We Can Be Better
“The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.” Kurt Vonnegut
This blog is not a political statement for or against any Party’s founding values or mission. I have largely wanted to stay out of the political fray, a habit I have learned over the years. But silence is rapidly becoming acceptance of what is going on and once we accept what is going on we are powerless to change it. Silence breeds assumed consent and power. This is about my Values. This is about America. This is about Equality. This is about our Nation’s Soul.
The Republican Party has allowed a predator into their ranks. In nominating Donald Trump they have not only let their own party down, but they have let every man, woman, and child in this country down. They have let the world down as an example of leadership, as a beacon of hope, freedom, and democracy. Right now, many are scrambling to distance themselves from the bed they made. The reality is that the party has only recently become uncomfortable with Trump because of the way his deplorable character has been highlighted and underlined — complete with laughter and vulgarity. It is their tacit approval of Trump that they have to answer to when looking at their own daughters, wives, mothers, and grandmothers.
American Greatness does not look like this!
His fellow Republicans are hiding behind excuses, minimizing their culpability, and using the women in their lives as human shields for their moral inadequacies. When are they going to stand for something larger than themselves? When are they going to risk the comfort and safety of their position to grow and forge a new path? Would they allow someone to speak and act this way in their house? If it’s not good enough for their house it certainly isn’t good enough for the White House. Recognizing and admitting this would be a responsible and authentic way to show they are ready to move this Nation forward. It would show the country that we don’t accept, condone, or support any hate speech or discrimination. A strong role model is willing to admit failure, and recognize it as a pathway for better leadership, growth, and vulnerability.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves” Abraham Lincoln
We have an obligation to be better role models for the men in this country, young and old. We have an obligation to live to a higher moral code and stand against misogyny and any form of denigration of women. We have an obligation to live up to the tenets of our Constitution — for our children. Let’s enable our children to express emotions and feelings in ways that don’t require the macho bravado of a braggart and bully. An Alpha male does not objectify women as sex objects for conquest. An Alpha male does not try influence others to yield to their way of thinking through force and brute strength (whether physical, mental, or financial). An Alpha male does not hold himself in higher regard than the pack. That pack will fall and that male will die.
An Alpha male is a confident man that can express emotion. An Alpha male can express passion without lust and vulgarity. An Alpha male can eloquently describe how they fit into something larger than themselves as a role model for all men in this country. An Alpha male knows the value of multiple perspectives. An Alpha male chooses service and support over subjugation, ridicule, abuse, assault, and torture. An Alpha male needs none of that to be an effective leader because reaching Alpha status means you are comfortable in your skin and you lead by example, not by force.
“I want to be a man who is truthful and who won’t let pride get in the way of my ripping myself open to my partner and saying, ‘Here I am. This is me.’ I feel there’s something powerful when a man reaches a point in his life when he can be completely vulnerable.” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Just imagine your son coming home from school saying, “I kissed Suzy on the playground after she said no, then I grabbed her by the PUSSY, like President Trump does.” How would that make you feel? What would you do? How would you make it right…then? What would you say to Suzy — “AH, no biggie, just boy stuff, boys will be boys?” What would you say to your son? “Ummm…we don’t really do that son.” — and his response — “…but Dad you voted for him, and Mom said it was more important to vote against Hillary…than what he does or says.” How does that sit with you?
It may already be too late, with the saturation of media constantly streaming to even our youngest generation. The damage to Suzy is real. It is a life full of questioning her value, questioning if it was actually her fault that she was assaulted. Statistics indicate she won’t be alone. Did you know that every 109 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every 8 minutes it happens to a child? https://www.rainn.org/statistics And we are still making excuses that it’s “normal male behavior;” that it’s just locker room talk. The costs are generational and devastating. WE CAN DO BETTER.
“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Living in a world where women are disrespected, dis-empowered, belittled, and devalued by lust is the message our daughters hear and feel daily. This is obvious in places as varied as political speeches to advertisements from marketing “pretty” toys to girls and “intelligent” toys to boys — it’s shameful.
To the men that are just now speaking out against the ideals that Trump and other powerful men espouse — women are protecting themselves just fine thank you very much and have been trying to shed light on this issue for decades! Where have we been? It is now our turn as men to show the world that we stand alongside our fellow humans in the quest for equal treatment of all; in the quest to making the world greater than when we were born. It is the charge of every generation to make progress in human rights and equality. We are trying to create a legacy we can be proud to pass on to the next generation of citizens.
“The history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton
No longer should we accept excuses, no longer should we “laugh along” as someone jokes about a woman’s appearance, whether or not she is cycling, or if you would “do” her if you had half the chance. Those are the characteristics of a hostile work or living environment that we should not tolerate — not for women, not for anyone.
My challenge for you is to share your culpability in service of this quest. Share your story as these women have found the strength to share theirs (click here).
Are you a true Alpha male? Are you ready to say, “Yes I objectify women and will no longer make excuses about it being a boy thing, or locker room talk.” Are you willing to stand with the women of this country and say enough is enough? This is bigger than the election. This is bigger than your fragile ego.
Let’s stop pretending to be outraged at the mirror?
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways… If you want to make the world a better place, Take a look at yourself and make the change” Michael Jackson
Do you have the decency, humility, and statesmanship to speak out against this by letting the people in your life know if you have complicity and implicitly allowed this to occur for generations? Or at the very least begin to call out others that make light of this issue. Has there ever been an instance where you were in Billy Bush’s position and “went along”? Or have you acted like Donald Trump? Have you supported assault by not speaking up? Have you said or thought, “What did she expect…wearing that,”or “He was just drunk and didn’t know what he was doing.”
If I am honest, I have been part of the problem, and being able to say this enables me to start moving forward and participating in the solution. Stop the lies. Stop the excuses. Stand for something. Stand together in the movement towards equality. Separate is never equal!
Please consider your vote and how you live in this context — the free world depends on great and exquisite leadership, the belief in justice and equality, and the actions that support this most hallowed value. We are all equal. We share the same insecurities, the same struggles, and the same hopes and dreams regardless of gender, race, religion, or demographics. This is not about politics, gender, or sex. This is about morality. This is about choosing and upholding the very thing that creates a free and just society.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela.
P.S. My challenge is to move the dialogue beyond the, “if you aren’t with me, you are against me” mentality that is pervasive in politics and so often our daily lives. This blog is about human rights. This is about equality. This is about showing ourselves that we deserve better and can do better than masking our weaknesses in strength and mastering the art of cognitive dissonance in regards to these issues. I take ownership of my own actions and the consequences or rewards that may come to bear.