I’m being sarcastic. Lots of people want to talk about fatherlessness. Far fewer are willing to do anything about it.
The already large and still growing collection of research confirming fathers’ importance shows that fatherlessness is a root cause of so many of society’s ills from crime to income inequality to public budgets. Yet the issue does not catch fire.
Part of this is cultural. For example, societal norms have seen a rise in “unformed families,” and cohabitation arrangements are less stable than marital ones. Such cultural problems require cultural fixes, which require long term strategies outside of politics.
However, once a child’s parents split, in the unformed families and in divorce, fatherless often results from court decree. This family law aspect of the problem has political solutions, relatively easy ones. So one might expect that right leaning groups in particular, those who are most likely to lament the decline of family, would push legislation for family law reform so that custody arrangements would encourage sufficient access to both parents — the Arizona plan is a good one to follow — but for the most part it is not there.
A handful of state politicians are shepherding family law reforms with help from grassroots groups. 2016 saw about 25 shared parenting bills up for consideration. But custody reform innovators get very little assistance from Republican allies and firm resistance from entrenched powers, typically high profile politicians, family law bar associations, and feminist groups.
Lots of pro-family talk. Not much action.