Announcing $200 million in private funding for the initiative whereby businesses will connect young men with mentors, the president spoke about his personal history as a young son growing up without a father. This first-person connection is Obama’s most powerful weapon in encouraging two-parent homes, as well as highlighting societal trends that have minimized the importance of men and the need for role models to teach boys how to be men. Who better than the president of the United States? Well, of course, a father, but meanwhile ...
In minority communities, fathers became scarcer in part owing to a welfare program that was predicated upon no man in the house. It would not take long before marriage and fathers made little economic sense to many mothers. Three generations later, two-parent families have become a quaint memory.
The uniqueness of Obama’s outreach isn’t only that he is a man of color and has shared the sorrow of having to imagine his father’s dreams but that he is inoculated from criticisms that might have been raised against another type of politician. This is gratifying progress and marks a victory of common sense over ideology.