July 23, 2024

Brownback on Broken American Families

Via the NY Times, former Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback writes, briefly and brilliantly about the plight of the American family and our youth two generations removed from the free love revolution.

Over the past five decades in the United States, the marriage rate has gone down and the divorce rate has gone up. In 1960, the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 5 percent. Now it is 37 percent. While you can valiantly raise a good child in another setting and we ought to celebrate it when it happens, the best way to rear a child is between a mom and dad bonded together for life.

Children brought up with a mom and dad bonded in marriage are, on average, far more likely to succeed in school, avoid crime and live happier and healthier lives. The best way to reduce poverty, fight crime and improve education is to rebuild the family.

Yes sir, that is correct.  My own mother was a single parent for a time before re-marrying my step-father.  Although it might make for a better story I won’t say that she was a failing parent during this period.  That wouldn’t be true.  But Brownback is correct in saying that 2 parents are better than 1. 

First, there’s something about having an engaged male in the house that makes discipline issues not happen.  Prevention is, after all, the best cure of all.  Second, 2 sets of eyes and ears make sure that budding problems get nipped early.  Parents of either gender need backup, especially when kids reach their teenage years.  Third, 2 parents are simply able to devote more time to their children than a single parent and this investment results in the successes that Brownback mentions.

The one thing that Brownback doesn’t mention in this short editorial is that a significant reason for the number of single mothers in America today is the self-indulgent behavior of young men in our society.

If you want to have a serious conversation about the failure of marriage as an institution you have to begin there, in my opinion. 

I am not a fan of Barack Obama’s social policies.  Frankly I believe that they are too expensive, too liberal, and too forgiving of those who refuse to accept responsibility for their own lives.

But nine months ago, before he lost me, Obama nailed the issue with young men’s lack of maturity and its effect on society dead to rights:

“There are a lot of men out there who need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise a child”

Obama was speaking specifically about young black males in that statement.  But his words are more important than that and should not be bound by the race issue. 

Increasingly young men of all creeds, classes, and colors are coming of age without male role models in their lives and it shows in their childish behavioral patterns.

The way to combat this, it seems to me, is to re-inject men into the lives of boys.  Homes, churches, and schools all need intentionally put good men in the way of wayward boys so that they have the opportunity to learn what it means to be a man.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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