Donahue’s Children
Part 1: Victims & Perpetrators
by Robert L. Kocher

This is a true story from the 70s. A couple who were in their fifties had a daughter who married a charming character she found somewhere. First, their daughter and her new husband received $35,000 for a down payment on a house and a start on their marriage, as a wedding present from her parents. Then, their daughter and her husband got deeply in debt and asked the parents for another $15,000 to bail them out. Her parents gave them the money. Then, they got in more trouble and needed a new start, and her parents gave them $30,000. Then they got in another jam and wrote a letter to the parents saying it would cost another $4,000 to see them through new difficulties. In exasperation her father finally wrote a letter back, saying he didn’t believe $4,000 was their problem.

Her father was right. Four thousand dollars wasn’t the problem. His daughter and her husband had already gone through far more money than the older couple lived on when they were beginning their marriage. Like many in recent generations of Americans they had a fondness for undisciplined living, easy living, and impulsiveness. They were not industrious or realistic. Nothing could keep up with the young couple’s impulsive irresponsibility and excesses. While the younger couple wanted to keep the door of communication with parents open, responsibility issues were not the areas about which they wanted to communicate.

Parent Surrogates

The above process has been expanded from child-parent relationships into the adult age group with government becoming the parent surrogate. Younger people and adults are being lead and channeled into denial and shifting of responsibility by what can only be termed powerful nitwits from previous generations.

America has been cursed with a new breed of fundamentalist preachers who have no church, who are without god or morality, and who prey upon those susceptible to induction of hysteria with insincere and selectively incomplete sociology-thumping mindless emotionality as they speak from TV or political platforms. They become television guiltmasters.

A case in point is Phil Donahue and those like him.

The year was 1988. For the second time in a month on the Donahue TV Show, Donahue went into his self-righteous abusive finger-pointing sermon about how women who are single heads of households or career women with children have inadequate day care centers, inadequate support from social programs and the children suffer. He says, “We, in America, don’t care about our children.” According to Donahue, our national priorities are wrong and we prefer to spend money on a military rather than care about our children. It was another example of what Reagan (since Reagan was president at the time of the show) had done to the country.

Donahue is a master of the language of critical omission. He and his hysteria-susceptible audience start their analysis in the middle of events instead of at the beginning. It’s as if the present situation happened spontaneously or unavoidably. Once again, in a pattern characteristic of borderline psychotic thinking, the important adult question, “What are you doing?” has been circumvented.

To begin with, any analysis begins with a definition of the problem. In Donahue’s case he begins with a misdefinition of the problem based in the premises contained in a pathological child-like mentality. More specifically the problem is misdefined as:

1.) The existence of, or demand for the existence of, unconditionally loving, all-providing permissive parent figures or surrogates; and

2.) What is interpreted as a punitive failure of those surrogates to keep up with the impossible task imposed upon them of endlessly supporting or remedying irresponsible behavior.

Somewhere in this mentality there is the embedded primitive demand to be someone’s, or society’s, spoiled child forever.

In the real adult world, the problem is the irresponsible behavior, not the failure of other people in the community to keep up with it.

What Donahue is talking about is not the problem. He’s talking about the consequence of the problem that has gone unchallenged for too long. What is the issue Donahue and his audience aren’t inclined to discuss?

Playing House

We have two elements. The first element is the situation or consequence. The second element is the cause.

The following is the situation:

According to not-so-recent department of commerce figures, at any particular time nearly three and one-half million women under thirty-five years old are maintaining families with no husband present. The latest figures indicate there are ten million such women in all age groups with sixteen million children. Most of these women are divorced or have never been married. America has passed a 30 percent percent illegitimacy rate. The divorce rate has been 60 percent in some age groups. Many of these people get remarried, then get divorced again. According to government figures, each year more than 1,000,000 children are involved in parental divorce. Over the 18 year time frame constituting the developmental period of a generation, the accumulated effect is monstrous.

That’s the basic situation. What’s the cause? The cause is that we have a series of generations increasing proportions of whom are borderline personalities or, at best, are spoiled eternal teenagers. In their condition of pathological derealization or militant dissociation from reality, many of them are having children at inappropriate times and under conditions without any regard for the seriousness of the action or without regard for the needs of children. They do not choose each other as marriage partners on the basis of character, substance or depth, which are necessary for marriage and security for children but have no value in borderline culture. Orientation toward family life is well on the way to becoming a social anachronism. Rather, they interact and form relationships on the basis of eternal-teenager values which have no substance or stability. Many of them are doing little more than playing house the same way four and five-year-olds once did—but they are now making real babies as part of the game.

