Take Your Realtor Seriously

I am a Realtor. My wife is a Realtor. Together we lead The Schuett Team of Keller Williams Bellevue Realty. Maria and I have had a long and deep passion for the real estate industry.

My passion didn’t begin until about 1994 when my wife, at that time, had earned a very large commission check at her job as a television station advertising and marketing specialist. She insisted that we should take that money and buy a home. We were both young and didn’t know what we were doing. But we found a home that suited us. We bought it. We improved it. And after only a few years we moved into a house double in size. And we did it without selling our first house. Instead, we kept it as a rental. We only sold it when we wanted to buy a new home in a new location only 8-9 years after buying our 1st home.

It’s important to note that after buying our first home we had almost no money at all. There was nothing left in savings. We lived paycheck to paycheck, as the old saying goes. But because we had bought a house, we started accumulating wealth.

The Realtor we used to buy our first house was a fast talking Filipino woman who was the sister of a co-worker of mine, a co-worker who was one of the most skilled salespeople I have ever known. It seemed she was from the same school, because she sold us, and not in the most honest manner. She convinced us to make an offer on a house…”before we lost it to someone else.” We hadn’t been sure about the house. But the idea of losing it propelled us into making an offer. The house had been on the market for three months. In negotiating our offer the seller demanded a 90-day close. We were not in danger of losing the house. The Realtor was just tired of showing us houses and wanted us to find something so she could move-on to someone else.

When we bought our second house about 3 years later we chose another real estate professional. This was a friend and co-worker who had just started his real estate career and was only doing it part-time. We wanted to help him. The house he showed us and we eventually bought was way outside the geographic area where we had asked him to look for homes. I still remember being upset as I followed him in our car to an unknown address. As we got further and further outside the area we wanted I was thinking, we might need to find someone else to help us. Then we saw the house and I loved it immediately. It checked all the numerous boxes I’d asked to be included in what we were looking for…except location.

Six-to-seven years later we were on the move again. For the sake of our children we felt we needed a more blue-collar neighborhood rather than continue to live with the the snobby, nose-in-the-air people in the community we had chosen. The former co-worker I hired for our second home search was no longer in real estate. So we chose someone with no referrals or references whatsoever. I don’t even remember how we found her. But she was located in the geographic area we wanted to consider. We ended up firing her after finding a house we liked without her help. She had repeatedly shown us homes that didn’t match our criteria and she didn’t find the one we did like, something I never understood, and understand even less now that I’m a Realtor myself. We ended up hiring a buying agent which came recommended to us by the house’s listing agent. Probably not the smartest move in the world. I don’t even remember their name. I think they were a woman. But I don’t even remember that.

At this point a the age of about 39, with my wife, I had bought 3 houses. The first two we kept as rentals for a period of time, before selling each. The first house was sold by a listing agent I have almost no memory of. They were chosen almost entirely because their brokerage office was close to the house we were selling.

Our second house and second rental was sold before we had to face the Capital gains tax for having lived outside it for three years. I do remember the listing agent. We chose him because he was a cut-rate agent and listed our home for only a 4% commission rate. I also remember this independent brokerage was out of business shortly after the real estate collapse of 2009. We did far more research in the choosing of a Realtor this time. Including the cut-rate guy two other agents submitted listing proposals to us. Each of the other two substantially underestimated the ultimate selling price of the house. The cut-rate guy submitted a proposal that would list the house at substantially more than the other two proposals. And even though we had to lower the price after a couple weeks on the market, we still sold it well above what the other two agents proposed listing it for. I don’t know what they were thinking.

Sadly, the third house was sold due to a divorce from my wife at the time. We hired a family member as our listing agent. And while they did a good job with some things, including the listing price, we weren’t completely satisfied. But being a family member we kept our concerns to ourselves.

As a divorced, single, self-employed man I was able to buy my own house less than two years after my divorce. I had one criteria in finding my buyer’s agent; I was looking for someone who would return the favor and do business with me and my marketing company. To make a long story short, this agent reneged on his promise to give me some business after my new home was purchased.

I was married to my beautiful wife Maria three years after my divorce. She was already a Realtor, and due to her urging I got my license too, in order to help her build our real estate business. Together we bought our current and what I hope will be my last home nearly 2 years ago.

