LET'S NOT BE EUROPEAN ABOUT IT
Re: Christopher Orlet's Save Yourself:
Mr. Orlet makes no sense. He does not reject the understanding that the degrading of men is more than coincidental to the rise of feminism. Yet his solution is...for men to be men. But they are. This is what men, in fact, will become in the absence of Goethe's woman: The society of women is the foundation of good manners.
Tocqueville: "There are Europeans who would make of men and women beings not only equal but alike. To both, they attribute the same functions equally, impose on them the same duties and grant them the same rights...It is easy to see that, in this ambition to make one sex equal to the other, both are demeaned and that, from this crude mixing of natures work, will emerge weak men and immodest women. Morals are made by women."
The fact is, it is women who raise the men they can do without. Mr. Orlet's challenge to men to rise above it all is little more than the other side of the feminist coin of self-sufficiency. It addresses nothing.
-- James Wilson
Young men aren't going to "grow up and take responsibility" when society and chivalrous conservatives punish men who do so with women-friendly divorce courts and anti-male affirmative action. Why work ourselves into an early grave, like our fathers and grandfathers, when we get nothing but grief for it? Even if we do decide to go that route, we have plenty of time to make up our minds. Why rush growing up when one of the few benefits of feminism, more sexually available young women, is easily available? The first thing equality should have given women, rather than the last, was the understanding one has to earn respect, not "demand" it.
-- Mark Sobolewski
Falls Church, Virginia
Christopher Orlet makes the point that we shouldn't excuse the actions of all the Peter Pans out there who won't grow up and start acting like men, simply because radical feminism has somehow "emasculated" them. I agree: sometimes a man has to fight just to actually be a man, and be damned to the opposition. However, that does not mean we should ignore the fact that opposition exists. Consider the following:
A) If you're a guy who is a complete self-absorbed jerk, having casual sex with no emotional commitment until somehow some woman or other ropes you into getting married, there is nothing in modern law or society that will hurt you. House is dirty? Too bad, that's the woman's job. She kicks up a fuss? Go tell Oprah; or your girlfriends; anything, I just don't feeling like hearing it. She wants kids? Yeah, whatever, just don't expect a lot of help raising them. She wants to abort? Whew! Dodged that bullet! The government says you have no say in whether your child is born or aborted? So what, I don't wanna be bothered anyway! The government says you don't even have a right to know about it? Hey, one less thing to think about! The old ball and chain starts getting dumpy and ugly? Get a little something on the side: not only will she never find out, even if she does, what's she gonna do about it? She wants a divorce? Hey, I'll just trade her in for a new model, just like buying a car. I'll have a sports coupe instead of a minivan. Good luck getting child support on time, or ever. Good luck getting me to pick up the little brats on time, or ever. And that little business of me "cheating": hey those ideas are for the old farts you see preaching on TV. After all, it is "no fault" divorce these days, right?
B) On the other hand, if you're the kind of guy that society supposedly holds up as a model of what a man should be, you expose yourself to a world of hurt. Neither "the rules" nor law nor society is going to help you much. You can be the man who not only works fulltime and goes to school to get a better job and helps to cook and clean and change the diapers, you can be the guy that plays with his own kids and the neighbors' kids, and gives the best birthday parties ever seen: in the end, it will not protect you. Your wife gets pregnant and aborts without even telling you? Tough nerts, that's her zone of "privacy." You watch the kids so she can have a "girls' night out" that primarily involves shacking up with her boss? Hey, you won't find out, you won't even look. You're not that kind of guy, and you cannot even wrap your head around the notion of anyone doing that to you. She leaves you for someone who makes more money? C'mon, "happily ever after" is for dopes and dreamers. She wants to take the kids away from you? Better hire a damned good lawyer. Better yet, get a private investigator. And learn how to advocate for yourself, because no else will. The fact that you're a "good man, a good father" doesn't mean jack squat in court these days. You actually by some miracle get majority custody? Well, you have your kids. And you've lost your freedom. Even if there isn't some legal proviso in the final decree dictating how far away you can move, you wouldn't take the kids from their mom: you're still one of the "good guys." And kiss goodbye any career moves that involve actually moving: you won't be getting those offers anyway. You're the "baby daddy" after all.
Now, after all of this, is it any wonder how many men out there want to hide inside the emotional protection of an eternal childhood?
-- Paul LaRue
P.S. If you haven't guessed, I'm a "B list" sort of guy. I haven't budged, I haven't retreated, I've raised my kids the best I can; and I would have walked on coals to keep them. In a few short years I will be unleashed from the shackles of "joint custody." I will make my escape from the blue state Gulag known as Rhode Island, and make my way to a better and redder state. Perhaps on my way south I'll stop by the good offices of The American Spectator.
