On Sunday, families across the country will be honoring the patriarch of their families with gifts, food, spending time together, or another way to commemorate Father’s Day.
Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio said Father’s Day should be for more than just mailing fathers something over the internet (though, he said that is still acceptable).
According to Rubio, the American society has commercialized the holiday and has obscured “its true meaning”: shifting the day away from honoring fathers with respect and towards meaninglessly giving them a gift.
Here’s Rubio in his own words, via the Federalist:
An Internet search for “Father’s Day 2018” brings up a top hit: “20 Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts That Are Amazon Prime-Eligible.” Now, like most dads, I’m not one to complain about receiving gifts (especially when they involve a good weekend of fishing), but something is wrong when popular culture understands the obligations of Father’s Day as nothing more than a 30-minute phone call and shipping your dad something Amazon’s website said were “Dad’s Favorites.”
Like so many other things in our culture today, the commercialization of this holiday obscures its true meaning. Father’s Day is about so much more than store sales and cheesy coffee mugs. It is, to borrow the words a resolution President Calvin Coolidge once signed on its celebration, a day “to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations,” and remind ourselves of the importance of fatherhood to our country.
The Florida Republican said it should go without saying that fathers are important and Father’s Day should be recognized as a day to remind fathers everywhere that they are valued, not just for the things they bring into families, but for the immeasurable qualities they contribute to the family.
“Their responsibilities in families and society are all essential to the strength of our country,” Rubio writes.
“Fathers and mothers serve equally important, but distinct, functions in raising children,” he continues. “Fathers play the indispensable role in protecting their families from harm, encouraging children to overcome challenges, disciplining children with authority, and teaching boys how to become responsible men by modeling responsibility themselves.”
“This should not be controversial,” Rubio adds.
In fact, it is an area of bipartisan agreement. President Barack Obama once said, “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives…family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.”
From the Moynihan report to Republicans partnering with President Bill Clinton on welfare reform, politicians who have studied the causes of family instability and poverty have all recognized the crucial role fathers play. It’s something worth remembering this Father’s Day, because the absence of strong fathers and strong families is the leading cause of so much of our current social chaos.
Rubio said the consequences of fatherlessness are evident throughout the country, “in deep and sometimes unexpected ways.” And:
The results of our confusion on what it means to become a man, and its culminating rite of passage in responsible fatherhood, afflict communities throughout our country. It makes for an alarming number of working-age young men who do not work, seem to have no drive, and take drugs to escape their frustration. It makes for an equally alarming number of young men who abuse women, abandon financial responsibility for their children, become thugs, or become ridiculous hyper-masculine idiots. The data on this point is irrefutable: fatherlessness is associated with higher rates of poverty, crime, drug addiction, and divorce, perpetuating a cycle for generations to come.
The Florida Senator laments that one day-a-year to honor fathers is not enough to fix these societal problems and that politicians are powerless to confront issues causing fatherlessness. But, he said, people should be quick to encourage in men: “virtues of honor, drive to provide, bravery, courage, conviction, gentle toughness, and strength of will.”
Fatherhood in America is in decline. It comes with responsibilities all fathers need to fulfill. And it has an importance all of us need to to value, respect and encourage. #FathersDay2018 https://t.co/MIzxR3X9Tr
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 16, 2018