sábado, 2 de julio de 2016

The role stable marriage plays in motivating our labor force and in our nation’s economic growth

Dear Mr. Trump: If You Want to Make America Great Again, You’ve Got to Start with Marriage

by Caitlin La Ruffa and Hilary Towers

If you want to make America great again, you cannot afford to ignore the role stable marriage plays in motivating our labor force and in our nation’s economic growth as a whole.

Dear Mr. Trump,

The person who occupies the office of president stands as an example to Americans, and to the world, of our values and priorities. Indeed, the moral life and marital history of the president of the United States is very important to individuals, families, and the nation. This truth applies not only to the president’s public policies and speeches but also to the manner in which he or she exhibits honor, integrity, and commitment in family life. Most often the source of a healthy, happy family life is a stable, intact marriage.

While high-profile “conscious uncoupling” and supposedly happily-ever-afterdivorce may suggest that marriage vows no longer matter in America, this simply isn’t true. Young Americans need to know—now more than ever—that lifelong, faithful marriage is not only desirable, but possible. As a politician, you need to know that it’s also necessary for the future flourishing of our republic.

Mr. Trump, you have suggested your own marital infidelities are irrelevant to your campaign for the presidency. You have bragged about your extramarital exploits. In your book, The Art of the Deal, you write: “If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller.” Just this weekend The New York Times published an exposé detailing your sexualized treatment of women who worked with or performed for you.

But to the millions of victims of the Ashley Madison revelations of last summer, and to all who have experienced its effects, infidelity is no joke. Cheating destroys marriages, devastates children and families, and shatters lives.
You have made reviving the economy a central issue of your campaign. But national marriage trends are not private matters to be set aside during presidential campaigns, as though unrelated to “more important” public matters like economic growth.

If you hope to Make America Great Again, you will need to understand the contributions marriage and family life made to our greatness in the first place. More urgently, you’ll need a firm grasp of the current state of marriage and the forces that threaten it. You then must use your aptly named bully pulpit to promote the truth that faithful marriage matters deeply to the flourishing of our republic.

The State of Marriage in Contemporary America

Marriage is in a fragile state, Mr. Trump, and in dire need of attention. Between 40 and 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States are projected to end in divorce. And while the divorce rate has stabilized among the college-educated, it is on the rise among baby boomers and high school graduates without four-year college degrees (the latter constituting a majority of the general population).

Evidence of the “gray divorce revolution” is particularly worrisome because older adults are role models for their children and grandchildren—precisely the cohorts who are choosing in rapidly increasing numbers to forgo, or delay, marriage in favor of cohabitation. Many of these young people are understandably cynical about the prospect of steadfast marriage because they haven’t witnessed it in their own families. This malformed view of marriage is further fueled by the “soul mate” model of relationships currently held by many young adults, in which emotional highs and lows prevail over commitment, and “love” exists only in the absence of discomfort or sacrifice.
The marriage rate is the lowest ever recorded, unmarried cohabitation is rapidly becoming an acceptable alternative to marriage, and a full 40 percent of childrenare born outside the safe embrace of a married mother and father. Among numerous other negative associations, these trends have been linked to lower net worth and economic mobility, poverty, and dependence on state-provided welfare—for women and children, in particular.

Threats to Marriage

Mr. Trump, you need not look far for explanations of these trends.
As a businessman, you know and appreciate the power of the legal contract. The “no fault” divorce regime, under which Americans have been living for almost five decades, made marriage the only legal contract that is literally unenforceable. All that is needed for a marriage to end—as you know well—is for one spouse to decide to move on (your own philosophy of “moving on,” while fascinating, didn’t quite meet the standard of decency required by this publication). As a result, many divorces take place against the will of a spouse who still has hope for the marriage. The ripple effect of “no fault” has been deep and wide, affecting even those whose primary role is to save marriages.

Someresearch suggests that marriage counseling is no longer a safe investment, as couples who seek marital therapy are more likely to divorce than couples who forgo it altogether.

Those who travel regularly for their jobs often find themselves faced with pornography in their hotel rooms because of the lucrative revenue stream it creates for proprietors. Among other distinctions, Mr. Trump, you would be the first US president to have posed on the cover of Playboy. But even Timemagazine (along with the state of Utah) has acknowledged what you seem to have missed: the widespread use and availability of pornography is a public health crisis.

Contrary to the myth that it will spice things up in a stale marriage, a growing body of research suggests that regular use of internet pornography is fraught with risk for marriages. A 2014 study showed that those who had watched pornography in the past year were more likely to be divorced, more likely to have had an extramarital affair, and less likely to report being happy with their marriage, or happy in general. Further, the negative association between pornography use and marital well-being was found to have grown stronger over time as pornography has become more readily available and its content more explicit. Not surprisingly, and as described in Time, men who use pornography regularly have trouble meeting the physical requirements for normal sexual relations with real, human women.

Visits to strip clubs—like the ones you have in your hotel, Mr. Trump—have been normalized through the help of television shows like “How I Met Your Mother.” Far from providing the light-hearted fun the purveyors of the “boys will be boys” mentality would have us believe, these seedy locales undermine marital relationships and degrade both those in the audience and their loved ones at home, all while profiting from the subjugation of abused and trafficked women.

Apps like Tinder are training entire generations in the belief that human beings are to be used and then discarded like trash. Many times, it is women who are on the receiving end of this cycle of use and abuse. And while you claim to “love women,” your own rhetoric on women—including a rather distasteful remark about your own daughter—suggests to these two women (and mothers) that you have a long way to go in your understanding of where our true value lies.


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