In summary, through the purchase of five homes and the sale of five homes (Maria and I also sold our rental which had been her home prior to our marriage), I’ve made nearly every mistake in the book in hiring a real estate agent. I hired friends and relatives of friends. I’ve hired close family members. I’ve hired cut-rate agents. I’ve hired agents we’ve ultimately fired. I’ve hired agents that promised financial reciprocation. And I’ve hired agents having done almost no research on them or others at all. And in all cases (aside from the family member) I never heard from any of them ever again. Until Maria and I sold our two houses and bought our current one on our own I never got my house at what I thought was a particularly good price; and never sold a home for what I thought we should. In the case of selling the homes we have sold there was always an urgency that made selling them at less than best prices necessary. A good agent could and should have helped us with that.

When making one of the biggest decisions of your life, hiring someone to be your Realtor just because they are family, or a friend, or because they promise something they won’t put in writing is not the best approach. Wisdom and experience should be your measuring sticks for who represents you in deciding to buy or sell a home or investment property. When you look into a Realtor’s background and judge their knowledge you will make a better decision than by just having a friendly connection.

Critical Race Theory is a Lie

The debate over Critical Race Theory continues to grow and seemingly grow in its contentiousness. I may be wrong, but I sincerely think most Americans would reject CRT if they only knew what it was. The fact is Critical Race Theory is a lie. And as was said by Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbells, people will believe any lie if it’s told often enough and loudly enough. That’s what’s happening today.

To dispute this lie lets start with what should be the first and most obvious aspect of CRT. It’s a theory! A theory isn’t fact. A theory is someone’s postulation, or opinion. It is unproven.

Basically, CRT says that the United State’s foundation was born of and maintained strictly on the basis of white supremacy. This would include the existence of slavery at the time of the founding of this country, but also include all institutions herein since all institutions were created by whites, i.e. the oppressors. All non-whites, blacks in particular, represent the oppressed.

At the time of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1789 five of the original 13 colonies banned slavery. By 1812 there were 18 states and those allowing slavery had balanced out, 9 were free, 9 allowed slaves. Maryland and Delaware (adopted home of Joe Biden) were the only non-Southern states that allowed slavery. It should also be pointed out that the huge majority of whites in the slave states didn’t own any slaves. Owning slaves was a “privilege” exclusively for the rich, which most Southerners were not. So, again, slave ownership was actually something only a tiny percentage of Americans engaged in. Does that sound like an entire nation built on white supremacy?

When the Civil War began, ostensibly over the issue of slavery, the number of free and slave states remained balanced. More than 600,000 Americans died in that war. More than 300,000 of them were white Union soldiers. At no time in world history has a nation of predominantly one race waged war to free a people made up entirely of another race, except in the United States Civil War.

Advocates of the Critical Race Theory continually point to the U.S. Constitution as proof of how the United States was a racist nation from the start. In particular they point to the clause therein that designates blacks as 3/5ths of a person. What the uneducated and willfully ignorant fail to understand is that the 3/5ths of a person clause was specifically intended to deter slavery and weaken its proponents. In order to form a more perfect union and get the Southern slave holding states to join with the Northern free states and ratify the Constitution compromises had to be agreed upon. So the North was willing to allow the South to keep its slaves, not without some heated debate at the Constitutional Convention. But the North didn’t want the South to use their slaves to their advantage when it came to Representation in Congress.

As we all should know the number of representatives each state is allocated for the U.S. House of Representatives is determined by population. Population is determined by the Constitutionally mandated 10 year Census. The more populous a state, the larger its representation in Congress. The North didn’t want slaves to count at all toward a Southern state’s Census count. They wanted the South weakened by diminished representation. The South had a problem. They allowed slavery based on the premise that blacks were not human and therefore not entitled to the equal protections under the law that a white person is entitled. But how could they claim such a horrible belief while asking that blacks count as people, equally with whites, in determining Congressional representation? So the 3/5ths of a person compromise clause was established. The North had succeeded in weakening the slave holding South while still establishing and maintaining the fragile union created by the Revolutionary War.

Of course after the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, Jim Crow laws permeated the South but also existed in many Northern states. Hell, unenforceable discriminatory laws still exist on the books in this author’s home state of Washington, to this day. Convenants in home developments all over Western Washington prohibit non-whites. Most of these were written in the 1940s and 50s and were simply ignored upon later becoming illegal. But they are still on the books.

