Friday January 9, in the train on my way to Manhattan Family Court, trying to get -without much hope- a revision of my divorce agreement that would include, among others, bringing down child support payments and having sicko ex-wife use my health insurance for dental and vision expenses. In the billboard of the train, I noticed the sentence “This is one of 10 ways to be a great dad” followed by nyc.gov/NYCDADS. Below, the picture of a young, black man at a table with a kid that you imagine being his son.
I don’t know why I paid attention to this ad. For once, the MTA train is on time; more likely, when you have been kept from seeing your children normally for more than seven years thanks to an unfounded child abuse trial, you wonder what it is to be a a dad, let alone a good dad; finally, the “kick” of it : would you even think of an ad trumpeting “the 10 best ways to be a good mum?”
Guess what: the office of Mayor Bloomberg, who created this campaign, does not have much clues about dads. The notable dad on the website,Phillipp Banks Jr, is the exemplary retired police officer. A family man, with now many grandchildren. Between the lines of Philipp Banks Jr’s portrait, we learn in fact more about what the office of the Mayor really thinks dads are: dangerous unemployed, uncontrollable fellows on the outskirts of society. The office of the mayor timidly acknowledged that dads are sometimes unfairly ostracized by their former spouse, who might speak badly about them with the children. In this case, Dr Vincent Guilamo Ramos, Ph.D. has the answer: just talk it over with your ex-spouse. Thank you, Dr. Guilamo Ramos!
This Bloomberg dude cannot help patronizing: first smokers, then New Yorkers who are supposed to crave for a third Bloomberg term to rescue them from the financial crisis and now dads!
If you want to be serious with dads, Mr Bloomberg, first avoid the old clichés about dads. Second, put on the table meaningful propositions such as reforming family laws, starting with share parenting, making parental alienation syndrome a crime and child support payments dependent on both parent incomes.