The Elian Complex: America's Oedipus
by Archie Wortham
"Whether it’s nobler in the mind,
The slings and
arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of trouble
And by opposing end them."
Does America really think American men are like Hamlet and don't know what’s going on, or how to fix
Whether a 6-year-old boy stayed in a foreign country and
possibly lost the opportunity to see his father for the rest of his life was
never the issue. Look at the players besides Elian, his in-laws, and his father:
there were Immigration Services, Janet Reno, and our elected role model. And
then, like me, there were fathers who sat at home and wondered,
could this happen to us? Is America really capable of judging others without
looking at herself and her own hidden agendas?
A child should never be made a
political pawn of aspiring candidates. The Elian question was not something that our
elected officials or the man on the street should be expected to answer. The
answer? The answer remains a difficult one as America wrestles with its own
malignant neglect of fathers. And this neglect drives stakes into the heart of
every man who is, or ever hopes to be a father. Boys need a home! Boys need
their father. And more than just Dr. Laura, people understand--fathers need
Granted, American standards of living are higher than a lot of
places. But most men alive today, at some time in their youth, wanted to live with
someone other than their dad. (Tell me you never thought about running away from
home, at least once). I did. I thought the boy up the road, or the kid whose
clothes were better than mine had it better than me.
America ignores fathers. In America, if a man turns his
back on his children, we call him deadbeat, worthless, even a criminal. In
America, if a father doesn’t live up to his responsibility, we generally ‘sic’
the law on him. American idealists suddenly embraced the law as they clamored for Elian’s
father's right to have his son.
Ironically, the courts routinely deny many American fathers
similar rights. Rallying behind political aspirants holding placards imploring
the government to deny the law, Americans forgot the fathers she uses the law to
punish. American fathers suffering similar fates weren’t even mentioned during
this entire scenario. In many courts, men are portrayed as drones, good only for
breeding. In today's America, fathers are rarely acknowledged as being just as vital in the
healthy life of children as mothers are.
Dads, it’s important for you to understand why God chose you to
be the father of your kids. This is not about spirituality. It’s not about
believing in a God, but rather how you feel about taking care of something that is
yours. Are you insignificant? Do you matter?
Less than a two centuries ago, in this country, slave children
were taken away from their families. Today, many people say how uncaring,
callous, and cruel it was. Yet today similar things happen, only under the auspices
of justice. I am truly amazed at how we got to be so sanctimonious and forgetful
in such a few years.
The Elian issue reminded us that fathers matter! Even if it’s
just to determine custody. Yet research clearly demonstrates that fathers are
important. Increasingly, the courts are awarding fathers custody. That’s what
liberals and feminists want the courts to forget. Fathers do nurture and do work
in the home, just as mothers do provide for families as they work outside the
home. Some women think men are aliens from Mars, but we live on earth, have feelings, and expect to
raise our children.
Elian’s plight was linked to the plight of many American fathers. I hope the men
and women who read this understand that fact! Fathers want to be
involved, now let them raise the children they helped create. America needs to look at
what’s happening in the homes and how a legacy of emasculated American fathers influences
a society and future generations! We as men, as fathers, have to take a stand
‘against a sea of trouble’ because if we don’t, who will?
We were important before Elian Gonzales, and we will be important long afterwards.
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