File this under "The Hell????" There is an initiative called the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative where fathers are taught job skills and how to connect with their children. The Bush Administration has already given $50 million annually to the initiative. And guess who wants in on the action.
The National Organization for Women.
NOW, along with a female advocacy group called Legal Momentum, filed complaints with the Department of Health and Human Services claiming that the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative discriminates against women. President of Legal Momentum, Kathy Rodgers, said, ""What we're asking them to do is to make sure that the grantees provide equal services to women and men." Furthermore, NOW President Kim Gandy said, "The proposals they received and funded clearly indicate that they only intend to serve fathers."
Where do I begin with this one? Let's start with the larger target, the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. Is this really what we should be spending taxpayer money on? Maybe it's my natural distrust of anything that smacks of unnecessary government involvement, but responsible fatherhood should be natural to any man who donates half of his chromosomes to a baby. I know there are plenty of men out there who don't take this responsibility seriously enough, but I don't think we want Big Brother to become Big Daddy, too.
If you're a man and you get a woman pregnant, you had better be responsible or else you'll be responsible for how that child turns out, regardless if you're down the block or across the country. Too many kids today are in fatherless homes because the male of the species decided to skip town. Those who don't and really work to be the best father they can be to their progeny showcase what it takes to be a father, not just the winner of the Baby Daddy Lottery. And when you consider the divorces and infidelity in the nation's capitol these days, I think you'd prefer to stick around and raise your children yourselves.
Now, onto NOW. It's really cute what you're trying to do, but let me give you a clue. There are some things men can do that women can't, like being a father. And, no, being a single mom doesn't count. Just because you have to do the job of two parents doesn't make you a mommy and a daddy. There are things that fathers impart on sons and daughters that cannot be duplicated by a woman, no matter how manly she is. In this case, gender discrimination is a good thing. The last time a woman tried to advise a man how to be a man, we almost got Al Gore as President.
Some have said that if NOW gets their wish, the federal government should cut funding to programs designed specifically for women, like WIC and breast cancer. Sorry, but most of the programs in question don't quite equate. However, I do think if NOW gets their way, we should do away with federal funding of abortions. (Actually, I think it's a good idea regardless, but this situation allows us to advance the argument using NOW's own logic against them.) After all, who is the only gender to get abortions? Why, it's women. And we can't spend money solely on women, can we? Why, if we did, it would be...gender discrimination!
Anyone want to take bets on how well that would sit with NOW? Didn't think so.
If NOW were smart, they wouldn't be trying to shut down the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative; they would be helping to make it a success. A good father in the house allows the mother to do more, including working outside of the home, which is something NOW seems to like women to do. We can speculate about why NOW feels the need to hamstring the Initiative with silly gender equality guidelines, but one thing is clear. NOW simply doesn't want to be left out of the loop when it comes to federal money.
Tell you what, NOW and Legal Momentum. If you can show me a woman who can become a father, I'll go along with you. But you'll excuse me if I don't hold my breath waiting.