But here’s the thing, and the reason I mentioned these abhorrent Covenants and Jim Crow, even if they are still on the books they are unenforceable, even if some low-life tried to enforce them, because other Americans, the majority of Americans found such racist discrimination unacceptable.

Critical Race Theory advocates want to point to our history, for the most part our distant history, to make the claim that we are a nation of white racist oppressors. What they fail to mention, intentionally I believe, is that it was mostly white people fighting and dying and debating and writing the laws and issuing the Supreme Court determinations that ended slavery and Jim Crow. These are Americans too. And the slave holders and the racists were and are today only a tiny minority of this country.

No nation in world history has freed more oppressed peoples, healed more sick people, fed more hungry people, and opposed more tyrants than the United States of America.

The United States is and has always been a majority white society. Though that is changing. But when a majority takes the extraordinary steps this country has taken to protect the rights of the minority, including writing such language into our Constitution, calling it a racist country and oppressive is historically inaccurate, and entirely ungrateful for the blessings bestowed upon all of our citizens and the world as a whole.

I don’t understand today’s Social Justice Movement

Let me start by saying, I will not respond, reply, acknowledge hateful comments. You will be deleted and blocked.

The death of George Floyd sparked angry protests and riots all over our country in late May. It’s now late September and they haven’t stopped.

They’ve been fueled by other conflicts and shootings between cops and suspected criminals, suspected criminals who happen to be black.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I didn’t called George Floyds death murder, I called the protests protests and riots riots. I correctly pointed out that all the news stories about so-called police brutality involved cops and suspected criminals.

Many have called for defunding the police to diminish the incidents of conflict between the men and women in blue and criminal detainees. Many cities like Seattle, and Minneapolis have city councils that have already voted to eliminate the police or significantly cut their budgets; obviously having carefully studied the matter and examined the consequences of such an unprecedented move.

You see what I did there? I sarcastically suggested that these city councils had a rush to judgement on the defunding question. Because clearly there was no study or legitimate debate on the subject.

I believe racism exists. It’s real. And its unquestionably bad and deserves to be dealt with harshly every time it rears its ugly head, on an individual basis.

But, you may ask, what knowledge and experience do I have as a white guy in American, raised in the white suburbs outside Seattle to comment on race and racism. I’d like to address that two ways.

First, it doesn’t matter that I’m white and it doesn’t matter the ethnicity of anyone else who wants to comment on this subject. We are all humans. And I’m guessing those reading this are all Americans, which is to say United States citizens or legal residents. We’ve all been scared by the leftist screaming crowd that we aren’t entitled to talk about race or racism unless you are black and unless you completely agree with the Black Lives Matter agenda as it currently stands. As a result many scared people who don’t agree with BLM are intimidated into keeping their mouths shut. So we lose voices in this important conversation. And when you are told that your opinion doesn’t matter because of your race or ethnicity, isn’t that racism too? We’re allowed to speak our peace because we’re the ones assumed to all be racist and practitioners of a systemic racism problem in our country. Since we’re the problem, supposedly, you might want to listen.

Second, I have as much knowledge and experience on this subject as any white suburban, middle class, public school educated baby boomer alive. I suppose others could surpass my expertise under these qualifications. But they would be few and their experiences are not my own.

In 1985 I started living with a black woman. We were subsequently married and had three child, all of whom are and identify as black. I was completely embedded in my ex-wife’s black family for the whole time we were married. After 30 years we were divorced in 2015. I have since happily married another woman. She is Mexican.

SO HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION: Having lived with a woman of minority status for 35 years, and having raised three black kids to adulthood and being thoroughly active in their lives you would think I would have a story or two or twenty of all the incidents of racial discrimination, hatred, and bigotry that I or someone in my family experienced. Given how this is supposedly a racist culture with systemic racism in every corner of our nation there is no way I could escape the vile acts of a racist or the road blocks imposed.

The fact is I don’t have one story. I don’t have a single anecdote. I can’t even share with you any single incident in which my kids or either of my wives expressed to me the sense of having been targeted by racist activity. Quite simply, it never happened. I’m not a small man nor am I a shy one. Were any loved one of mine hurt by racism I would be fighting somebody.

