Gubernatorial Hopeful Chris Kennedy’s Unseemly Temper Tantrum

Here is Laurie Higgins writing about goofy Chris Kennedy’s recent expression of ignorance:

Perhaps you heard about the petulant, self-righteous, and downright rude behavior of Illinois gubernatorial hopeful Chris Kennedy directed at fellow gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives at a governor’s forum on Monday. When Jeanne Ives made the commonsense claim that a solution to gun violence is “fathers in the home,” she was greeted by not only boos from the audience but this withering and ignorant response from Kennedy:

Well, I wish I could agree with you. I didn’t have a father in my life. [applause] Somebody shot him….  when I hear such ignorance and stupidity aired out by someone who knows so little about so much, I don’t think there’s an appropriate place for them to be on a podium on a dais with other people who have given these issues thought and have the emotional capacity to be empathetic at the same time.

After this, Kennedy stormed off the dais, to the baffling applause of an equally ignorant crowd.

So, because Ives thinks fatherlessness is connected to violence, she’s ignorant, stupid, knows little about anything and shouldn’t be on a dais with others? Wow. In just a few words, Kennedy revealed that he is not only self-righteous, petulant, and rude but also foolish and presumptuous.

Why was Kennedy outraged by the suggestion that the absence of fathers contributes to gun violence? Does he assume that offering such a suggestion is an insult to families with no fathers? If so, how can the problems caused by fatherlessness—including gun violence—be discussed? When the subject of gun violence comes up—as it must in any gubernatorial campaign—are candidates not permitted to address the affect of fatherlessness on boys because Kennedy didn’t have a father in his life?

Does bringing up fatherlessness suggest lack of empathy for Kennedy, or does a refusal to bring up fatherlessness suggest a lack of empathy for the kids growing up amid harrowing gang violence that is shaped to a significant degree by fatherlessness?

Political scientist Charles Murray describes the effect of family structure on children in his book Coming Apart:

No matter what the outcome being examined… delinquency in adolescence, criminality as adults… school problems and dropping out, emotional health, or any other measure of how well or poorly children do in life—the family structure that produces the best outcome from children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married…. Never-married women produce the worst outcomes. All of these statements apply after controlling for the family’s socioeconomic status. I know of no other set of important findings that are as broadly accepted by social scientists who follow the technical literature, liberal as well as conservative, and yet are so resolutely ignored by network news programs, editorial writers for the major newspapers, and politicians of both major political parties.

Kennedy is one of those politicians. Ives is not.

After his melodramatic leave-taking, Kennedy, spoke to a reporter:

I lost my father to somebody with a gun. And for someone to say that the solution is simply to have a father…. How should I react? What should my family have done?

This response is utterly beside the point. Quite obviously, there was nothing Kennedy’s family could have done to prevent Bobby Kennedy’s assassination. His absence was non-volitional. What politicians could do is talk as often about the deleterious effects on children of being raised without fathers as they do about gun control.

Read more: Illinois Family Action