AIR-BRUSHING DADS OUT OF THE PICTURE
By Carey Roberts
June 14, 2004
When Vladimir Lenin seized power in 1917, he knew full well that the traditional family would fiercely resist his grand scheme to consolidate state power. So he set out to ruthlessly destroy the family.
Lenin banned church weddings. Women were sent out to work in the factories and the fields. Communal dining halls, sewing centers, and day care facilities were established. Abortion was legalized. Divorce became a simple administrative routine.
So it’s an interesting coincidence that over the last 30 years, an unholy alliance of feminists and liberals has also targeted the traditional family for radical transformation. In particular, they put fatherhood into their ideological cross-hairs. Father Knows Best became an anathema.
Feminists began their campaign by turning the meaning of Patriarch on its head. They changed it from a term of veneration into a word of contempt. Fathers were smeared as “patriarchal oppressors” who imposed “male hegemony” on their wives and children.
Once men had been placed on the defensive, the fem-liberals preceded to float one myth after another. Sadly, these four claims are now accepted by many Americans without question or doubt:
Men routinely batter their wives. They break up marriages. Fathers often abuse their children. Dads don't pay their child support.
But let’s stop to examine the facts:
1, Women are just as likely to initiate domestic violence as men.
2, Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by wives.
3, According to a 2002 government report, “The vast majority of children were maltreated by one parent, usually the mother.”.
4, Fathers who have a job and are given access to their children almost always make their child support obligations.
Once the myths were firmly entrenched, feminists began to push through laws that were billed as protecting and empowering women. But they really had the effect of marginalizing dads. These programs included the Violence Against Women Act, no-fault divorce laws, and a draconian child support bureaucracy. And welfare benefits to low-income women were cut off if the father still lived at home.
These efforts to undermine fatherhood were, by any objective measure, extraordinarily successful. In 1960, only 8% of children did not live with their dads. By 1996, this figure had tripled to 25%, making the United States the world leader in fatherless families.
Among Blacks, the problem reached crisis proportions. In 1950, only 17% of births were to unmarried women. By 1990, out-of-wedlock births reached 65%. So by 1996, 58% of Black kids lived with their mother only.
But the story doesn’t stop there.
Family disruption begets social pathology – we know that from what happened in Soviet Russia. The fem-liberals didn’t want to be blamed for the social chaos that was certain to ensue.
Somehow they had to cover their tracks.
So they concocted the Mother of All Myths -- the Abandoning Dad, the countless hordes of men who would desert family and home to indulge in a midlife fling. (Why adulterous women are routinely given a free pass remains a mystery to me.) This vastly exaggerated urban legend, endlessly recycled in women’s magazines and daytime TV programs, would serve to divert public attention away from the disastrous social legislation that spawned father absence.
The rise of fatherlessness in our country did not occur because dads decided one day to get up and leave. It happened because they were pushed out.
But the myths became so deeply engrained, and fathers so completely vilified, that no one is willing to listen to their side of the story any more.
What we have witnessed is a case study in mass re-education and social transformation. Tearing down age-old social institutions without offering a viable alternative – that’s the legacy of socialism over all these years.
© 2004 Carey Roberts - All Rights Reserved