WhatFinger

It may not be politically correct to say so, but we cannot afford to let anybody strip our nation of its manhood

IS AMERICA LOSING ITS MANHOOD?


By —— Bio and Archives--July 12, 2016

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“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood”– President Theodore Roosevelt

Witnessing the myriad problems facing America, the shock and confusion as to what’s happening to this great nation is overwhelming. From San Bernadino to Orlando, we have experienced multiple “lone wolf” Jihadist attacks by Americans against Americans on our home soil. Overseas, we are experiencing many foreign policy and national security challenges, including a resurgent Russia, barbarism by ISIS, and a defiant North Korea. We are facing possible economic meltdown in the U.S. with the debt surging beyond $19-trillion and the continued loss of American economic power to overseas competitors. Finally, we are seeing American police officers being targeted for assassination as they are demeaned by many attempting to cause racial strife. America previously appeared so strong and secure, and yet we now wonder why we face so many internal issues and loss of respect overseas.

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What I propose as the answer is provocative, but I believe the facts will show many of our problems directly and indirectly resulting from the marginalization of the ideal of manhood.

First, statistics from the National Center for Fathering help show the extent of the problem of males not acting as men by being husbands and fathers and results:  Of students in grades 1-through-12, approximately 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers (57.6 percent of black children, 31.2 percent of Hispanic children, and 20.7 percent of white children are living absent their biological fathers). Critically important, according to 72.2 percent of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. Those raised without fathers are exponentially more likely to drop out of school, become incarcerated, live in poverty and continue the cycle of fatherlessness. Despite the attempts by so many in politics and the media to downplay traditional families and fatherhood, the statistics make clear the importance. As famed Word War II General George S. Patton said, “Duty is the essence of manhood.”

Being a man means staying true to commitments, most importantly the commitment to lifelong marriage and fatherhood.

Beyond the importance of manhood in encouraging intact families (helping fix the many social problems driving our national debt), manhood is also indirectly tied to national security. Since the late 1970s, the number of women in universities in America has surpassed that of men, and for almost two decades the gap has been almost 60-percent female and 40-percent male in colleges and universities. During almost the same period of time, the American fertility rate has plunged from 3.7 in the 1960s to under 1.9 today.

Males have not been encouraged to succeed in higher education and become leaders of their families (thereby allowing women more opportunity for children raised by two parents). Virtually all encouragement from media, Hollywood, and even primary education has been toward female education and leadership, at the expense of our boys. Strong male role models for boys, depicted as competent and engaged leaders of families (in television, movies and other media) are almost non-existent. From “Married with Children” to the modern version of “Poltergeist,” the fathers are invariably depicted as weak, incompetent, and not respected by family members who turn to the mothers for leadership. Men are made to appear as practically irrelevant to families in most instances informing our boys’ views on their future roles.

The de-emphasis and marginalization of manhood is also a direct threat to national security:  The Pentagon recently published a study which estimated only 25 percent of American youth are able to serve in the military (that’s enlisted service, and officer standards of admission are even more selective). As U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski explained about the numbers, “Obesity is the single greatest non-criminal hindrance for our young people seeking to enlist in the armed forces.” This statistic is shocking, but tied directly to the de-emphasis of physical education and traditional rites-of-passage for men in the area of physical fitness. Men have, on average, 50 percent more upper body strength than women, and natural physical abilities which must be exercised.  

Traditionally, military service has been seen as one of the rites-of-passage for men, and all men were expected to remain fit to military standards. The concept of “militia” in America has meant every man between the ages of 15 and 45 being able to serve militarily if necessary. The many recent Hollywood depictions of heroic protagonist physically fit characters are solely women (see the Hunger Games series, Divergent series, etc.). Boys are just not encouraged to challenge themselves in physical activities. In fact, many argue they are drugged with Ritalin to discourage natural impulse toward physical play. This is having a direct impact on national defense, and even the way competitor nations view America.

The recent decisions in the Department of Defense to integrate women into the Infantry and Special operations (like SEALs, Special Forces, and Rangers), as well as the decision of allow transgender service are having further impacts on marginalizing manhood.

Throughout all cultures in history, rites-of-passage for manhood have been critical to the development of men in a society. The Bible makes this clear with a number of references in the Old Testament to the idea of men being warriors with the duty to protect families. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul recognizes this inherent distinction of men when he says “Act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).  There is a time in every young man’s life when he has the inborn need to prove himself to fellow men on the way to being a man. Again, enemy nations are watching and likely emboldened to know of possible weaknesses in national defense.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was emphatic in telling his male followers: “Don’t let anybody take your manhood.” That rhetoric for everyone was standard at the time, and followed similar statements from Hollywood stars like John Wayne and others. Today it would likely be considered “politically incorrect” and even sexist to even acknowledge the idea someone could take away someone’s manhood. Dr. King was right. I commend him, and his message transcends the Civil Rights movement.  It is time for introspection about his advice. We, as a nation, should ask ourselves if we really care about the development of our boys into men. This is not just a question of the next generation of boys, but for the nation as a whole. Based on the numbers, the answer is clear. It may not be politically correct to say so, but we cannot afford to let anybody strip our nation of its manhood.


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Col. Bill Connor -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Bill Connor,  received his Bachelor’s of Arts from The Citadel in 1990. After serving over ten years as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army he received his Juris Doctorate from University of South Carolina in 2005.

He is currently an attorney with Hamilton and Associates in Columbia, South Carolina.

In May 2008, he returned from a yearlong combat deployment in Southern Afghanistan. During that time, he served as Joint Operations Officer for the Southern Region of Afghanistan developing and implementing the US advisory effort for Afghan National Security Forces. This effort occurred during the 2007 Taliban spring/summer offensive.

Due to success in that position, he was promoted to take command of the US advisory effort in the volatile province of Helmand. Shortly after arrival in Helmand, he was promoted in rank from Major to Lt. Colonel. In addition to command of US advisory teams, he was the senior American working with the United Kingdom senior staff. Upon return from Afghanistan, he published the book “Articles from War,”a memoir of his experiences and thoughts in Afghanistan.


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