It’s been a while, but as a boy growing up in America I understood what manhood was. For this was a man with real values who followed the golden rule, “do onto others as you would have them do onto you”. A person who could inspire people to work together and achieve great things.
The ideal American man for me has strong character, who doesn’t shy away from hard work or doing the right thing. He has the balls to admit when he is wrong (and we’re all wrong at some point). He seeks and values the truth, even when the truth is different than he desires. He shows respect for everyone, valuing and acknowledging different opinions. All while passionately and respectfully defending his point of view even when his view is not popular.
Today, American manhood doesn’t seem so clear to me. Sadly I see too many examples of “Trolls” vying for popularity and somehow seen as bastions of manhood. These are are vindictive people simply attacking other points of view for sport. They’re seemingly driven only by a need to attract an audience. With no regard for truth trolls simply thrive on belittling and bullying those around them. Trolls trade on rudeness and disrespect to promote the idea anyone who doesn’t agree with them somehow “lesser” and targeted. Too often the troll takes this to the extreme suggesting their targets be ignored, locked up or worse. The easiest way to spot them is the use of name calling.
Most sickening these trolls collect an audience to cheer them on while tearing things down. And, then defend themselves by labeling any detractors as “Politically Correct”. Often using this name calling as a battle cry to create even more vindictiveness. Basically stirring up their own audience to shut down any real thought. The irony of this would be comical except it seems amazingly effective.
To reclaim American manhood we need to ignore the trolls in life. Starve them of the audience they crave. Support people with the strength to respect their fellow Americans with differing points of view. We need people with the wisdom to seek out other ideas. And the balls to seek the truth even if it means admitting sometimes they are wrong.
An American Madman has spoken…
I sit here in a bar eating a light dinner, imagining a convention season will be interesting, illuminating maybe even a bit humorous. But somehow it always manages to just be a time when the naiveté of my patriotism gets massacred.
I believe strongly in a system where the different points of view held by Americans that all love our country can focus on real problems. I know well enough that posturing and politics and blow hards all work to get our attention. And the conventions are the blow hardest moments for all the blow hards in our political process.
I long for a convention that focuses on identifying the challenges before us and weighing who the differing points of view really compare. One where a platform that inspires all of us. But this takes talking about the myriad of approaches and really understanding many of then have merits. But instead we get a bunch of people talking as if there are only two points of view and that somehow their “opponent” is crazy, corrupt, incompetent, self-absorbed, or just simple buffoonery. At both major conventions it my longing simply won’t matter.
The fact of the matter is we are all Americans, we all share this country its burdens and its benefits. We are a strong country but only if we always work to make our politicians work to focus on what they can do rather than who they can take down. But in the end the conventions are what they are and will try to make America weaker…
A Madman Has Spoken…
When Mr. Giuliani said “When you say black lives matter, that’s inherently racist,” he is really being an idiot. There are far too many videos capturing cases where black lives are being ended without a clear need. It sickens me to my core that my fellow americans are being treated this way. The deaths of police officers is also sickening, and simply immoral. And in both cases it is a small group of bad apples screwing up the lives of so many people.
The majority of police officers are doing a very difficult job justly and well, and they are a vital part of their communities. Likewise the majority of protesters are trying to bring attention and action to a critical systemic issue peacefully; playing another vital role in the community.
The horrific attack on police officers in Dallas does so much damage. But using it as a potential excuse does all the lost lives a disservice. We must do the hard work to remove racism in policing. And at the same time we must keep our officers safe. Of course it is true #alllives matter but in our society today it is critical to emphasize that #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter because sadly those lives are most at risk. Recognizing that some lives are more at risk is not racism it is simply not burying your head in the sand.
Somehow all of us need to realize #blackandbluelivesmatter and to work toward the communication, transparency and respect to fight this continuing string to tragedies.
We’re already getting to the point where Brexit is old news, except for the part where no one knows what’s really going to happen…
In reality there is no way to predict if the vote was the right or wrong thing for the UK. To be honest it’s just the starting point. The outcome depends far too much on really hard work simply not yet done. And after that work is done it actually might not have mattered which way the vote went. So when Mr Trump praised Boris Johnson for having “got it right” on Brexit he was well, … let’s call it “confused”.
Its an all too common confusion, simply mistaking winning for “getting it right”. In a democracy this confusion is really important to understand. It is simply a tool that pundits use to validate their narrative, sadly showing complete disregard far what is actually best. The real damage is the overconfidence in a simple election result which stops critical thinking and working toward better solutions. Especially in a case like this where the “right” answer really is a path yet to be worked out.
We all want to have our point of view prevail. But no matter how happy or sad we are after an election it is vital to always look for the better path forward after those results come in. Because while there is often not a simple right or wrong answer there is always a way to make things better. But making things better requires cutting through the BS….
A Madman has spoken…