In Amity Shlaes book, The Forgotten Man, the taxpayer, the business person, the man who supported his family and worked under very difficult conditions during The Great Depression, is depicted as the "forgotten man" - the man who paid the taxes and shouldered the burden of the New Deal as our government planned, plotted, and plodded through years of economic turmoil.
The forgotten man was the hero. Without him, our country could never have emerged on the other side of the Great Depression. Today, the forgotten men are still family men. They still love their children. They still provide for them. But there's a difference.
In this generation, the forgotten men are men who have had their children stripped from a part of their lives, some more than others, some entirely. They have had no choice in this, didn't want it, didn't ask for it, and neither did their kids. It was done directly by the women who bore their children.
This is not meant as a misogynistic criticism of women or mothers. But in the cases where it happens, it is true - it is done by the women who bore their children. The "system" plays its part. It incorporates incentives to fight for control of the children - the more time a parent has with the children the greater the financial reward - Mom may not want Dad out of the kids' lives, she just wants more support from him and that is how she gets it.
And so, what happens - he works, he toils, he does all he can to provide, pay, and provide more. He gives all he has to give. Then the day comes when he has no more to give. Support arrearages accumulate, the law turns against him, and he is in very deep trouble - again, at the hands of the one who loved him.
But for negative labels and connotations, he would be forgotten, and often is. A few nights in jail, only to be repeated in days and months ahead, and then there is no work to follow. When you see this man panhandling the streets, forlorn, ugly, almost frightening - ask yourself how he got there. But for the grace of God? Or is it, but for the insensitivity of people like...hmmm
The forgotten man of this generation - he makes for a sad commentary on how we treat fatherhood as a culture.