The Centennial of Father's Day
And a case study in the fate of the fatherless, Barack Obama
“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness.” –James Wilson
Father’s Day was first celebrated the third Sunday in June in the year 1910.
The original observance was in honor of William Jackson Smart, an Arkansas veteran of the War Between the States, who raised a daughter and five sons on his own, after his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. Smart was devoted to his children, as they were to him, and his daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, wanted to honor her father for that devotion.
Though Mother’s Day had been observed in one form or another for centuries, Fathers Day was a fitting complement, and within a few years following the first ceremony, it became a national rite.
While this first formal recognition came about just a century ago, it was abundantly clear to our Founding Fathers that families with both mothers and fathers were critical to the well-being of children.
John Adams wrote, “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families…. How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?”
His wife, Abigail, wrote, “What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.”
The vital role of fathers has been extolled throughout history, in virtually every religion and culture. No less, it is now well understood that the foundation of our nation is “laid in private families,” and that this foundation is critical if the next generation is to be “wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.”
Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of negligence among fathers today, and consequently (according to the CDC, DoJ, DHHS and the Bureau of the Census) the 30 percent of children who live apart from their fathers will account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high-school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90 percent of homeless and runaway children.
The causal link between fatherless children and crime “is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” notes social researcher Barbara Dafoe Whitehead.
More to the point, a counselor at a juvenile-detention facility in California, which has the nation’s highest juvenile-incarceration rate, protested, “[If] you find a gang member who comes from a complete nuclear family, I’d like to meet him. … I don’t think that kid exists.”
Arguably, the vast majority of social problems confronting our nation today originate in homes without fathers, which would include those without functioning or effective fathers.
“Maturity does not come with age, but with the accepting of responsibility for one’s actions,” writes family therapist, Dr. Edwin Cole. “The lack of effective, functioning fathers is the root cause of America’s social, economic and spiritual crises.”
I note here that while most fatherless homes are the result of neglect on the part of fathers, an increasing number of fatherless homes are the result of mothers who separate from the fathers of their children without reasonable grounds for severance. However, the majority of those separations are generationally related to dissolved families, where the broken trust between a daughter and her father is directly related to the inability of that daughter to, later in life, form a trusting bond necessary for a healthy marriage with her husband.
Of course, there are young people who were raised by a single parent, or in critically dysfunctional or impoverished homes, but who overcame that impediment. Either they were blessed with a parent who, against all but insurmountable odds, instilled their children with the values and virtues of good citizenship or, somewhere along the way, those children were lifted out of their misery by the grace of God – often in the form of a significant mentor who modeled individual responsibility and character.
As a result, they have been empowered to internalize their locus of responsibility, to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices and behavior.
However, the vast majority of those from homes without fathers externalize responsibility for problems and solutions, holding others to blame for their ills, and bestowing upon the state the duty of providing basic needs and, ultimately, of arbitrating proper conduct.
The failure of fatherhood is more than just a social problem; it is a menacing national security threat. The collective social pathology of the fatherless has dire consequences for the future of Liberty, free enterprise and the survival of our republican form of government as outlined by our Constitution.
One may rightly conclude that most “liberalism,” the rejection of Essential Liberty and Rule of Law, is rooted in pathology that runs much deeper than topical ideological indoctrination. Indeed, psychopathology dictates, or frames, worldview, and worldview is manifested in such expressions as political affiliation.
In this respect, the pathology of the Left is transparent.
This pathology tends to result in mental rigidity, fear, anger, aggression and insecurity, the result of low self-esteem and arrested emotional development associated, predominantly, with fatherless households or critically dysfunctional families in which children were not adequately affirmed. Such individuals harbor contempt for those who are self-sufficient for much the same reason. They believe that conforming to a code of non-conformity is a sign of individualism, when it is nothing more than an extreme form of conformism for those who are truly insecure. Though they feign concern for the less fortunate and the primacy of individual liberty, they are ardent statists.
