“The divorce system is counterintuitive and morally bankrupt, and needs reinventing… What the organized fathers’ groups want isn’t wrong or mean-spirited but right and fair to children. Who among us can blame a man, wrongfully denied his own child, for shouting out that he was framed?”–syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker
Washington Post syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, whose column is published in over 300 newspapers weekly, was recently awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Parker has long been a friend of the family court reform movement in general and Fathers & Families in particular, and we congratulate her on this impressive and well-deserved honor.
Parker was raised by a single father, Hal Connor, and spoke of him warmly and often in her columns. She wrote that from her father “I learned that fathers will lay their lives down for their children. I learned that men are capable of honor, valor, compassion and courage and that they are essential to instilling those virtues in their sons and daughters.”
In “I Have My Father’s Hands,” she explained:
“[My father believed] you did what you had to do in life with aplomb and dignity, whether it was fighting for your country or defending your values and beliefs. His were non-negotiable. He was fair to all and looked down on no one. He demanded honor, loyalty and honesty from his constituents- always. Honor and loyalty to family were the same as honor and loyalty to country. You betrayed neither, and died for both if you had to.
His favorite saying, by Theodore Roosevelt, sums up my father’s life and his legacy: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again … and who, at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
I kissed my father’s hands one final time as the hospital chaplain administered his last rites. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. As is this: Goodbye, Popsie.
Parker has often covered and praised Fathers & Families’ protest campaigns and work:
In “Bad Dads” a Bad Idea (5/2/08), she wrote in support of our successful Campaign Protesting the Fox Reality Show Bad Dads.
In Elian II: The Sequel (10/19/07), she supported our Campaign Protesting Florida DCF’s Mistreatment of Loving Father in ‘Elian Gonzalez II’ Case
In Let’s not alienate parents in custody battles (5/18/06), she praised our Campaign Against PBS’s Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence
In Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution (10/12/99), she described a presentation by Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., explaining, “I listened to Holstein’s presentation with a mixture of concern and sadness but, more important, of apprehension. I believe in the sincerity of these men, in their desire to be a part of their children’s lives, in their sense that they’ve been mistreated by courts that award children like chattel to mothers and treat fathers as mere financial providers.”
Fathers & Families has sent Parker a letter congratulating her. In it, we write:
Fathers & Families would like to congratulate you on your recent Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.
You have long been a friend of the family court reform movement in general and of Fathers & Families in particular. We have appreciated the eloquence with which you”ve detailed the importance of fathers. Moreover, in an era when too many media commentators lazily and inaccurately blame fathers for all fatherlessness, you have thoroughly investigated the many ways the family court system separates fathers from the children who love them and need them. In so doing, you have made yourself one of the leading voices for reform.
We have also often been moved by your descriptions of your relationship with your father, Hal Connor, and the central role he played in your life.
Fathers and Families” mission is to improve the lives of children and strengthen society by protecting the child”s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers. We know that you believe as we do and seek what we seek, and we honor you for your massive contributions to this important cause.
Our full letter can be seen here.