There is a lot of merit in Mr. Orlet's argument. Blaming others for one's condition and attempting to escape responsibility is not a particularly good thing for anyone, and especially for men. The question that remains unanswered, though, is whether such behavior is simply a question of willful irresponsibility or if it represents a reasonable and predictable response to a number of factors of which feminism is just one.
Telling men to get their act together and, well, act like men, is fine, but not if there is little real gain or advantage to them from doing so or if this is seen as a one-sided demand. In particular, telling them to act the way a certain class or type of woman wants them to act, even if this is at odds with their own sense of masculinity (in its best and true sense) will be a non-starter. Similarly, telling men that they must respect women regardless of whether they respect the values embodied by e.g. the modern liberated women won't go anywhere either. Disrespecting women who behave like self-indulgent sluts is hardly unreasonable. So, if the modern, middle-aged, middle-class or professional woman remains single because she sees nothing of value in many modern men, perhaps she ought to consider that maybe the men are content with this set of affairs because they don't think these women have much to offer them either, or if they don't value or see themselves in terms that those women demand. Without reciprocity, this condition will not change.
Being a man is not and never has been a question of being only and fundamentally what women think a man ought to be, and so long as men are told that it is, as long as we have this almost mommy-like desire to treat the men like boys and make them "behave," the boys will continue to refuse to grow up. What the women miss, is that maturity on their own part consists of recognizing and acknowledging the differences between the sexes and thus also respecting the ways in which the men need to behave as and be seen as men. Otherwise, demands for change will go nowhere.
-- Anthony Mirvish
PROS AND CONS OF SARAH
Re: Larry Thornberry's Hurricane Sarah:
Ms. Palin has no doubt injected some energy into Republican circles.
I believe the reason is because voters of both parties sense something different about this woman.
She has no "Haaavahd" degree. Her parents aren't millionaires. Her husband actually had a job. Her children make her proud, scared and disappointed. She is pro-life and gave birth to a Down syndrome child. She was angered by her local politics and did something about it. Because of achievement on the local level she was elected to the governorship there. She has a 70% approval rating as governor. She didn't flinch when Charlie Gibson looked down his nose at her and asked about "hubris."
These are the positives as seen by regular people.
Her negatives from the left are simple. She has no "Haavahd" degree. Her parents are not millionaires. Her children are like a microcosm of America's children who make their parents proud, scared and disappointed. She actually diminished corruption -- not just put a new face on it, in Alaska.
Remember Harry Reid's land deal, Nancy Pelosi's most urgent "urban renewal'' right where she and her husband own ramshackle buildings? Let's not forget old Charley Rangel failing to know he had to pay income tax on a huge rental income from an immensely expensive property he owns and could never afford on his Congressional salary. All this after ethics reform, democrat style.
Then, as if to slap the feminists in the face, she gave birth to a Down syndrome child instead of aborting it. Couple that with the fact that she's a woman and they are writhing in an agony of despair. In order to be a competent woman you must be rich, pampered, and one of the elites -- everybody knows that!
Sarah Palin is all of these positives and all of the negatives as well. She is the average American woman. She juggles it all, 24/7 times 52. She doesn't whine. She just leans into the wind and gets it done. Just like my wife, my Mom and my daughter.
Could America be in better hands?
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina
I sit on a ranch, far from the arenas of political discourse and decision making. But from the far viewpoint I think that there are times the observations become more clearly defined. We once lived in the Beltway and wondered about the disconnect with the real world of average Americans. Coming home to Texas and back to the ranch life was one of the best things God ever did for this family. Still, I admit to sometimes feeling like Moses, when he admitted he lived on the backside of the desert, I live far from the other world.
Watching Gov. Palin and the stupefied looks on newscasters, several observations come into view much more clearly. My first observation is that the people have responded in such great numbers because we hungered for sound reason. We found a person who possessed reasoning, genuine life choices like ours, and reasoned thinking, we have moved in great numbers in that direction. Besides having given up the expectation that McCain would choose a running mate who would offer much more than politics, this choice has both energized the base and restored hope.
The reason why Gov. Palin has resounded in the heartland is that she knows real life, hardships, unexpected life changers, and most of all, knows God intimately. She is the real deal. Being from Alaska, she understands that blinking at the wrong time can get you, or others killed. So experienced is she at knowing when to ponder the situation carefully, or when you act decisively, she confounds the media who are far from the real world of hard unforgiving weather and daily survival skills. The greatest decision they have daily is to have their lattes with decaf or non-fat milk. Life in the real world is far different and we, who are living that out daily, know the difference of things like drilling for oil for national security interests, protecting your borders, and why it is our children fight at a war. We understand that freedom can be lost and that not taking your enemies seriously is quite dangerous.