Oh, there was one time where I suffered tremendously from an act of racial discrimination. It occurred in about 1990 when I was about 26 years old when I was passed over for a very lucrative, high paying job with the Washington State Department of Transportation due to their affirmative action policies. I was told by the Director that after three interviews I was the highest scoring applicant, but that I wouldn’t get the job because a black man and a woman were each awarded points for their race and sex that I wasn’t entitled to, and those points were enough to give each a higher score than me.

This is why I struggle with today’s Social Justice argument. Seemingly everyone has drank the Kool-Aid. All walks of life, businesses, entertainers, athletes…they are all on board with the belief that our country is inherently systemically racist.

All we have to do is look at the incident that prompted these riots and protests to understand my internal conflict. Like absolutely everyone (seemingly) I saw the video of the death of George Floyd and I was outraged. It looked like Floyd was murdered. But, I only saw the video of him already on the ground with the police officer keeping him there with his knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck. Since that initial video and reaction more video has come out and more news. Quite simply the police did not murder George Floyd. The medical examiner says there was no evidence of asphyxiation. At worst the cops should be convicted of failing to provide him needed medical attention.

Here is what we know: Floyd resisted arrest for something like 10-15 minutes. He was acting very strange. Toxicology tests revealed that he had four different illegal drugs in his system including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and a lethal dose of fentanyl. He was complaining that he couldn’t breath long before he was pinned to the ground. And respiratory distress is a symptom of fentanyl overdose.

And Dear God! Why is nobody reporting that this man was huge! He was 6-foot, 6-inches tall and clearly physically strong. Couldn’t that have played a part? You think the police may have been physically intimidated? You think they might have needed to use considerable force to subdue this man? And when you are high, acting strange and fighting with police while resisting arrest what does skin color have to do with any of this?

I know incidents of racial discrimination occur. I would never stand for it personally or where it affected my loved ones who happen to be minorities. But it’s long past time that we realize that a lot of people make an awful lot of money by jumping up and down and screaming racism wherever they see conflict. It’s also long past time that we stop blaming society for the bad decisions of single individuals. It’s also long past time that we recognize that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. If you commit crimes, at some point you are going to meet police officers. And if you resist arrest with those police officers you may end up dead. Police are humans too. They have a right to self-defense. And your criminal butt who puts the cops lives in danger will suffer the consequences for doing so.

Lastly, this is not the final word on this matter. Evidence I haven’t and you haven’t seen will still come forward in the George Floyd case. And if there is a trial a verdict will determine guilt or innocence of the four cops charged. God help us if they are acquitted, as I’m sure some of them will be. It’ll be another occasion for protesting/rioting. And just like the current riots, it won’t accomplish a damn thing.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome…to a point.

 

 

 

If I were President

Being President’s Day, or as it’s formally called, Washington’s Birthday, I’m inspired to opine about the things I would do were I to hold the highest office in the land. This is offered mostly in fun since I will never be President, and most of my ideas would never get off the drawing board.

One of the first things I would do is address the climate change issue.

Is climate change real? Is it man made brought on by the industrial age? Honestly, I doubt it. Human’s have been living on this earth for millions of years. Our industrial pollution has been in existence for less than 200. And yet we are to believe that 200 years of industrial pollution could end this earth as we know it by 2030? Come on! I tend to look at the earth as a shaggy dog with fleas. As soon as us fleas (humans) get too prevalent and destructive that great big dog will scratch and shake us off like we were the insignificant insects that we are. We aren’t going to destroy the earth.

However, I am smart enough and humble enough to admit, I may be wrong. I’m not a scientist. I don’t know. AND NEITHER DO YOU!

What I do know is this, pollution of our earth, air and water is bad. And nobody of any political party would ever say otherwise. And broken down to its bare essence the climate change activists simply want to eliminate pollution. Right?

I posted the above video because I think it is unquestionably the most effective anti-pollution marketing campaign in the history of environmental awareness. It’s from the 1970s. If there is a better, more effective anti-pollution message please tell me. I haven’t seen it.

