The Second-Class Parent

Elian's case reveals our ambivalence toward fathers

I once went fly fishing up in the Aberdare Range of Kenya--trying to cast a delicate fly down quietly upon the surface of the stream while at the same time watching over my shoulder for the lions that liked to pick off little animals watering there. I didn't catch any fish. I didn't get eaten either.

The Elian Gonzalez case has been like that--two mutually contradictory games played simultaneously. The fly-fishing part involves the father, the son, the family, the boy's welfare. But the lions--Fidel Castro and the exiles in Miami--are up to another sport entirely: carnivorous politics. The problem is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!