What they told the class of '88. On the family gap in America

AS we face up to the reality of our position in the world, we must also face the reality of what's going on here at home - or better put - in our homes. The American family has changed, but policies have not kept pace. The family is the primary social and economic unit in America. It's the basic building block of our society. Yet, there are so many myths surrounding the family - myths that fuel talk and inhibit action. The American family is no longer a Norman Rockwell painting. We have become a nation of two-income families, of single-parent families - a nation of families under stress.

We juggle jobs, schedules, parenting, family obligations, and household budgets so that we can give our children the best life possible.

Flattening the American family into a two-dimensional stereotype not only has trivialized family life, but skewed family policy. We are all pro-family. But what are we prepared to do about it? There is a family gap in America - the gap between what American politicians say about families and what they do for families. It is time we set the family debate on the right track. Help take back the torch of concern for the American family. Let's turn that concern into a sane family policy that is cost effective, without moral judgment, and fluid enough to change with families' needs as it ages.

From an address given at the University of Pennsylvania

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