Leftists have devised a simple yet amazingly effective formula to engender social discord: break up the family, marginalize fathers, and then blame the whole mess on men.
The pattern can be traced back to LBJs Great Society which spawned welfare programs that withheld benefits as long as dad was around. Then came Roe v. Wade, which disenfranchised fathers from the most fundamental decisions involving their unborn young.
Next, no-fault divorce laws set the stage for widescale child custody awards to moms. And finally draconian child support programs sent low-income dads shuffling off to debtors prison.
Judging by Census Bureau reports, this anti-father jihad made stunning in-roads. From 1960 to 1990, the number of American children living with their biological fathers plunged from 82% to 62%.
Of course unfathered children portend the continued unraveling of the social order and the rise of the welfare state. Leftists see nothing wrong with that.
But now people are catching on to the game plan and dads are staging a comeback. State lawmakers are passing laws that level the playing field for divorcing dads. Congress is weighing a $300 million bill to promote marriage and fatherhood. And most important, the precipitous rise in fatherless households has finally begun to level off.
Of course, this comes as bad news to the feminist-inspired Left. In their mind, every father that is removed from their childrens lives is one step closer to the matriarchal nirvana. And the Left has no intention of relinquishing its hegemony over the social welfare debate.
So in August the California Supreme Court ruled on a child custody case involving two lesbians and concluded, We perceive no reason why both parents of a child cannot be women. Last month the Public Broadcasting Service aired a documentary that libels divorcing fathers who seek child custody as abusers and batterers. [www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2005/1109roberts.html]
And Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is now under fire because gasp! he once argued that husbands should be notified before their wives obtained an abortion. [http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/alito/ppcasey102191opn.html]
There are two recent publications which affirm the abiding truth that fathers are one of our nations most treasured natural resources.
Just last week the National Fatherhood Initiative released the findings of a national marriage survey. The report found that nine out of ten Americans believe that as a rule, the best place for childrearing is a household with a father and mother. Even more interesting, 97% of respondents believe that fathers are just as important as mothers for the proper development of children. [www.fatherhood.org/research.asp]
And now Senator Rick Santorum has come out with a book that outlines an ambitious agenda to reclaim America from the Leftist onslaught. It Takes a Family documents how welfare programs have only deepened dependence of the poor on government largesse — and along the way tweaks the nose of Hillary Clintons It Takes a Village.
For example, in 1965, 21% of all American children under the age of 18 lived in poverty. Thirty years and billions of welfare dollars later, the number of American children living in poverty was guess what? 21%.
Add to that the rise of fractured families, illegitimacy, and the increased number of children at risk of abuse and neglect, and the failure of the welfare entitlement system is beyond dispute.
Santorum views dads as lead players in the nations moral revitalization: a community that is short on fathers is almost always short on generalized trust or social capital.
Sen. Santorum is especially critical of our gender-biased divorce system: It is one of the few places left in our culture where sexism is not only condoned but virtually celebrated. Plus, dads often must contend with ex-wives who often make it difficult for the fathers of their children to visit.
Santorum highlights the epidemic of Black men who have fallen into the clutches of the criminal justice system. At any given day, 12% of Black men ages 20-34 are in prison. Think about what that means: fewer fathers, fewer husbands, and fewer male breadwinners, he laments.
If anyone who doubts the failure of the Leftist social agenda, recall the haunting images of the women and children stranded in the rising flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the levees melted away, government officials remained oblivious to the impending disaster.
So where were the men? Married men had already whisked their families out of harms way.
And all the others? They had been casually cast aside, reassured that their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and children would be safe and secure in the governments social safety net.
Yes, it only takes a village.