So, if I were President I would make the Environmental Protection Agency be eliminated or nearly eliminated. Stopping climate change and pollution and specifically industrial pollution should be done this way. All regulations and requirements telling people and business how and what to do as it applies to pollution would be taken off the books. They would all be replaced by the following: “DO not pollute the air, earth, or water. If you do you will clean it up at your own expense. And if you don’t clean it up we will penalize you financially out of existence and the individuals most responsible may spend some time in jail.” That’s it. No more government intrusion. Just a hard standard by which we are all expected to abide.

Then I would have the EPA establish specific language detailing “what is pollution”. These standards could change as new challenges and information become available in our growth and evolution. But, ultimately, the government would be out of the business of telling us how to do whatever it is that we do.

If I were President abortion would be legal up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy. If you don’t know that you are pregnant, or whether you want the baby or not 4-5 months into the pregnancy, I’m sorry, but you’re having that baby. Science is perfectly clear that at that point (20 weeks) that fetus is alive. It’s thinking. It’s moving. It’s receiving oxygen from its mother. It’s a human being. And killing it is murder. It always amazes me the hypocrisy of the left on this (and so many other issues). When it comes to climate change the Left jumps up and down swearing we need to trust science (some science). But when it comes to abortion science is thrown out the window, and its all about a woman’s right to choose (never mind the rights of the baby…or…for that matter…the rights of the father who also created that baby).

Gun Rights: Our Constitution guarantees our right to be armed. Period. Discussion over. The government can keep their hands off my guns until they amend the Constitution. However, that doesn’t mean some steps can’t be taken to allow for our safety by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, or revolutionaries who aim to do us harm. If I were President, I kind of drift towards the Chris Rock view on gun control. Let people have as many guns as they want. Just tax the shit out of ammunition. I’m only partially kidding. While I wouldn’t really tax the shit out of all ammunition, I might set a standard by which any ammunition purchased over and above a reasonable level necessary for your own self defense would face an increasingly higher tax. The more you buy, the higher the tax.

We are never going to get money out of politics. People have been trying forever, and like a slow leak the money finds a way in and its flow only increases with time. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that money, in the form of political donations, is a form of free speech. And aside from the wacky Bernie supporters, and other extreme leftists, do we really want to eliminate free speech in our country? In our lives? Hell no. So, while we can’t eliminate money in politics we can sure do more to eliminate graft. If I were President I would seek legislation eliminating campaign contribution limits. Forget Citizens United. This would be open freedom for each and everybody to help elect whoever they wanted. However, I would have all contributions be required to be made public. All income tax filings by politicians would be required to be made public. And ALL elected officials would be banned from voting on any bill, ordinance, or resolution that directly or indirectly effects those who donated money towards their election. Money isn’t the problem. Money in exchange for a vote or a policy position is a problem.

If I were President I would save hundreds of thousands of dollars by making English the official language of our country. All documents would be published in English. I don’t have any hateful feelings or discriminatory feelings toward non-English speaking people. If Spanish were the overwhelming dominant language spoken by our citizenry I would advocate for Spanish to be the official language of our government. I just feel you have to put some expectation on people to take care of themselves, and that includes learning the language of the country you have chosen to inhabit. I would also prohibit your permanent entry into this country unless you spoke English or were immediately enrolled in a course to learn it. But, we can’t be cold hearted. If we are going to expect people to learn and understand the English language it is up to us to provide an easy means by which they can do it. I would pump whatever amount of money is needed into educational programs from which non-English speaking people could learn to read and converse. An added benefit of English as our official language is that it would further dissuade illegal immigration by non-English speaking peoples.

Our infrastructure is falling apart. Roads and bridges and water transmission pipelines and aqueducts, electrical system transmission are almost all 50-100 years old. Some are older. Every President in memory has promised to address infrastructure. None have. Ultimately, Congress puts up the stop sign because of the massive cost. But here’s the thing, the long we wait the larger the problem becomes and the more expensive it becomes. If I were President infrastructure repair and replacement would be THE top priority. I would decree that no public monies could be spent on any new infrastructure unless it was to repair or replace old infrastructure. And if it’s brand new, addition private or public funding must be provided to repair or replace infrastructure that needs the work. I would authorize the Office of Management and Budget to audit the entire U.S. budget to find and eliminate wasteful spending. And I would find the money through cuts in that which isn’t necessary.

