About that Gillette ad...
I think I'm seeing what they were trying to say. There’s a standard that we as a society should hold men to. There is an expectation for the conduct of a man that does often go unmet.
I think there is a communication breakdown when it comes to the topic of masculinity and proper male role models. With the presence of a radical feminist movement who frequently uses misandry and a definition of “toxic masculinity” that leaves no place for strong and effective men in our society, people react when they see yet another assault on men.
I think Gillette could have communicated their message better and I think people could have listened better.
My takeaway at this point, after some thought and reflection is this: Not all criticism of male behavior is intended to drag all men down. Not all feminists are radical misandrists. Not all masculinity is toxic. In fact, true masculinity is never toxic.
Masculinity is about strength, leadership, and being a role model for young men. It’s about using strength in a constructive and protective way. The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy weren’t bullies coming to harass the Germans. They were there to defend Western Civilization from a toxic usurper. There’s a line that separates playful roughhousing and malicious bullying. There’s a line between the idea of dating and courtship and the menace of sexual harassment- and BOTH sides on the argument need to understand that.
I’ve spent almost half my life, thus far, raising three men. Just yesterday the oldest became a United States Navy sailor. He and his brothers make me proud beyond words. They are strong, have courage in their convictions, expect the best from others, despise bullying, respect ladies, and offer help to those in need. They are gentlemen.
They're gentlemen because we’ve raised them that way.
I have a guide that I follow. It was composed using the teachings of Christ, the understanding of what should be expected of a man, and by a man who was tasked with mentioning and leading men. He’s often demonized today. His effect on the American left is so strong they take a few associative flaws and attempt to discard him as a whole. It is striking that when held up against him, any male leader in the American left pales in comparison.
General Robert Edward Lee, who was born on this day in 1807 gave us his timeless Definition of a Gentleman. It is the standard I’ve held my boys to. It is the standard we need to hold all American men to today. It is the line between true masculinity and the toxic pseudo-masculinity that would poison our entire society. No matter how far they march, how hard they try, this issue will never be solved by feminism. It can only be solved by men who fit this definition expecting other men to fit it as well. I’ll conclude with his definition in its entirety:
"The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly--the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others."
Christmas Day is when we recognize the birth of Christ. And while many critics are quick to point out that Jesus would not have been born on December 25, we worship Christ and not the day. He is the focus and that we recognize the 25th as His day is the only thing that gives that particular day any significance over any other.
It is no no big secret that this is my first Christmas with my oldest son away from home. He is in a very cold and windy Illinois learning the ways of a sailor. This has been a long term goal for him and a sacrifice he has freely made. With him so far from home and with only minimal communication, it is a sacrifice our family shares with him.
And so on this Christmas, more than any before it, I am reminded of what Christmas truly is.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Over the last 18+ years, God has taught me more about Himself through my children than by any other means. Through being a father, I have gained that εριγνωσις, that experiential knowledge of all those Scripture passages about The Father. Words on the page have walked along beside me and I now know them as trusted friends and not just memorized ideas.
I have tasted, ever so slightly, of the pride and the pain of a father whose son has chosen to go far from home because he places the welfare of others before his own. I know the fear of a father whose son’s comfort, well-being, and very life now rest in the hands of a cruel world.
I don't say this to equate myself with God, my son with The Son, boot camp with the Incarnation, or Naval Service with the Crucifixion or Resurrection. I say it to show how I came to the realization of the true meaning of Christmas. While we celebrate the birth, we know what must come:
“And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:”
Christmas, for all its cheer and goodwill, is about the sacrifice of a son. It was that very sacrifice of the Son that created the redemptive forces that make the cheer and goodwill of Christmas possible. I’m not sure I would have completely grasped this until this year, this distance, this silence. But I have a much better understanding of it now.
I hope you spend this holiday with those you lave. If you can't, I pray for your peace and comfort as I pray for my own.
Speaking of working class families, here is another proposal by a progressive politician pandering to them. Sweeping anti-corruption legislation that is going to eliminate the influence of money in Washington and make heavily centralized government work for working families "again."
There are so many problems in this tweet that it is worthy of an article.
Let's look at the unsaid portion first. This isn't about pending or proposed legislation. This is about a soon-to=be-announced presidential run. This is a buzzword laden work of propaganda designed to launch a campaign for the highest office in the land. It sounds good in the ears of struggling parents, looks good on paper, but it is essentially nothing. While having secured a role as a media darling, Senator Warren has the charisma of the dust I boldly swept from the front porch this morning. She's Hillary Clinton without the stage presence.
Here's a look at the buzz words:
"Bold new plan" - Did you suspect that she might describe her plan as recycled, weak, mediocre, or routine? No. She adds hyperbole and tries to get you excited about it. I'm not.
"Change the way Washington does business" - Washington does business by continually grabbing power through sweeping legislation. She's saying she's going to change the way Washington does business by enacting some business as usual. In essence, smoking is not only the cause of cancer, it is also the cure.
"Anti-corruption" - That town has been claiming to be working on anti-corruption legislation since the government relocated the anti-corruption efforts there from previous efforts in New York and Philadelphia. It never works, it is always corrupt, it is never going to be not corrupt.
"Eliminate the influence of money" - Elizabeth Warren, a college professor who CNN estimates to be worth between $3.7 million and $10 million and lives in a $1.9 million Victorian mansion is going to eliminate the influence of money in her $174, 000 job? I'm not convinced.
"Works for working families 'again'" - The way she says this suggests that Washington once sided with the working class, regular people, over the rich and powerful. This has never been true. It has never happened. There has never been a time that it was the prevailing philosophy. Ever.
The federal design, as used today, is not one that can be friendly to the working class. It is too far removed, too out of touch, too reliant on lobbyists and donors. Working class people are so busy trying to survive that they don't have the time, or really the energy, to lobby Washington themselves. The three seats that represent them in Congress are a drop in the bucket.
The only answer is to move the seats of power closer to the people, where they will have more access, more influence, more say. Allow state and local governments to make decisions for themselves - especially on specifically local, state, and regional issues. Want to really help the working class? Make it easier to start small business, maintain family farms, and level the playing field to help small banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. If you want to really help the average Joe, get the federal government out of his way so he can help himself.
Most of all, quit slinging the same 240 year old line of bull. It's tired.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire