Professor suggests families troubled by more than values

By Bryan Malenius

According to an NIU professor, the campaign issue of family values is a “red herring” that diverts attention away from the real crises facing America.

Natalie Loder Clark, NIU associate provost and law professor, said that the harm connected with the dissolution of “the family” is not a problem of values, but a problem of money.

“Where family values are used as a judgmental measure, the real losers are not anti-family malcontents,” she said. “The losers are powerless and victimized family members, including economically dependent spouses, unemployed parents and children who are victims of incest and other abuses.”

Clark said proponents of family values blame working women, feminists and single welfare mothers for the crisis in the family. She said such charges don’t stand up under close scrutiny.

“In a society where family violence is epidemic, and where unpaid child support is measured in billions of dollars, a concern with family values is hypocritical and cynical,” Clark said.

Don-Terry Veal, a member of the coalition for U.S. Senate candidate Carol Moseley Braun, concurred with Clark.

“Welfare recipients have increased significantly, factories have closed and many people are out of work,” he said. “There’s no possible way to have a decent structured family without employment.”

One NIU student was a little more skeptical of Clark’s views.

“Concern for the family from people like George Bush or Dan Quayle is never hypocritical,” said Jennifer Maleszwski, a freshman political science major.

“They are real people with real concerns for their own families,” she said.

“I have a little bit more respect for my elected officials than to think they’d show false concerns just to get votes.”