They are psychologically unstable. They have little impulse control and pursue the most minor impulses even when it destroys their marriages or their children. (The Clintons later became a recognized role model much of whose political strength fundamentally resided in their symbolic validation and social/political support of the ascendant generational life style.) Many of them think with their sex organs instead of their brains. They wind up in too many beds with too many other people. They lack the values, emotional depth, consistency and discipline to maintain a relationship. Their marriages fall apart. They go from one to another, trading each other around in so-called “relationships” on a trial and error basis to no avail because too many of them are incapable of genuine relationships and nobody could live with one or either of them for any period. They want too many contradictory things at once without sacrifice. They want it all—complete personal independence, love without discipline or commitment, freedom, careers, marriages, kids, sex on the side with various people, and they don’t really care about anything or anybody but themselves. Liberated mothers, many of whom obtain their values and their judgment capacity from magazine ads or TV commercials or from the Donahue show, are more interested in the shallow self-centered liberated social status of pursuing flashy careers than they are in their children.

Children are to be given visitation rights in the form of fifteen minutes of “quality time” by parents too busy with other things to be bothered with them; then they are to be palmed off on day care centers run by social workers who in turn are also sending their children to other day care centers so eternal teenage parents can play at life and escape responsibility or inconvenience.

The Image Behind the Reality

This is being written while looking at a Cosmopolitan magazine cover from several years ago. The lead banner declares in a thinly disguised spirit of celebration, “50 to 70 Percent of Wives are Unfaithful. How They Manage It and With Whom”. The lesson is American are now having it all. Whoopee. (So are a similar number of husbands.) On the same cover is a splash for another article, “The Reasons Men and Women Are Raging at Each Other All of a Sudden”. One might suspect that the subject of the first article might have something to do with the raging in the second, but alternative explanations are given that don’t detract from the glamorous description being cleverly sold in the first article. The reality is that marriages in America are not surviving these and parallel life styles. Children are not supported by these life styles. Our social programs are to be misused to subsidize the consequences of these life styles. But, somehow, this always seems to be successfully avoided in liberated discussions of the problem.

On the molecular level, three out of hundreds of specific examples from personal experience are typical.

In the first instance a man and woman have been living together for some months. She is now seven and one-half months pregnant. They still don’t know if they have a committed relationship or if they want to make a commitment in the form of marriage. Huh? Both are divorced. One is divorced twice and does not know whether to trust a marital relationship. They are both educated and liberated. One has a master’s degree. The situation is so mindless that it’s beyond analysis except for application of the terms mindless and irresponsible. In America many people no longer trust committed relationships, but they trust pregnancy or regard pregnancy as a triviality.

This has become a common pattern in American society. In the minds of these people and many others, the establishment of a committed relationship is not a prerequisite to having children. Nor does the having of a child seem to contribute a sense of increased seriousness in their lives, but only increased imposed demands upon neighbors through the intermediary of government. The resolution of important issues in relationships between men and women such as capacity to trust and make commitments is not prerequisite to having children. A sense of priorities, reality, and seriousness is missing.

In a second instance a woman who is described as, “—not the marrying kind—” has decided that she wants to have a baby. She has decided to become pregnant by one of her assortment of lovers. (Lover is a distorted employment of language. The people involved don’t love anything or anybody but themselves.) In her mind it is as simple as that. It’s looked upon as an act isolated from other effects and consequences. But, there will be other effects and consequences. The responsibility for those effects and consequences will be directed away from her and toward society—with the help of Phil Donahue who will rant and rail at me, not at her, about responsibility to her children.

In the third instance a woman left her husband to run off with another man in a two-month affair as part of a persistent pattern. In the mystical vague hippie Californiaese in which she speaks and thinks, it was termed a two month “love experience.” The love experience vaporized into karma for her next existence. She returned pregnant and her husband threw up his arms in exasperation and left. Now she has two children and she says she wishes she had her husband back. If she got him back she’d probably do the same thing again. In a society encouraging life style pluralism, there is no questioning it.

Multiply these examples by tens of millions and that explains the basic problem in America. It wasn’t caused by the Department of Defense.

Personal Responsibility, Anyone?

To say our social programs and day care centers are inadequate is not finishing the sentence or thought. Inadequate for what? Inadequate to keep up with the social deterioration caused by the prevalence of mindlessness, psychopathology, and an absolute militant irresponsibility in this America.

If money were the answer to this problem, the problem would have been solved years ago. We have spent trillions of dollars on social programs and if the opinion of the entire Democratic party were to be believed in the recent presidential election, everything is worse than ever. The Democrats are correct in that opinion. Things are worse, but not for the reasons they give. Page 72 of the 1987 Information Please Almanac provides information on social programs for the previous nearly forty years. In 1950, federal social welfare programs consisted of four percent of the Gross National Product of the United States. Combined with state and local programs, social programs were equal to 8.9 percent of the GNP. In 1983, under the Reagan administration, total social programs were about 20 percent of a far larger GNP. The expenditures were roughly $642,000,000,000—an increase, get this figure, of nearly $200,000,000,000 from two years before. That increase was more than the entire defense budget of $136,000,000,000 for 1980. Really. Far from being cut, the budget for social programs increased by that amount in two years and it didn’t improve anything. The complaints were worse than ever. By 1989 the social welfare expenditures had risen to $955,000,000,000.

