The Daily Aztec

Dear former first lady, not all divorced dads are bad fathers

There are great fathers in America, divorced ones included. Not all divorced fathers are selfish. Not all divorced fathers discard their children’s feelings and well-being for their own desires. In order words, not all divorced fathers are terrible fathers.

by Trinity Bland, Contributor

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When President Trump announced he was running for president of the United States, there was a lot of talk about the possibility of having such a character elected as commander-in-chief. Well, Trump has almost completed a single term in office, and people are still criticizing him and his methods.

Most recently, former first lady and a personal role model of mine, Michelle Obama, commented about the current condition of America when she made a glamorous appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, saying, “We come from a broken family. We’re a teenager. Sometimes, you spend weekends with divorced dad.

“That feels like it’s fun, but then, you get sick.”

When I heard the former first lady’s statement, I didn’t know what to think, but I knew that some people would be insulted after hearing what had just come out of her mouth.

Not to my surprise, I was correct as Mrs. Obama faced backlash after making this comment from not only political commentators but many Americans, who either know divorced fathers, have divorced fathers or are divorced fathers.

I understand this country has needs the president should attend to instead of tweeting about how “fake” the media is or how “dumb” basketball icon LeBron James is, but to compare him to a ‘divorced dad’ is not okay.

To me, Mrs. Obama’s statement implied fathers are the only ones unfit to be parents and they are the ones who are generally wrong in the event of a divorce.

This is not always the case.

According to Psychology Today, 70% of women initiate divorce and end up turning the children against their father in the process. This is faulty parenting, and it simply disturbs the family dynamic even more.

There are great fathers in America, divorced ones included. Not all divorced fathers are selfish. Not all divorced fathers discard their children’s feelings and well-being for their own desires. In order words, not all divorced fathers are terrible fathers.

There are fathers who are divorced and know the mental health of their children should be a priority after such a significant impact on the family has occurred. They understand they need to be there in any way they can for their children. They care and still put in a great deal of work to raise their children as best they can due to the circumstances. As a father and as a parent in general, this is their job. Period.

I understand divorce is ugly and sometimes, one parent may be problematic, inconsiderate and unfit to be raising children, so I can see why the former first lady could naturally make the analogy that she did, but I would’ve thought first before saying it out loud in order to avoid the backlash and to avoid insulting an entire group of people.

I even thought, well, why didn’t she say ‘divorced mother’ instead? I truly wonder what it would be like if she did say that. If there was a chance that an entire group of people would be offended, I’m not sure if Mrs. Obama would have made such a comment. Then, I thought, well, there could’ve been an overall better analogy to make.

I don’t know Mrs. Obama personally, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve all known her to be considerate toward families and very inclusive to all minority groups.

I imagine her to be sorry for blatantly offending divorced fathers, but I know she was only trying to make sense of our unfortunate reality under the Trump administration.

The former First Lady knows all about preparing immensely for speeches and appearances on shows like Stephen Colbert’s and I’m sure Mrs. Obama knew she would be asked about the way the country is being run now compared to when her husband was in office, so maybe, she planned to share this analogy when the question arose.

Maybe, it was the only way she could put how she views the state of America into words.

Maybe, she thought of the analogy spontaneously.

We don’t know.

We’ll never know until and if she verbally addresses it.

I feel for the divorced fathers who do all they can to rear their children in the right direction who may have been watching that particular episode of The Late Night Show or heard about Mrs. Obama’s comment afterward.

Hearing those words from the former First Lady was discouraging and I hate that it hurt so many people.

So, to the divorced fathers who just want the best for their children: you are appreciated more than you’ll ever know and we need more people like you in the world.

Trinity Bland is a freshman studying journalism.

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