Hi, everybody. This Sunday is Father’s Day, and so I wanted to take a moment to talk about the most important job many of us will ever have – and that’s being a dad.
Today we’re blessed to live in a world where technology allows us to connect instantly with just about anyone on the planet. But no matter how advanced we get, there will never be a substitute for the love and support and, most importantly, the presence of a parent in a child’s life. And in many ways, that’s uniquely true for fathers.
I am blessed to rule a country where I can tap at will into the private communications of anyone on the planet with a phone or an internet connection. Of course, it might be better to have a parental authority figure -- like the Constitution -- looking over my shoulder when I order an execution or sweep up your phone records -- but unfortunately, I do not possess that inner parent known as a moral compass.
I never really knew my own father. I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. And there are single parents all across the country who do a heroic job raising terrific kids. But I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved; another role model to teach me what my mom did her best to instill – values like hard work and integrity; responsibility and delayed gratification – all the things that give a child the foundation to envision a brighter future for themselves.I am 51 years old, leader of the free world, and I still crave a role model. Heaven help you. Now, where did I put that Kill List? My mom, whom I again damn with faint praise, "did her best to instill" those important values. But let's face it, she failed utterly. Single parents (i.e., mothers) may do a heroic job, but they just don't cut the mustard. Of all the countries in the civilized world, the United States treats its single mothers the most abysmally.
That’s why I try every day to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me. And I’ve met plenty of other people – dads and uncles and men without a family connection – who are trying to break the cycle and give more of our young people a strong male role model."Break the cycle" is my dog-whistle translation for the mythical absentee black father and the vicious cycle of the (largely fictional) trans-generational abandonment of families by black men. Due to some recent well-deserved criticism of how I treat the black community as a whole, I am only obliquely "going there" in this particular sermon.
Being a good parent – whether you’re gay or straight; a foster parent or a grandparent – isn’t easy. It demands your constant attention, frequent sacrifice, and a healthy dose of patience. And nobody’s perfect. To this day, I’m still figuring out how to be a better husband to my wife and father to my kids.Aw, shucks. I'm still figuring out domestic bliss the same way I'm still figuring out how to be the father of my country. Like, here I thought I was being a protective dad when I banned the morning-after pill for young girls. And then the courts told me I was acting too political. But hey -- I'm just the dad for whom the thought of his daughters having sex was worse than the thought of them becoming single moms. You see, not every child is lucky enough to have such caring enlightened parents as Michelle and me. Even though I have no experience, no role models -- I only have a self-sacrificing gaggle of advisers cocooning me the same way people have coddled me all my life. What a disaster for all concerned.
And I want to do what I can as President to encourage marriage and strong families. We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. And my Administration will continue to work with the faith and other community organizations, as well as businesses, on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood.Holy crap. David Brooks and Ross Douthat and the whole nihilistic conservative establishment just snuck into my brain. Polls show that people tend to demonize single mothers. Therefore, in keeping with the Ronald Reagan welfare queen mythos, I will just encourage those young hussies to get married instead of strengthening the government social safety net. Then, we can force the hordes of deadbeat dads to get jobs that either don't pay a living wage, or don't exist and won't exist because I and my Washington insider cohort are doing nothing to combat joblessness.
We are doing nothing, meanwhile, to rein in the big banks that have destroyed families and evicted them from their homes. We are doing nothing to prevent the mass closings of public schools in poor neighborhoods. Our War on Drugs is sweeping up young fathers and imprisoning them in record numbers. We keep sending young fathers off to war so that they cannot engage with their children.
I do not now, nor do I ever intend to, suggest that government should be the solution to our national crisis of unemployment, underemployment and wage stagnation. No -- I will just feebly "encourage" profit-hoarding, tax-evading corporations and churches to embark on a national propaganda campaign to instill guilt into all those lazy, no-good schmucks who don't feel like working and supporting their children. I am a right wing extremist to my very core. Austerity runs in my veins.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that all our personal successes shine a little less brightly if we fail at family. That’s what matters most. When I look back on my life, I won’t be thinking about any particular legislation I passed or policy I promoted. I’ll be thinking about Michelle, and the journey we’ve been on together. I’ll be thinking about Sasha’s dance recitals and Malia’s tennis matches – about the conversations we’ve had and the quiet moments we’ve shared. I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by them, and whether they knew, every day, just how much they were loved.Without a picture postcard family, what good is it being a millionaire? As I embark on my lucrative post-presidential career, it will be all about me and mine. I don't want to look back upon eight years of half-measures, disasters and disappointments; I prefer to fondly recall the elitist pursuits of my own spawn. I choose to be blissfully unaware that the vast majority of struggling Americans cannot afford tennis and dance lessons for their children. As a matter of fact, one in four American children lives in poverty. Congress, through massive cuts to SNAP funding, is about to snatch the very food they eat right out of their mouths.
That’s what I think being a father is all about. And if we can do our best to be a source of comfort and encouragement to our kids; if we can show them unconditional love and help them grow into the people they were meant to be; then we will have succeeded.Holy Crap. Thomas Hobbes just snuck into my brain. Give the kiddies cold comfort, because that's all you got, proles! Record wealth inequity will continue, because.... "Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and have a great weekend.I know I will. I'll be thinking of Michelle and the girls and all of you brutes as I hit the links this weekend with my all-male entourage of role models.