Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Every four years, I forget; in the US, people do not only elect a candidate for President, but also a family.  And every four year,  we  have to watch the self-righteous -yet apparently modest and restrained- display of familial intimacy of the candidates at both parties conventions.

In her speech last week, Ann Romney set new heights in this indecent exercise. She claimed “it was about love;” yet there was nothing cuddling in this display of love. She loves the guy who took her to the high school prom, alright.  The rest of us? She doesn’t know who we are.

First, the lady claimed she had a “real marriage.” Are there people who don’t? Would she mean, perhaps, that some – gays (?)- are not having ones? Second, she talks to and about people who have a role in a family, even a broken one – single dads, for instance (she mentioned them and these were perhaps the best two words of her speech). Singles, just singles, as Condoleezza Rice? It ‘s about families, stupid. Even the guy who brought her back from the dance said it. Raising kids was the most important thing. Ann did it. Why wasn’t he more involved with his five kids? We kind of understood that was a story of comparative advantage: she had the women thing with kids, he was more gifted making money for Bain, before putting himself to saving this country.

Back to Ann. “We don’t want easy,” she says.  She does not know anything but easy, and in any case, we, divorced fathers, want it right and legit. From 1993 to 2009, the share of women getting sole custody of the kids has increased: to 84% from 83%. In addition to their parenting rights going down the drain, divorced fathers had to cope with family courts busy to enforce laws designed to satisfy the desires of all the Ann Romneys that were not brought back from the dance: pay – no matter what, even if you loose your job. And if you can’t, just go to jail.

This brings us to the only guy one wanted to meet in this Republican convention, and perhaps the democratic one. The fellow Ted Cruz said the immigrants did not come to meet in America: “the well-meaning bureaucrat.  The guy who puts his arms around your shoulders and says: let me take care of you?” The fellow delivers goodies that are part of a just society in some other parts of the world: a justice that guarantees equal parenting rights; paid pregnancy leaves; public and free nursery schools and even, minimum income for single parents up to the kids reach a certain age.

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Every four years, at the time of the presidential elections, I get more annoyed by the irrelevance of the debate on family values.  This week, the Arizona episode of the republican debate sank to a record low on this issue. We heard the chorus of the four  knights of the traditional heterosexual family whining about its disappearance: Apprentice Patriarch Santorum quoted the New York Times on 40% of children born out of wedlock,  Mr. Virtue -Romney- added that 40% of these children born in sin were from certain groups (guess whose) and lamented the lack of abstinence teaching in school, Marriage Boulimic Gingrich kicked at Obama rewarding infanticide doctors. The pearl was Paul’s synthesis of this fruitful exchange: “don’t blame the pill, blame immorality.” Yes folks, the poor are immoral (and by the way, they don’t have the money to buy the pill), and the rich virtuous. And eventually the poor can be rich, with less government, more free markets and a return to the gold standard. I guess there is an antique quality to it that may make it sound novel.

Let’s leave eighteenth century Europe, fast forward and listen to the democratic side of the debate. We are not yet in the twenty-first century. What do we hear there? On the one hand, some very timid openings to other types of families, that led by same-sex parents; on the other hand, the defense of the “traditional” family. Who is to blame for its troubles? One culprit: Immoral men deserting their families, leaving misery and single motherhood behind them. Actually the law has the bastards pay for it.  Thats’ actually the only right they have: pay child support and better stay employed if they don’t want to end up in jail.

When will these sinister charlatans stop preaching and get real? The traditional American family has lost its preeminence? De profundis. Let us work with the families we have and give divorced fathers what they don’t have: the right to raise their children – and the obligations that come with it-  on an equal footing with their ex-wife or girlfriend. We will find out that single moms may be single moms but no single parent.  And everybody, children mostly perhaps, will be better off.

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