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What happens when fathers are absent

DEAR EDITOR:

Ninety percent of all U.S. prison inmates never had a father involved in their lives; 40 percent of all homes in Western culture now are fatherless. Since LBJ’s war on poverty, the rate of poverty has remained about the same, 11 to 15 percent, over the past 50 years. In the early 1900s, about 40 to 45 percent of the U.S. population was considered in poverty. The improvements of wealth and prosperity are due to economic growth and expansion during World War II and post-war boom. The Cato Institute think tank has come up with a sum of almost $15 trillion spent on welfare programs, with poverty rates remaining about the same as during the Johnson administration.

So what did $15 trillion buy?

It has purchased fatherless homes, children who are likely to have emotional issues, drug and alcohol dependence, higher dropout rates, higher rates of incarceration, increased behavior issues and violence, to mention a few. Children raised by a single parent, in general, are worse off than average children growing up in a two-parent home, regardless of race or educational background. The poorest among us are the most adversely affected by the very program supposed to assist. Since the 1960s, the black community went from 19 percent single-parent homes to 64 percent of children living with a single parent.

Our society, as a whole, thinks children are resilient and can overcome missing love of a father, or that fathers aren’t necessary in a child’s life. Children are told to express their emotions without restraint or control. Is there any wonder why some children murder helpless children — taking out their pain on society as a whole? This is the same society that tells them we’re killing the earth, soon we will kill ourselves by killing the planet and all hope is lost. Could it be our children observe adults and our elected officials putting blame on others instead of taking responsibility for the poor decisions made? Could they be observing adults failing to fix and face up to the consequences for those failures?

Masculinity is not evil; it is necessary. When a father’s love is missing in our families, the pain of that loss is sometimes expressed in violence. We can build more prisons, incarcerate more people, write additional laws on top of laws, remove the rights from law-abiding citizens and in the end, none of these measures will ever resolve the violence. What if the government would stop programs that incentivize single parenthood and instead provide incentives for marriage and family?

TIM SANTELL

Kinsman

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