturing woman who keeps a clean house and cooks all her sauces from scratch—are always true. They can’t dissociate the picture-perfect images of Mom and Dad from the words “mother” and “father,” which are simply biological descriptors, and sometimes happen to describe people who are monstrous.

And their ideas, their images, of gay men and women are just as immutable. They are as insistent on not expanding their definitions of gays to include gay parents as they are to not expand their definitions of “mother” and “father” to include moms and dads who treat their kids like shit. Everything has to go into a nice little black-and-white box, and that means that homes with moms and dads are good and homes without both are bad for adoptive children.

Jeb Bush is not one of those people, though. He knows that gay people can parent—and not only that, but that they will parent children no one else will—which is why he hasn’t made any move to forbid gay couples from foster parenting. Two of the men involved in the case petitioning for adoption rights were foster parents to a 10-year-old, HIV+ black boy. He came to them at 9 weeks old, so has known no other parents besides them for his entire life. Only in the abstract world of political pandering could it be asserted that that child is better served by not letting his parents adopt him, just because they’re gay.

Jeb Bush, and all the other despicable, base-satiating knob-ends like him who go on about the best interests of children, aren’t crippled, like their ignorant supporters, with delusions about whether gays can make good parents. They know they can, which is why gay couples are allowed to foster indefinitely. They also know that their electorate is rife with people who like their fictional images of Apple Pie Mom and Baseball Dad, an American landscape filled with happy homes, and rosy-cheeked white children who have never been sexually abused, beaten, starved, abandoned, or caged by their biological parents, and are just looking for a good home with a mom and a dad.

Life’s a little messier than that. And no child was ever saved with platitudes.

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