When did the GOP become the party of the alpha male? Somewhere over the last few years the Right found its rugged “God, guns and country” swagger while the Left was reduced to a bunch of snowflake socialists more concerned with transgender bathroom preferences than the issues facing the average American. Fair or not, this is the perception. And in this era of fake news and alternative facts, perception trumps reality. Especially in this era.
But I refuse to be sucked in. I’ve done enough herd-following for one lifetime. Wasted too many years ignoring that small voice inside telling me what’s right (or muffling it with chemicals). These last 14 years in the joint have been a massive rebuilding project for me. Lots of soul-searching. My father did the best he could for a man who struggled with multiple demons but he died relatively young. The absence of a strong male figure in my life left me wondering what manhood actually looked like. The gang-banger? The knockout artist? The bodybuilder? The lifer playing with his kids in visitation? The Christian on his knees? The Muslim making his salat? The quiet guard pulling shift work? The abusive one going above and beyond? The warden? The governor? President Obama? President Trump?
This is what I have come to believe: A man treats others with the exact amount of respect he demands for himself. He is confident but not arrogant, strong but not oppressive, kind but not soft. His will is iron, just like his word, and he finishes whatever he starts. He doesn’t take things personally… unless they are. He’s not thin-skinned or combative. He knows what he’s capable of and lets his actions speak. He believes in second chances. He understands how dangerous the extremes are and makes his home in the realm of moderation. He stands up for women and sees his own children in all children. He knows how fortunate he is to have been born on American soil, in American skin, and realizes that he could have just as easily been born in a Guatemalan body. He appreciates the risks that fathers and mothers from impoverished nations face in order to give their families the opportunity of a better life… because he knows he would do the same thing if it came down to it.
Again, this is just my version. You probably have your own. One thing is for sure: neither party has a monopoly on manhood. I have brothers, cousins and friends on both sides of the aisle who embody much of the above. But I don’t see a lot of it in D.C. these days.
2 thoughts on “Manhood”
Great commentary. I agree with your version of what being a man is. However, though I have a serious disdain for the democrats, I consider the GOP a terrorist organization, therefore much worse. Before anyone blasts that seemingly irrational comment think about the facts.
There are two existential threats to life on the planet: human-affected climate change (fact according to virtually every scientists on the planet) and the possibility of nuclear weapons being used.
Fact: the GOP denies that industrialization without concern for the health of human life, animal life, plant life and, collectively, the health of the planet itself has any bearing on the increasing extreme climate events threatening life as we know it.
Facts: donald trump has admitted that he’d consider using nuclear weapons if he felt threatened, he is an extremely thin-skinned, narcissistic drama queen devoid of compassion or empathy, he consistently increases tensions with nations who have already been wronged by the U.S. & who have access to nuclear weapons and he is the current leader of the GOP.
The fact that continuing on the path promoted by the GOP will bring more extreme weather to the entire planet means that they promote the terror that will ensue when U.S. citizens run out of food and attempt to escape to nations that were punished for decades by us.
And the scary fact that many people believe trump would condone the fabrication of an act of war by a powerful nation against us in hopes of using nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat could lead to a seriously devastated planet which would no longer be able to support life for most people on the planet.
THAT is terrifying.
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I’m so sorry that you too were left to figuring out on your own what being a man is all about. i