On this ranch I am far from the world of commuting, lattes, and sound bites. The sound reasoning of Gov. Palin in an interview with a clearly biased Charlie Gibson, comes across loud and clear. I want to reach out and hug her for her ability to hold her own and slap him for his insulting and uneducated line of questions. I'd like to tell the Governor that I am now praying for her son who serves, as I do for mine. I'd like to tell her how it feels to both send her son and how it feels when her boy returns from war, as mine has some eight times. I'd like to also tell her that it doesn't get any easier each time. But I don't have to as I sense she knows this. I sense she also knows how important her son's decision was, and in that confidence she can dish back to Charlie Gibson beyond his comprehension.
We need sound leaders. We live in a time when action figures from Hollywood pretend to tell us they have enough experience from a movie they were in, to opine obnoxiously. The relevance of these creatures has long since passed from our view, if we ever thought they were relevant. We have Sarah now. She is us. She speaks for the average American who is sick and tired of Congress and its dangerous decision making.
From the heartland we down our plain coffee and head out to the barn, or to school to teach fine minds, or to other places where we really accomplish things that move this country forward. We now have a candidate that not only understands this, she plans to reform that which is disconnected for the rest of us. And you know something, we believe she will.
-- Bev Gunn
GLASS HALF FULL
Re: W. James Antle III's Zimmer Time:
Those still worrying about and, in the case of Democrats hoping, for another losing year for the GOP might want to take note that recent polling is finding the electorate tired of the do-nothing, corrupt and inept Democrats (Real Clear Politics has the generic Congressional polling # with the Democrats a steadily declining 4% lead). That liberals couldn't deliver on reform isn't surprising when you consider how corrupt they are from land swindler Obama to the king of sleaze Charlie Rangel.
Hopefully, Zimmer will ride the public's tide of revulsion towards crooked and imbecilic Democrats into Congress. Isn't it time to dip into the well of Reagan/Bush optimism and start working for a Congressional upset like 2002 and 2004? The glass is half full and we just need to fill it up.
-- Michael Tomlinson, Chaplain (LCDR)
THE SKY IS FALLING
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Democrats Hit the Panic Button:
Thanks, Mr. McCain, for run down as we count down. I find myself humming "Isn't it rich, isn't it rare? Us with our feet on the ground -- B.O. in the air? Send in the Clowns, there ought to be clowns...don't bother, they're here."
Leon Panetta hit it right with his assessment that the campaign is in reactive mode right now. Here is proof:
Yesterday I was idling away time at the book table in Costco. I had moved down the aisle from two prominent stacks of The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father and noticed a small pile of Obama Nation. As I picked up a copy, a geezer type in a ragged T-shirt that read "Animal Lover" asked me if I intended to buy "that book." I told him if I did, the transaction would be between me and Costco and it was of no concern to him. He then asked me who I was voting for. I told him and he said I should be directing my attention to two of Obama's autobiographies and it would change my mind. I replied that people who have known me for 65 years don't know what is in my mind and it was doubtful that a two-minute encounter could shine a light into my soul for him. He persisted, saying I need to trust Obama. I said I do trust him. I trust him like Ronald Reagan trusted Gorbachev.
About then my husband hove into view, asked me what was going on. I told him, "This crazy old coot is electioneering on private property -- he's trying to block book sales and just look at his shirt! He belongs to some kind of Bestiality Club." Geezer looks puzzled. I go home to read my Obama Nation.
There are some pretty funny exposures of Obama lies. Axelrod (B.O's mouthpiece) explains Obama's ties with Bill Ayers -- "they lived in the same neighborhood -- their children went to the same school." Yeah, maybe twenty years apart. Obama's girls are elementary school students. Ayers' children are grown.
Reading about poor B.O.'s struggle with his blackness, seems he could have had smoother sailing if he had decided he was half white instead of black. Apparently the only way we can make it up to this troubled guy and assuage his torment at having first been abandoned by his black father and then abandoned a couple of times more by his white mother is to show him we understand the Black Man's Burden by giving him the White House. It is the least we can do. No, I think we can do less than that.
If he gets elected, will the "summer White House" be in Kenya? He seems to have an unusual longing for his African roots. For me, if I had gone home once and learned that my father was just a raving, egomaniacal sot who could not drive a car, I would not be eager to turn over many more ancestral stones than that.
-- Diane Smith.
I believe most will agree that this national election is the most important to our country in recent history. It most certainly is for me, and I am 81 years old. I personally see this as a contest between the two men running for President; although the Vice Presidential candidates do effect the way I see the country going. One of the presidential candidates has worked his way to a great education through hard work. The other candidate was put in a special high school in order to get a high school diploma. He did poorly. Because of family influence, he was given an appointment to Annapolis ahead of much more deserving young men. He finished fifth from the bottom in his class and showed a minimum of leadership skills. Because of family influence he gets into the pilot training program ahead of more deserving young men. He does poorly, crashes one plane and still graduates. He crashes two more planes, (probably pilot error) and still gets promoted ahead of others in his Annapolis class. One of the candidates has been married and faithful to the same women since they first walked down the aisle; the other admits to many affairs and divorced an ailing wife to marry another women. The winner of this election will have a chance to take America into the 21st century; through logic and reason.
