Plato defined rhetoric as “the art of ruling the minds of men.”  Nothing could better describe our modern political process, especially presidential campaigns.  The candidates who can afford air time care little about reasoned, principled discourse and more about rhetoric: ruling minds via sound bites.  The goal is to be the last one defining terms.  At stake for many is not what is right, but of what can we be convinced.

Consider the phrase “family values.”  It sounds great and appeals to many, but whose definition of it will rule our minds?  Who will define “family” and what is considered valuable about it?  With all the talk about family values, why is the family not valued? 

Healthy marriages and families are on the verge of extinction.  They are a vestige of archaic expectations and presumably have no place in our progressive society.  All the while, our families continue to erode and generations suffer from our “innovation.”  We have a national crisis concerning healthy marriage and family and neither political party substantiates their promises.  However, it’s not substance they care about, but rhetoric to rule the mind.

Half a million American children live in foster care and associated institutions.  We swoon over celebrities who adopt foreign children.  We spend billions of dollars on international humanitarian efforts. We spend billions more on efforts to rebuild other countries with the “gift” of democracy while our states’ children suffer the pipe dream of a safe and loving family. 

Overworked family courts wage a social war in anonymity trying to keep neglected children safe.  Meanwhile, we drool over Hollywood relationships and weep over their millionaire children and snub the thousands that suffer right next door.   

There are no family values where the family is not valued.  Caring for children and repairing marriages are not high on the agenda.  A Wise Man once said our heart will be where our treasure is.  In other words, follow the money and you’ll find what is most valued.  It’s quite clear that marriage and families are not valued.

The latest Census Bureau shows the most healthy and stable families are those where traditional values are upheld.  Don’t be convinced by someone using “family values” to rule your mind.  Chances are they are working with a different definition altogether.