Single Parent Families

1152 Words5 Pages
In May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle suggested that a breakdown of the nuclear family was among the causes of recent riots in Los Angeles in which over fifty people had died. “I believe the lawless social anarchy which we saw is directly related to the breakdown of family structure, personal responsibility and social order in too many areas of our society,” Quayle remarked. He went on to criticize society’s increasingly permissive attitude toward out-of-wedlock childbearing, pointing specifically to the treatment of the issue in the television sitcom Murphy Brown. “It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman—mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.’” Quayle’s speech, especially his reference to Murphy Brown, provoked an outpouring of commentary. Numerous Americans agreed with Quayle, expressing concern that the “traditional family” and “family values” were being undermined by a public morality that too readily condoned unwed motherhood and divorce. Many also agreed with Quayle’s argument that the media and popular culture were to blame for promoting loose sexual values and immoral lifestyles. Others took exception to Quayle’s statements. Some, seeing his speech as a moralistic attack on single mothers, responded by insisting that most single mothers work hard to provide for their children and to raise them well. Others considered Quayle’s view of the traditional family as nostalgic and unrealistic, out of touch with the social and economic realities of life in contemporary America. The character Murphy Brown, played by actress Candice Bergen, directly responded to Quayle in a subsequent episode of the show. In words that doubtlessly resonated with many Americans, she declared, “Perhaps it’s
Open Document