I know not every NRO reader agrees with Kathleen Parker, but she’s spot-on today with her challenge to the president to address the epidemic of “fatherlessness” in America:
One of my great hopes for a Barack Obama administration — and thus one of my personal disappointments — was that he would use his bully pulpit to emphasize the importance of a two-parent family, and especially of fathers, to children’s well-being.
Few understand better than the president the value of a present and involved father. Much of his literary work and his examined life pertains to his own absent father. By his example, he has certainly demonstrated his own commitment to parenting — and his family is a source of pride for all Americans. But the true story of fatherlessness in this country can’t be repeated often or forcefully enough.
This is not a new story.
Children who grow up without fathers tend to fall into patterns of destructive behavior — from drug use and truancy to early promiscuity, delinquency and, in too many cases, incarceration. Children raised in fatherless homes are also more likely to grow up in poverty, which is no fault of their mothers but is a fact.
Also well-known is that these pathologies and consequences are more prevalent in the African American community where, as it happens, most children are born to unwed mothers. Is this the fault of the mothers? Absolutely not. Can a child raised by a single mother prosper? Sure, but it is the exception, including the president, that proves the rule.
Here’s another rule: You can’t solve a problem if you refuse to acknowledge it. Yet in today’s sensitive environment, to even suggest a problem that might feel offensive to some is to risk being labeled an “-ist” of some variety, followed by a public flogging.
Therefore, to suggest, as University of Texas law professor Lino Graglia recently did, that blacks and Hispanics are falling behind in education because they tend to come from single-parent families (largely mothers who are both poor and often uneducated) is pure blasphemy.