If the evangelical right manage to elect the pampered Navy retiree; we can expect our education system to fall behind the rest of the world. Logic and reason can move us ahead. The evangelicals cannot see beyond their faith. Faith and truth are not compatible. The advances in science in the next four years are going to be truly amazing. I can only see our country leading the way if we elect the young man who worked for everything; to get to where he is today.
-- Larry J. Kluth (Lt.Col. USAF Ret.)
Even more uplifting than the McCain/Palin surge is the good news that in Congressional polling Republicans and Democrats are basically tied as to who the public want to see governing. The Democrat Congress that came to power in 2006 seems to be in trouble as the corrupt, unethical and do-nothing nature of Democrats is being revealed despite their media lapdogs attempted cover-up.
Hopefully, voters who swallowed Democrat propaganda in 2006 are choking on the liberal's lies and ready to put Republicans, albeit flawed, back in charge and get the country back to where it was before Democrats seized power.
Hillary and the Clintonistas must be near orgasmic as the shoddy messiah of "ludicrous change" is revealing that being an inept community organizer and dubious Constitutional law "professor" allied to a plagiarist with hair plugs may not be enough to win.
-- Michael Tomlinson, Chaplain (LCDR)
"Hillary seems less than eager to help Obama push back against the Palin phenomenon."
Of course Madame Hillary is absent from the campaign. She continues to be a loyal supporter -- of her own presidential ambitions; an Obama presidency only delays her. Further, HRC simply does not like the young usurper. Lastly, and most importantly, Hillary is a strategic thinker; she finds no value in tipping her hand as to how she will run in 2012: Palin vs. Clinton!
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
AL QAEDA, BAGHDAD BRANCH
Re: Laurie Mylroie's Sarah and Saddam:
Laurie Mylroie continues her persistent and correct analysis of Saddam's role in 9/11. It is buttressed (as Dr. Mylroie has noted in previous writings) by Saddam's harboring of Yasin, who helped make the bomb for the '93 Trade Center bombing, and by the assistance Shakir, an Iraqi intelligence agent, gave to two of the 9/11 hijackers at a critical meeting in January 2000 in Malaysia. Note as well that Yosef Bodansky's biography of Bin Laden reveals an important Al Qaeda/Iraq intelligence meeting in Baghdad in February to March 1998 and the delivery by Saddam's associate, Hijazi, of blank diplomatic passports to Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Toss in Mohammed Atta's meetings with Iraqi intelligence agent Al Ani in Prague and you have a recipe that makes Sarah Palin's assertions rather reasonable.
-- Lawrence Kohn
PURISTS NEED NOT APPLY
Re: Philip Klein's Don't Obamaize Palin:
Philip Klein's piece, "Don't Obamaize Palin" is excellent and thought-provoking. No doubt many movement Conservatives will want to vet Ms. Palin to determine her bona fides as an ideological Conservative, especially with regard to economic issues. But to me, as an independent, the possibility that she may in some areas be more of a moderate than an ideologically a "pure" Conservative is a plus.
I find her statement that she entered politics to "serve the common good," appealing when coupled with the reality of her accomplishments cleaning up corruption in Alaska's Republican Party, selling the Governor's plane, dismissing the cook -- and returning the money to the people.
I would hazard the observation that, over the past century, the majority of our greatest presidents and vice presidents (the great Reagan being the exception) have not been ideologically "pure" in the sense of being adherents to political philosophy, but have tended to be realists who employed a political philosophy but were flexible and overall more moderate than extreme in cleaving to it. I am thinking of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Dwight Eisenhower. All were largely effective; none was an ideological purist.
-- Heather Robinson
New York City, New York
Re: James P. Lucier's A Negotiator Without Preconditions:
Thank you for backing my faith with fact on Sarah Palin.
Her quality of leadership and much ignored experience is so blinding, it's a shame some can't even see it in front of their eyes.
Time will tell, lets cross our fingers.
Because we know (no gender insult intended) behind every good man, is a great woman.
Have a wonderful day and thanks for the great article.
McCain/Palin all the way!
-- Kim Tramutola
PAT ON THE BACK
Re: Reader Mail's No Way to Live:
After all this time I should no longer be amazed at the quality of your readership, nor the respondents' collective smarts; it's wonderful to know that there really are some thinking people left. Diane Smith continues to make me smile, even giggle (even though our house is probably toast, following Ike's path thru our island neighborhood on the Gulf -- gotta maintain one's balance or sense of humor, 'ay?). Love that Jerome Dean quote; pre-Yogi stuff. