December 15, 2010

Fewer Than Half of American Children Growing Up In Intact Families

The Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) defines an intact family as “a biological mother and father who remain legally married to one another from the time of their child’s birth.” Well, according to a survey—the first annual Index of Belonging and Rejection—produced by the above mentioned institute and advocacy group, only 45 percent of American children have spent their childhood in an intact family. This means a majority of American teenagers’ parents have rejected each other, either through divorce, separation or choosing not to marry.

Now, considering that providing children with intact families holds immeasurable benefits—including financial, educational, legislative, legal and judicial gains—for children, adults and society in general, we may conclude, along with Pat Fagan, director of the Marriage & Religion Research Institute, that “American society is dysfunctional, characterized by a faulty understanding of the male-female relationship,” and that its culture “needs a compass correction, learning again how to belong to each other when we have begotten children together.”

I must confess I’d be tempted to add that I feel sorry for America, but unfortunately I don’t think Europe is in any better shape. [Via]

Not The Worst Nightmare

So yesterday Berlusconi narrowly won a confidence vote in the lower house of Parliament—his government received only three votes more than its opponents—soon after rather easily winning the vote in the Senate. To me (and many others) it was no great surprise, though. Of course, it’s true that there was much uncertainty about the outcome of the vote in the Chamber of Deputies, unlike that in the Senate: everybody knew it would be a photo-finish. But in the end common sense prevailed, 314-311.

The no-confidence motion was put forward by opponents who argued that Berlusconi’s scandal-ridden private life, his alleged attempts to head off investigations into his business dealings and the lackluster state of the economy made his continued tenure as prime minister impossible. And all of this is true to a degree, but this is only half of the truth, one of the two sides of the coin, the other of which is the nature itself of the opposition, made up of a jumble of left-wing, centrist and center-right political parties, without a clear leader and with little common ground other than the will to get rid of Berlusconi—enough to seriously undermine the government’s ability to work effectively, too little to present themselves as a reliable, alternative government. And that’s perhaps the real trouble with Italy, or, depending on your point of view, the greatest luck: with such an opposition, Berlusconi’s only opponents are the formidable problems of the country. But the ideal would be a decent government and a decent opposition—and, if I don’t expect too much, less severe problems for the country …

Be it as it may, the worst was avoided: a crisis without any foreseeable solutions. And now? Speaking at the presentation of a book in Rome, soon after winning the vote of confidence, Berlusconi said it was possible he might expand his parliamentary majority. He also said Italy did not need to have elections now but that he was sure his party would win them if they were held. And this is not an unlikely scenario, nor the worst nightmare. Yeah, there’s always something worse, and in life, you need to know how to make do with what you have. After all, aren’t we in the age of Kali Yuga?