O’s Daddy Problem: Fathers matter, but they don’t, he says
By: Daniel Clark
In a rare moment of gut-spilling from the normally aloof President Obama, he told a Chicago audience in February, “I wish I’d had a father who was around and involved.” It wasn’t the first time he’d spoken out about the importance of fathers, but it was probably the first time he’d done so since publicly announcing his “evolution” on the definition of marriage.
“There’s no more important ingredient for success,” he said, “nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families, which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood.” As if in awareness of his having strayed from the liberal orthodoxy, he hastily added that what’s important is to have “loving, supportive parents – and by the way, that’s all kinds of parents. That includes foster parents and extended families. It includes gay or straight parents. Those parents, supporting kids, that’s the most important thing.”
At first glance, there may not appear to be any contradiction here. One might presume that Obama is using some liberal redefinition that includes such potential “fathers” as grandparents, older siblings, in-laws, unrelated surrogate father figures, mothers named Stanley, especially good caddies, Marxist preachers, kits, cats, sacks and wives, and of course, good ol’ Uncle Sam. According to the currently accepted left-wing lexicon, anybody who “identifies as” a father must be recognized as one, right?
… But wait a minute. His personalization of the issue rules out any such redefinition. Obama was raised in Indonesia by his mother and stepfather, and in Hawaii by his grandparents, with the help of his mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. By “father,” in this context, he cannot have meant simply having yet another adult present. His wish was not to have belonged to some alternative family structure, perhaps consisting of a man, a boy, and Charlie Sheen. It was specifically for his own father, Barack Obama Sr., to have been involved in raising him.
When Obama said “we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood,” he was talking about promoting marriage as a means of producing actual fathers, not extended family members, second mothers or absentee sperm donors. What he was doing, until he caught himself, was upholding the ideal of the traditional nuclear family. That’s irreconcilable with his “evolution,” through which he has concluded that any two grown people can be married, whether one of them is a man or not.
Marriage originated from the recognition that a man and a woman have different, complementary traits, and that either of them individually is incomplete, but that they need each other in order to be made whole. This understanding precludes any attempt to approximate such a union with two people of the same sex. It is this that President Obama used to say he believed, but now says he does not.
Since Obama “evolved” from this presumably primitive concept, he believes that marriage is no longer a union of a man and a woman in order to make them whole. It is merely a formalization of any pair or collection of people who feel committed to each other. The wording of the ceremony might as well be changed to, “Do you take this person to be your BFF?”
His having arrived at this conclusion almost a year before his Chicago speech reveals his suggestion that we “promote marriage and encourage fatherhood” to be fatuous. What he is now telling us he believes is that it is extremely important for a family to have a father, but it is not the tiniest bit important for a marriage to have a man. Those two thoughts cannot coexist in the mind of a rational person.
Most advocates of same-sex marriage also advocate same-sex parenthood. Some of them even claim that homosexual and lesbian couples are better suited to raise children than mothers and fathers are. At least they’re being consistent. Obama’s stated desire to have been raised by a mother and father presumes the exact opposite.
If we had news reporters in this country, President Obama would be challenged to explain his contradictory views of marriage and the family until he gave a single, coherent answer. Why is having a father so important for him, they’d ask, but not important for the child of a female same-sex couple? By the end of his next “uuuuuuhh,” he’d better have thought of an answer.
Until that happens, we can only conclude that he has not really evolved as he claims, but rather has only changed his stripes.
Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, where he also publishes a seasonal sports digest as The College Football Czar.