"the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect."
It's a bold way of highlighting some of the social problems that are connected to the growth in fatherless families.
I don't know if it's a good political tactic or not. But what is certainly clear is that Wisconsin has an issue when it comes to fatherless homes. In the linked article it states that one third of parents in Wisconsin are single - that's clearly unsustainable. And it turns out that in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, 62% of children are raised in single parent households. That's an incredible figure - and one that ought to be ringing alarm bells.
But what has been the reaction to Glenn Grothman? The reaction has not been "Yes we have a major problem that needs to be fixed but I'm not sure about your methods of confronting the issue". The reaction has been very different - and troubling.
If you look at the comments to the Yahoo article (3,300 of them) the most common arguments are as follows:
- Grothman is simply a moron
- The reason for single motherhood is women fleeing abusive men
- Grothman shouldn't tell people how to live
- My children did OK with a single mum so what's Grothman talking about?
- There are women who become single mothers through widowhood so Grothman is ignorant
- It's all the fault of dead-beat dads
There are a few commenters who recognise growing fatherlessness as a social problem but they're a small minority.
Similarly, the opinion piece in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is titled "Quality, not quantity, of parents is what counts". The writer, Amy Turin, argues:
Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) would like to put an end to the scourge of single-parent households or at least demonize these loving families that do not suit his preconceived notion of what a family should be. Recent legislation proposed by Grothman would require single-parent household status to be considered a risk factor for child neglect and abuse.
She believes that support for a family with a father in it is just a "preconceived notion of what a family should be". She finishes her opinion piece by calling Senator Grothman "prejudiced" and "out of touch with today's realities" for supporting the traditional family.
I find this response troubling because it shows the extent to which a culture supporting a traditional family life has been lost in parts of the U.S. The values and beliefs supporting a stable family life are no longer there. And the idea of a state subsidised single mother model of family life is being treated as a norm and a right rather than as an exception.
When you have 62% of children being raised in single parent households in a large city like Milwaukee then it's predictable you're going to have trouble. In the UK, for instance, a government review has found that a majority of the most dysfunctional families are fatherless and that each such family costs the public US$118,000 a year. The majority of rioters in the 2011 London riots were also from fatherless homes.
As for Milwaukee, that city has been hit by a spate of "wildings" in which groups of young black men suddenly gather and attack whites:
Large groups of young African-Americans engaged in widespread fighting at the fair midway, and then attacked white fairgoers as they headed home for the night. More than 30 were arrested, and seven officers were injured.
Would that many violent people coincidentally show up at one place at the same time, or are mobs like this forming with the help of social networking sites? We asked that question about the melee at Mayfair in January, and now we're left to wonder again. These incidents are not isolated if they keep happening.
The black kids at the fair started by beating up each other, police said, and at closing time they turned that rage on whites outside the gates. This newspaper normally avoids mentioning the race of people involved in crime, unless it's part of a description to help apprehend someone at large.
But this incident, along with the looting and racially motivated beatings in Riverwest last month, has forced the issue. Similar wilding forced the Greek festival to move out of its northwest side neighborhood, the late Riversplash was hobbled by violence, and Summerfest this year had trouble at a hip-hop show.
Eugene Kane, himself a black American from Milwaukee, wrote:
When people start reporting they were being beaten by black people for no other reason than being white people at the State Fair, that's pretty disturbing.
It's also thuggish and disgusting.
In the comments you read of people choosing to leave Milwaukee, or not to visit, because of such violence. That then leads to a further decline as those from a more stable culture move elsewhere, leaving behind them an even higher concentration of welfare families.
My point isn't that everyone from a single mother family is going to turn out badly. That's obviously not the case. But what is true is that where you have a high concentration of single mother families, you then get a kind of matriarchal culture that is associated with poverty and violence. It is only when young men are brought into a stable role as fathers within a family, that a society reaches a level of productivity and lawfulness that allows it to secure higher civilisational outcomes.
The black American family has already experienced a dramatic decline, but the white family is trending the same way. It's a trend that has to be discouraged, which is presumably what Senator Grothman is attempting to do.