They fear loss because most have suffered significant loss. They often come from socially or economically deprived single-parent homes, though inheritance-welfare trust-babies (see Gore, Kerry, the Kennedys, et al.) manifest similar insecurities about helplessness without external sustenance (their trust funds). They reject individual and social responsibility because such principles were not modeled for them as children – and the generational implications for Liberty are ominous.
Some of the fatherless (or those with ineffectual fathers), seek to compensate for the resulting insecurities through overachievement, which is to say they are case studies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the standard reference used for psychiatric evaluation. These deprived children are relentlessly driven by self-interest, narcissism and visions of grandiosity.
The more notorious of narcissists in the last century include Adolf Hitler, Iosif Vissarionouich Djugashvili (Joseph Stalin), Mao Zedong and Saddam Hussein.
The more seemingly benign of the fatherless (or those without effective fathers) in recent U.S. political history include Bill Clinton, Albert Gore, John Kerry, and the textbook case of Barack Hussein Obama.
On the official White House website, the bio for Obama begins, “His story is the American story – values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family…”
That is certainly the image Obama would like to project, but it is most certainly not accurate.
Like so many Leftists, his roots are shallow and broken, and they are in no way a reflection of “values from the heartland.”
“Barry,” as he was called when a youngster, was born in 1961 to Stanley “Ann” Dunham, an atheist anthropologist, and Barack Obama Sr., a Muslim from the Luo tribe in Kenya. When he was just two, Obama’s parents separated and later divorced. Obama’s mother then married another Muslim, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian national. Barack took his stepfather’s name and he and his mother moved with Lolo to Jakarta, where he spent four years in local Islamic schools. Ann and Lolo also divorced, but not before sending Barry to Hawaii to reside with his maternal grandparents and attend the exclusive Punahou School.
In those years, young Obama was greatly influenced by others, most notably an avowed Marxist, Frank Marshall Davis, and later a “spiritual mentor,” Jeremiah Wright, who spewed racial hatred.
Often accompanying narcissistic pathology, as in the case of Obama, are strong charismatic abilities, which attract a cult of sycophantic followers, or as Obama put it in the opening pages of his political autobiography, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
It’s no coincidence that Obama’s most loyal constituencies are the product of the social, cultural and economic blight in many urban settings, breeding grounds for legions of disenfranchised Leftists, those who are largely dependent on the state for all manner of their welfare, protection and sustenance.
When campaigning for president, Obama proclaimed, “What Washington needs is adult supervision.” Unfortunately, young Barry never received enough of it himself that he might provide it to anyone else, much less an entire nation.
To be sure, all good-hearted Americans should possess a measure of compassion for young Barry Obama, whose bizarre formative years were marked by complete familial disintegration.
Unfortunately, misplaced empathy has played a key role in his unchecked rapid rise through the ranks to the most powerful political seat in the world – at great peril to the future of liberty. Actions have consequences, and the grossly negligent act of electing a “community organizer” to the presidency – is producing devastating consequences, as even many leftists are now discovering.
So where to go from here?
In regard to fatherhood, the foundational future of our nation will spring from our homes, as John and Abigail Adams understood.
The fate of the fatherless is, at best, a broken heart. At worst, it is the root cause of the social entropy we observe in contemporary American culture, because the fate of the fatherless is directly linked to the faith of the fatherless, their relationship with God the Father. Broken trust with earthly fathers often results in a lack of trust in the Heavenly Father.
On this Father’s Day Centennial, we should pay tribute to the irreplaceable institution of marriage and fatherhood – and the importance of a father’s love, discipline, support and protection for his children. Every day, those of us who are fathers should encourage other fathers to be accountable for their marriages and children. (For excellent fathering resources, link to First Things First).
There is much that can be done for the fatherless – mentoring through Boy Scouts, coaching little-league sports, teaching in Sunday school, tutoring and volunteering to work with high-risk kids through an inner-city ministry, to name just a few. We, as American Patriots, must bridge the gap for these kids.
As for this publisher, it is a privilege beyond all others to be a husband to Ann and father of three. Indeed, no reward could be greater than the close relationship with my children, and to see their progress as Patriots-in-training – responsible young citizens committed to carrying forward the flame of liberty.