Wards of The State by Robert Socha
What happens when we abdicate our responsibility as good citizens to state-run institutions?
We become wards of the State, and I fear, based on an experience a few years ago, and the manic imposition of tomfoolery in the wake of 2019, but I digress, that we collectively have accepted that position as regular, proper, and routine. How far have we strayed from our moral compass and foundational bearings in this great country?
Whose responsibility is it to watch out for one another? Ours or the State’s? In the following example, I am not questioning any parties’ motives since I believe them sincere, but the application.
Here is my experience:
With the advent of summer, my children requested an afternoon expedition. With permission, they walked through the trees and creek that divide a golf course’s fairways, crossed under a major freeway to their reward of a local convenience store’s treasure. Then they returned toward home.
The journey took a bit longer than expected, so about dinnertime I went to find them. I quickly found them walking a different route homeward along a newly constructed road, closed to traffic, about to enter the golf course. They got into my car, and as I was merging back onto the road, two local police cruisers pulled me over.
Seeing as I had violated no traffic laws, I was perplexed about why they were stopping me. So I politely questioned them about that fact.
Their immediate response became defensive and antagonistic toward me in their tone and mannerisms. (The officer who took my identification and questioned me didn’t even have the decency to remove his sunglasses and look me in the eye, even though the sun was directly behind him.)
He accused me of being hostile (I certainly didn’t start the conversation that way) and began interrogating me as if I was guilty of some crime. While I was engaged, the other officer opened my car’s door and took my daughter out of the back seat to question her.
Here were some of their questions:
“Did you know that a “concerned citizen” called the police to tell us they saw two children walking alone? That is why we are out here. You should be thanking us.”
“Are these your children?”
“Did you know what they were doing?”
“Where does your daughter go to school?”
“Where does your son go to school?”
“Where do you live?”
To my daughter, as she recalled:
“Is that your daddy?”
The officer who was questioning me became increasingly unfriendly and began to threaten to call CPS on me. I distinctly remember him saying, “If I ever see your children walking out here again, and this is not a threat, I will call CPS on you.” If it’s not a threat, why did he have to qualify the statement? And why wouldn’t he take off his sunglasses so I could see his eyes? And why was he so quick to pull the child protective services card?
Here is my conundrum: what was so maleficent that compelled a “concerned citizen” to call the police? If this person was concerned for my children’s safety, why didn’t they personally intervene? Undoubtedly, their immediate help would have been better to alleviate their concern for my children’s welfare than waiting for the city’s finest to arrive. Did they stay in the area to ensure the police responded and the children were okay? Why were the officers involved hostile toward me instead of presuming innocence?
Societally, we have stumbled toward totalitarianism. The aggrandizement of the State has caused our surrender to it because we want to appear righteous but not get our hands dirty. Civics redefined to mean good citizenry turn in anything unseemly to the State. Consider the epic societal response these past 16 months, again I digress.
Whereas Scripture demands, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9b) I chose Paul’s iteration of this command because chapter 13 directs “submission to the governing authorities.” (13:1) I wonder if we have taken this to mean we should allow those governing to rule roughshod and our abject submission. Perhaps we should be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” and allow the Spirit to guide us to all truth.
Then, when we find ourselves concerned for a couple of children walking along the road, instead of calling the authorities to intervene, we will fill that role ensuring everything is okay.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.