… We’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.
Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America. It is this kind of prosperity – broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class – that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world. — President Obama, 2013 State of the Union address
The brief chastisement of absentee dads that President Obama ticked off during last night’s State of the Union address quickly became the sound byte and retweet heard ’round the country. Which is fine. Because if there are fathers who were watching who are completely uninvolved (or underinvolved) with their children — and they are absent because marriage or remaining present and engaged presented financial impediments, then they may’ve needed to hear that. I’m all for taking any parent to task who’s willfully refusing to pull his or her own weight.
I also won’t pretend that single mothers don’t appreciate statements like this; it validates the experiences of those whose partners are not invested in parenting. Perhaps it even makes them feel as though they alone aren’t being “blamed” for their single parenthood.