From $492,000,000,000 in 1980 that’s an increase of $463,000,000,000. That astronomical increase in funding still hadn’t made a dent. Donahue either has, or should have, a research staff. He knew this, or should have known it. There is no excuse for his not having had the integrity to examine and mention every bit of this.

[Update note: The following government economic census and economic figures are from the earliest when data was monitored to the latest available.

Table 20. Poverty Status of Related Children under 6 Year of Age: 1969-1997

(Numbers in thousands)

Year           Poor    Percent

1997…… 5,049 21.6 1996…… 5,333 22.7 1995…… 5,670 23.7 1994…… 5,878 24.5 1993 1/… 6,097 25.6 1992 2/… 6,082 25.7 1992…… 5,781 25.0 1991…… 5,483 24.0 1990…… 5,198 23.0 1989…… 4,868 21.9 1988…… 4,800 21.8 1987 3/… 4,818 22.3 1986…… 4,619 21.6 1985 ….. 4,832 22.6 1984…… 4,938 23.4 1983 4/… 5,164 24.6 1982…… 4,821 23.3 1981…… 4,422 22.0 1980…… 3,986 20.3 1979 5/… 3,348 17.9 1978…… 3,184 17.2 1977…… 3,326 18.1 1976…… 3,270 17.7 1975…… 3,460 18.2 1974 6/… 3,294 16.9 1973…… 3,097 15.7 1972…… 3,276 16.1 1971 7/… 3,499 16.9 1970…… 3,561 16.6 1969…… 3,298 15.3

[In looking at the figures it should be kept in mind Reagan didn’t come into office until 1981 and a Reagan budget could not be implemented until 1982. The 22 percent child poverty level was not Reagan’s.

[The effect of economic recessions can be seen in deviations from the overall regression line. Recessions hit kids. In 1969 the economy was coming out of a recession. The ’90 to ’96 recession which many people wrongly attempt to insist lasted but one year can be clearly seen in child poverty levels.

[But more importantly, one can see the results of the synergy between the interaction of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and increasing levels of dysfunctional morality. Over a nearly 30 year period the child poverty level has risen more than 6 percent through what are claimed to be the most prosperous periods in American history. Much of the touted prosperity has been a myth, which should be a subject of future discussion. But just as importantly, the combination of the dysfunctional morality of the borderline personality and its support from social services has been disastrous and was becoming so before Reagan took office. My arguable estimate of child poverty at the time of Kennedy’s inauguration would be about 13 percent. By the end of the Carter period, America was in deep trouble.]

But Donahue makes his living through focused exaggeration and generating hysteria.

Flushing Money Down the Social Toilet

In the psychotic dishonesty of the political left in America and elsewhere, there was (and is) criticism of the Reagan deficit. However, that deficit went primarily into feeding and increasing the social programs those same people complain about being underfunded due to the defense budget. Reduction of the defense budget would not have been sufficient to reduce the deficit to significant extent.

If the so-called social problems had continued to exist at the rate they existed when the programs to ease those problems were founded, there would be five times as much money as would be needed to solve those problems. If the prevalence and seriousness of those problems had merely doubled or tripled, we would be spending five times more than enough to solve these problems. If the programs had been half way effective, we would be spending five or more times as much as needed to solve so-called social problems. However, the irresponsibility and excesses along with concurrent demands that a mystical parental-figure social system pay the financial cost have all expanded faster than the financial resources of the country.

Nearly a trillion dollars a year didn’t change anything and adding another two or three hundred billion dollars a year is not going to convert irresponsible eternal teenagers into adults who take responsibility for their relationships with each other and take responsibility for their children. A trillion dollars cannot substitute for individual responsibility or compensate for individual irresponsibility, lack of integrity and moral decay.

A woman on an Oprah Winfrey TV segment described her situation. She “was living with a man” and had a child by him. He was spending so much money on cocaine that he wasn’t able to (interested enough to?) support the child. As a consequence she left him and moved back with her long-suffering parents. She looked upon herself as having been “forced by circumstances” to do so. She and her baby are going to need a day care center and are probably going to need many other things before it’s over.

Not one person in the entire audience questioned any of it. She presented herself as a victim of life and obtained sympathy.

But, what are the “circumstances” and how did they arise?

(to be continued)

Robert L. Kocher is the author of “Attitude Channeling and Brainwashing,” as well as many other articles (available at His email address is