"We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child - it's the courage to raise one." -- Father's Day 2008 speech by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago
When you read the quote above in its entirety, it's really hard to believe it came out of the mouth of a man who wants to be President of the United States. I hope to God he did not write it, because it's bad enough such a collection of nonsense became a part of the public record. And of on all days imaginable - Father's Day!
The last time I checked, the man is not the one who physically has the ability to have a child. The choice always remains with the woman in the end, or should I say, when the decision is made to begin a life. Obama is spouting an audacity of stupidity here. He is no different than former President Bill Clinton who couldn't help but always inject the word "responsibility" with "father" or "fatherhood." They both cater to special interests and those interests in no way include actually doing something to explain why some children grow up fatherless.
You see, Obama seems to think all mothers are just wishing and wanting their children to have a daily Dad in their life, but married or divorced or unwed fathers want to do anything but be a father. They're just not responsible no matter how many times you advocate for responsible fatherhood. Obama in another audacity of stupidity moment during his Father's Day speech correctly thinks "it's a wonderful thing if you are married and living in a home with your children", then he ruins it by saying, "but don't just sit in the house and watch "Sports Center" all weekend long."
Who is writing Obama's speeches? They do not reflect reality in general, nor do they reflect what fatherhood in America still means for millions of divorced or unwed fathers. There is no way Obama has ever had a decent conversation with a divorced or unwed father. Or a married father - like most married fathers - who can't wait until the work week is over so they can be with their children. Obama is so out of touch, it's painful. In his world, every mother is both a victim and a hero. Every father is the one gave birth, and he is born irresponsible. Only the government can give mothers the help they need, and punish fathers for supposedly choosing not to be with their children. You've got to be kidding me.
Again, there is no way on Earth Obama has talked to a father who has had their parenting time - I refuse to use the word visitation - interfered with by a malicious mother and/or biased family court. He needs a serious wake up call. And this is a man we want in the White House? Please stop. He shouldn't even be allowed in the parking lot if he himself cannot be responsible when talking about fatherhood and the foundation of family in America.
Sure, he spits out the same sad facts - "Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 more times likely to end up in prison" - that won't change unless we change our horrible family court system. Or how we portray fathers to begin with. No, Obama won't address the real causes of fatherlessness because then all his special interests and blocks of voters go out the window. His Father's Day speech at the Apostolic Church of God could have very easily been given to The National Organization of Women or any Child Support agency. It would be a perfect fit.
It's a fact of reality that most fathers would spend more, not less, time with their children if they knew it would not adversely impact the family financially. You will never hear about these things from the likes of Obama. He will tell us that he basically grew up fatherless and pledges to be there for his daughters, but if you are a divorced or unwed father and Obama becomes our next President - watch out. You can count on a plethora of programs to help mothers. Don't expect any enforcement of your parenting time with your children.
According to Obama, "We need to help all the mothers out there who are raising these kids by themselves; the mothers who drop them off at school, go to work, pick them up in the afternoon, work another shift, get dinner, make lunches, pay the bills, fix the house, and all the other things it takes both parents to do." What Obama doesn't realize is that some mothers want to do it all because they think Dad is just a dunce. He also doesn't realize all the financial incentives there are to keep Dad out of the house. In Obama's world he wants us to foolishly believe, Mom is having to do everything because all Dad does all weekend long is watch ESPN. This is not only false, it's an insult to ESPN. But Obama must have some crafty new speech writers.
Whether it is Obama or any other politician, for once I would like to hear some truth when it comes to what most fathers want. Again, it's more, not less, time with their children. It's to be respected and not thought of as just a wallet or a goon who can't make sense out of anything in the kitchen. It's to be honored on Father's Day, not told by a man who wants to be President that you are among the "too many fathers" that have "abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men." And on and on Obama goes spouting his audacity of stupidity when it comes to the state of fatherhood in America - especially for divorced or unwed fathers.
Nowhere in his speech did Obama mention penalties for mothers who interfere with the parenting time between the father and the children. I mean, why would he? He probably thinks there is no such thing as parental alienation, false allegations of abuse, having a child labeled with a mental disorder to gain custody advantage, confiscatory child support awards, and endless interference with parenting time. Obama is most certainly at a unique time in American political history. Unfortunately, he is proving himself to be a problem for every day fathers and children.
You have to wonder how Obama would answer a divorced or unwed father who posed this question: "The court has my parenting time in place, but my child's mother keeps interfering with it. How can I see my child if the court keeps letting her get away with it?" I seriously doubt Obama would say that in this case it appears the mother is being the irresponsible one. Of course not. I seriously doubt Obama will be a President who stands up for the rights of fathers to be with their children on equal footing with mothers. I hope fathers understand that you cannot trust a man who keeps tying your fatherhood to responsibility as if you are not already responsible as it is.
Obama does attempt to throw a few bones to divorced and unwed fathers "who pay that child support" - but how much, does it change at all? - by promising "job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit." Herein lies the problem. More and more and more government. A divorced or unwed father doesn't want anything from the government except to see that the family courts he is helping function with his tax dollars - enforce his parenting time with his children, protect him against false allegations of abuse, protect him against confiscatory child support obligations that have nothing to do with supporting children. Obama thinks he can make "sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat", yet how will he do that when he won't do anything to mothers who interfere with parenting time between father and child?
The depths of Obama's audacity of stupidity when it comes to the real state of fatherhood in America runs deep. His choice of words and meaning is questionable. His judgment is extremely suspect. It says a lot about his character. Not to mention, his ability to lead in these times we live in.
So, what else is new?
Tony Zizza is a writer who lives in Hermitage, Tennessee. He writes frequently about politics and family issues. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.