Many men voted based on their sex
By Stuart A. Miller
Mainstream pundits know men made the difference, and they have many nice comfortable theories to explain why. Only problem with their safe assumptions is, they just don't get it.
Special from the American Fathers Coalition
1994 Maryland - In what has already been coined: "The Year of the Man" and the "Year of the Angry Man," it appears that many men voted based on one primary criteria: their sex.
George McCasland, Communications Director for the National Congress for Men & Children reported that they received an unusually high number of phone calls asking which candidates were the most father-friendly, especially on their Washington, D.C. line: (202) FATHERS. McCasland said that among other things, men are sick and tired of being labeled "Dead-Beats" merely because they are fathers.
This makes sense when you realize that only a small percentage of child support obligors are intentionally avoiding financial child support. According to the Seventeenth Annual Child Support Report to Congress, 70 percent of all child support ordered, is paid. Of the remaining 30 percent, the GAO reports that two-
thirds is unpaid because of the father's inability to pay. What we don't hear about is the fact that only 20 percent of non-custodial mothers pay support or that over 90 percent of fathers with joint custody pay all of their support on time and in full. For fathers with visitation, the compliance rate is almost 80 percent, proving that fathers who are allowed to be parents, support their children.
Unfortunately, almost half of the fathers who are ordered to pay child support receive no court ordered visitation. And for those who are awarded visitation, it is often thwarted by the mothers of their children. Joan Berlin Kelley, Ph.D., in her landmark book Surviving the Breakup, found that 50 percent of custodial mothers see no value in the father's continued interaction with their children. Professor Sanford Braver at the University of Arizona, confirmed these findings and also found that 40 percent of custodial mothers make this well known to the fathers by interfering with the father's access to their children and theirs with him.
Despite the clear cut correlation between child support and visitation, Congress and family law judges across the country have led us to believe that a man's only value to his family is financial. Men have a great psychological and spiritual need for families, which is evidenced by their high suicide rates when they become widowed or divorced and their higher re-marriage rates after losing a spouse. Even more important is the psychological and emotional contribution that fathers give to their children. It is universally recognized by the psychological community that there is a direct link between the amount of father-child contact and a child's healthy development. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that a child living with his/her divorced mother, compared to a child living with both parents is 375 percent more likely to need professional treatment for emotional or behavioral problems and is almost twice as likely to repeat a grade of school, is more likely to suffer chronic asthma, frequent headaches, and/or bedwetting, develop a stammer or speech defect, suffer from anxiety or depression, and be diagnosed as hyperactive. With these facts in mind, it is no wonder that male voters acted to replace a Congress that ignored children's emotional and psychological needs.
While we know there is no excuse for intentionally failing to support one's own children, we rarely hear that data indicates women are more likely than men to fall into the dead-beat category. False child support data has fostered a multi-billion dollar bureaucracy that has chosen to ignore the psychological and emotional needs of children. But, just as there is no excuse for denying a father access to his children and they to him, there is no excuse for Congress to ignore our children's emotional needs. It is well known that there is a direct correlation between father-
absence and crime, substance abuse, school drop-outs, teen-age pregnancy, and a host of other social maladies. Why did Congress refuse to acknowledge and address the root cause of most of our country's problems?
Men are tired of being treated as nothing more than sperm donors and cash cows. When men are involved with their children, there is no financial child support crisis. As the census data indicates, men who are allowed to be parents are more than willing to contribute voluntarily to their children's needs. It is only when men are discarded and driven away by misguided government policies, brought about by the unintended consequences of good intentions, that a problem arises. Although there are exceptions to every rule, the message to Congress is clear: Men want to be treated like parents and be involved in their children's lives. Men have not been treated like parents and are dissatisfied. And as often happens with dissatisfied people, they vote.
Stuart A. Miller is Senior Legislative Analyst for the American Fathers Coalition, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 148, Washington, D.C. 20006