Strong families are the foundation of a strong nation. That is the obvious conclusion stated by everyone from Michael Novak to Senator Ben Sasse. In a short commentary on America, Senator Marco Rubio joins the discussion
He laments that for many Americans, marriage now resembles a luxury good, which he says keeps stable families from forming in the first place. “An economic gap has emerged in which working-class Americans are marrying less and less frequently.” Charles Murray documented in his book, Coming Apart, the percentage of children living with both biological parents is changing (85 percent of affluent and just 30 percent of working-class families). Unfortunately, an unstable home often leads to worse outcomes later in life.
Childhood itself also changed. He reminds us of the decline of “cornerstone institutions” that once nurtured parents and children. This denied “a generation of children the opportunity to experience relationships built through strong community bonds.” The void has been filled with social media which “spawns online bullying, widespread mental health issues, and countless hours formerly spent socializing, now spent alone.”
Senator Rubio realizes that only a small part of the solution is political. He has worked to expand the federal per-child tax credit and proposed other policy changes. But he understands that these may only treat the symptoms, not the cure. He understands that “no law can force someone to be a better parent or spouse.”
The ultimate solutions to family decline will take place in the social, cultural, and religious realm. That is why all of us must work to promote a pro-life, pro-family agenda and explain to those in our sphere of influence the importance of family.