They should ban Father’s Day.
It is racist, sexist and heterocentric.
It is one more example of the Christian patriarchy and its oppressive cultural colonialism.
I’m waiting for somebody to say that.
Some college professor, some school superintendent, some activist at a lectern.
I’m counting down the days until Father’s Day is no more.
Because soon will come the day when father is no more.
Already he is absent across broad swathes of our society, and the coming years will see that trend expand geometrically. Already in some communities – and community schools – Father’s Day is quietly ignored because of the discomfort and questions it generates.
Here are the figures.
Forty percent of American children are born out of wedlock, and that number is growing every year. The trend is dramatically away from children being born with a father in the home and a woman in a committed relationship.
The era of the single mom is on the way.
And in some communities, it is already well established.
Among Latinos, 53 percent of babies are born out of wedlock. Among blacks, 70 percent of children are born out of wedlock. Among whites living in poverty, 70 percent of children are born out of wedlock.
The notion of marrying has fallen dramatically and possibly forever out of favor.
But this isn’t about marriage, it is about fathers. And while the two are not the same thing, they are statistically almost always connected.
Unmarried men can be fathers, but they tend to be dysfunctional and occasional fathers. They contribute, sometimes, but not always anything meaningful or worthwhile.
Which gets us back to Father’s Day.
If you have a classroom full of elementary students, and it’s the middle of May, and you’re looking for a craft project, do you make Father’s Day cards?
If the class is demographically mixed, the odds are – out of a 30-student class – that 12 will not have fathers. The odds are that 12 will be left with nobody to make a card for. If it is an inner-city classroom, there is a fair chance that something more than 20 of the students will have no fathers.
That means no Father’s Day in school.
And what about race?
Father’s Day quickly becomes, if you look at birth statistics, a predominantly white celebration. It also very quickly excludes African-Americans.
So what we describe now as some extreme future – a world without Father’s Day – is not that far distant, and it’s not that far out of the question.
Which means we should do something.
Not about preserving a holiday.
But about preserving fatherhood.
Fatherhood is quickly becoming unnecessary and obsolete, at least in the eyes of many in society. Government does the providing and protecting, government does the teaching and guiding, maybe someday soon government will do the clinical conceiving.
Men find themselves without a purpose or role, and the natural encouragements to take upon themselves natural roles – as providers, protectors and teachers – are weak or nonexistent. And so men, particularly men who may not have had good role models themselves, drift into useless and destructive lives.
Most men are born to be husbands and fathers, to provide for a family and watch over it, and to feel the love and pride of growing children with developing talents and lives. There are gender roles, and while we are all individuals free to become who our nature and our choice push us to be, the fact is that most men have an urge to fill this role.
Unfortunately, everything from the welfare check to the sitcoms to the TV commercials pushes against them, mocking them and discouraging them and setting for them an example of selfishness and debauchery.
And men raised without men seldom truly become men.
And so here we are.
Our reaction is to smooth the way for male failure and female independence. We see the social pathogen spreading from out-of-wedlock birth and single parenthood and we attack it by facilitating and financing it, instead of discouraging it.
Instead of fostering fatherhood.
Instead of teaching and expecting men to be men. Instead of encouraging men to be fathers, instead of just sires.
It’s easy to get a woman pregnant.
It’s even easier to get a woman pregnant and run off.
It’s far harder to take her hand and raise her child.
Yet that is what nature, society and untold millions of little children need American men to do.
Not to save Father’s Day.
But to save fatherhood.
And, thereby, to save society.