Richard Hoover: Some may ask why man-up to fight for nation now

Richard Hoover

My last column asked why so many American guys are neither looking nor behaving like real men – why the manly ideal of the Good Knight has vanished. I concluded that modern educators, bent on attaining cohesiveness, inclusiveness and equality, are prejudiced against normal male behavior, even promulgating that youngsters who employ violence in self defense are as guilty as bullies who attack!

Readers’ responses were to the point. One, from a sexagenarian who knows what she is looking at, deplored the disappearance of real gentlemen. A senior colleague, who also knows what he is talking about, confessed that for years the subject of such male decline has been his “angst.” A friend, visiting his daughter and 5-year-old grandson out west, emailed that the lad had asked: “Mummy, am I a boy?” The mother’s response, he reported, was “wishy-washy:” you are whatever you think you are! My friend concluded with this question – “Is it possible to spank a 41 year old?”

In addition to modern education, other powerful forces serve to beat the masculine stuffings out of male children in our culture. The use of drugs, for example, distances many young men from reality – from contending, contributing and surviving. More’s the pity for them if, as reported, the war on drugs has failed. What, then, are the likely effects of drug legalization in Colorado and Washington (to be followed by Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C.)? What side effects will be produced by federal and state efforts to decriminalize drug offenses? Not good.

And American nationalism, historically a stimulus to male behavior, is under attack. Young men who look over the past seven years of Obama’s presidency and try to anticipate what is coming up in the eighth may ask with reason: Is this what we would fight for? Why man-up to defend the sovereignty of the United States when:
• We have just been advised by the vice president to accept a world increasingly without borders.
• Our president journeyed to Hiroshima filled with regrets.
• The Confederate flag has been banned from federal cemeteries (certainly from Arlington, as I witnessed on May 5).
• Gender/sexual fluidity is celebrated at White House fetes and is now mandated for public toilets and school locker rooms.
• Overwhelming numbers of those who enter or live in this country illegally are welcomed willy-nilly to threaten our sovereignty, physical security, culture, language and national finances?

Again, the young may well ask whether they are to lay their lives on the line for that.

I read of lament and puzzlement over the “striking decline in cordiality and constructiveness … between lawmakers.” Cited are government dysfunction, disrespect of the president and legislators’ failures at compromise. While these observations are quite correct, there is little mystery here given the intensity produced by the issues we face. One side asks how it can compromise, ever, with those incapable of manning-up at home and abroad, with those, it is believed, who are leading the country toward bankruptcy, foreign policy/military weakness and, even, toward questionable morality. Civility is out the window because our current differences run as deeply as do gender identity, national sovereignty, freedom of speech, individualism and historical formation.

Richard Hoover, a retired Foreign Service officer, resides in southern Warren County.