If I were President wasteful spending would be another top priority. I would operate with a zero-sum budget in order to get a fresh start. Programs that should otherwise be funded by the private sector would be gone forever. Foreign aide would not be based on what was spent last year. And no foreign aide would be provided to any country that has antagonistic views of the U.S. And no funds would be provided for NATO or any other organization or treaty unless fellow members or treaty signers were pitching in their fair share.

Lastly, if I were President I would seek a line-item veto capability, which may require a Constitutional Amendment. The line-item-veto is available to Governors of 44 of our 50 states. It’s a hedge against slipping unwanted and unnecessary spending or restrictions into a bill that otherwise would become law. Opponents argue that it makes the President too powerful. But I would argue, that it’s too late for that argument. The President is already the most powerful person in the world. And much of what can be accomplished legally with a line item veto is already being done…often times illegally.

To me, there is so much more I would do if I were President. But I’m not. And I never will be. While I admit to being Conservative with a lean toward Libertarian you have to admit I don’t completely fit the mold. There are some things in this blog that would have me drummed out of the Republican Party. And there are some things, a lot more things, Democrats wouldn’t touch. But, if you were the one writing this blog…don’t you think the same would be said of you?

Thanks for visiting.

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A Bad Dad

In January 2018 Conservative FOX News talk show host Tucker Carlson said during his show and wrote on Twitter, “No matter how successful you are, if your kids hate you, you’ve failed.” I saw him say this and began to cry. It hurt me terribly to hear words that I feared were correct. And, I feared my kids hate me.

I have wanted to write this blog for a long time. I’m not sure my motivation for revealing something so personal and so painful. I guess I hope for some absolution. I guess, in part, I hope to let others in my position know they are not alone. But I do know what prompted me to make this writing today.

The above Tweet by journalist Andy Ngo shows a crowd of college aged kids at the University of California-Berkley who formed a human wall to block people from attending a speech by ultra-Conservative antagonistic writer Ann Coulter. These actions repulse me and worry me about our nations future. It also led me to think that were this event in Seattle my three adult kids might be among this objectionable crowd. And this type of thinking is, I believe, at the heart of why my kids ostracize me.

At the time I heard Carlson’s hurtful words I had just come through a difficult Holiday season in which my kids chose not to spend any time with me. It was also my first holiday season in my new home, which I purchased as a single man recently divorced from their mother. I was, and am, proud of being able to buy my own home as a single individual who also happens to be self-employed. You can ask around. That’s not easy to do. And the fact that my kids didn’t want to help mark this special season left me depressed. Carlson’s words made it worse.

Unfortunately my relationship with my kids has only gotten worse. I haven’t seen my 32 year old daughter in 2 1/2 years, or my soon-to-be 21 year old daughter in 2 years. I’ve seen and talked with my 27 year old son with a little more frequency. But it too has been minimal. It is truly the lone hole in my life that has otherwise been pretty happy, and fairly successful.

When they were growing up I was diligently involved in their upbringing. I attended every single parent-teacher conference any of them ever had. Never missed a recital, or performance by them in a play, or a concert, or a dance performance. Their sporting lives were full year round. And I was there. I coached them in Little League softball, baseball, soccer, football, and basketball. For those who have coached a youth team any time in the past 20-30 years you know as I learned, it’s like having a second job. But I did it because I wanted to be close to my kids and to help and encourage them to grow into healthy and happy adults.

I was proud to call myself a strict parent. But aside from the occasional swat on the butt for the two oldest in their elementary years I never struck them or abused them in any way. My youngest was the least challenging of my kids and never was spanked any time in her life, aside from a notable occasion when she was being a precocious 2 year old. It’s notable since it occurred at a Little League field in which my son was playing. Since her mother and I couldn’t get her to sit still and behave I gave the diaper wearing little girl a bare hand swat on her fanny. A nosy, opinionated woman, a mother of one of the other boys playing that day, took offense to my harmless discipline of my girl, spoke up, and harshly said, “Would you mind abusing your daughter somewhere else!” Naturally, I was shocked and angered by the woman and responded accordingly. I told her to “Mind your own damn business!” As for my daughter, I can’t imagine she has any memory of it at all. She was too young.

Those who know me know that I can be a softy, and emotional. Never a day passed without me telling my kids that I loved them. Never a day passed when I didn’t try to show that love in any way I could. As they grew into their teen years I would nearly always invite them to join their mother and I in whatever we were doing whether it was watching a movie, cooking a special dinner, or in my case going fishing on one of the many local lakes near our home. Seldom was my invite accepted. It never bothered me. Because as I told their mother when she asked why I always did this, I always wanted my kids to know they were wanted and that their inclusion in our lives involved any and everything, even if I knew they would decline these invitations.

I was married to their mother for 28 years; though the last two were a slow march toward our ultimate divorce after having learned of her disgusting infidelity. Regardless of how it ended we had a good marriage and a happy family for most of those 28 years (any claim to the contrary is revisionist history). It ended when I could no longer stay with the immoral woman my wife had become. I’m sure the divorce was hard on my kids, especially the two youngest who were still living with us when the shit hit the fan and their mother’s secret life became revealed. In their eyes, I’m sure it didn’t help that I started seeing a beautiful woman almost immediately after our divorce. They would never understand that despite living under the same roof I’d felt alone for 4-5 years, and that divorcing gave me the freedom to see this woman completely guilt free. I’m so happy and proud that Maria became my wife, just over a year ago, in a wedding that my two daughters chose not to acknowledge, let alone attend. And though I believe my kids resent my wife and me for getting together so soon after my marriage ended, they didn’t seem to hold their mother to the same standard even though she didn’t wait until the marriage ended to have another man in her life. My Ex didn’t want to divorce and tried to convince me to stay together, right up until the night before I moved out. But it was my decision because I simply no longer trusted or respected her. Being my decision alone, my kids blame me.

Being a strict dad is a contributing factor to my kid’s currently being out of my life. It doesn’t help that their mother never, NEVER disciplined them at all. This knowledge was confirmed by them in a frank discussion we had at the time of the divorce. According to them, their mother never even sent them to their room as a form of discipline at any time for anything. Being the one and only adult who held my kids accountable for misbehavior was tough for me. Especially as the troubling teen years for the older two ravaged our household and I became the enemy while their mother not only didn’t discipline them, but I found out years later, got HIGH with my sonFinding out that their mother was getting high with a son who was not only being disciplined by me for marijuana we would find in his room or in his possession, and who also faced school suspensions for it, further lowered my view of my Ex and further helped explain our current difficulties. Dad is bad. Mom is cool.

For those who don’t know me another factor that I am confident is a contributing factor in this rift is the fact that my Ex is African-American, and as such, my kids identify as black. Furthermore, in terms of society and politics I am Conservative while my Ex is quite liberal. To call my kids liberal would be generous. They are clearly of a socialist mentality. I wish they weren’t. But I am genuinely pleased to have them be politically aware and involved. I have told them so.

To me the real problem is what has happened in society. The narcissistic, judgmental, facist, behavior of today’s millennials, of which my 21, 27, and 32 year old kids qualify, teaches those of similar thinking that they not only have to oppose thinking different from their own but that such people are the enemy and are evil. So, my kids look at me as the privileged white, angry, racist Conservative that all people like me are.

On the night Donald Trump was elected President I jealously watched my girlfriend (now wife) Maria texting back and forth with her adult kids, talking about the returns coming in. Being such a momentous night I wanted to reach out to my kids too. Knowing they would unquestionably be upset by the election results my first text to them was completely benign and non-threatening. My oldest daughter responded with a very angry text and told me I was only gloating and basically to shut-up and go away. Here was just one more occasion that she broke my heart a little bit.

In being reminded of Tucker Carlson’s words I am not absolving myself of all responsibility for what is becoming the tragedy of my life, the ostracizing from my kids. I have regrets. I especially wish I hadn’t shown anger as much as I did. But aside from that I take comfort from those who know me and knew my time with my kids. During those times I was told repeatedly by admiring friends and family that I was a great dad. Not a bad dad. And though I have far more doubts than I used to have, I know I gave my kids everything I could, to see to it that they were raised with a knowledge of God, and a value system that I cherish. I didn’t do everything right. But I love my kids in spite of everything. I miss them terribly. And I look forward to the time when whatever they hold against me will be replaced by a maturity that is currently lacking, and life experiences that will also teach them that their dad wasn’t that bad, and may even have been pretty good. And, Mr. Carlson, because my kids live and are moving ahead in their lives, and I hope are happy, I am not a failure.

I love them all.

 

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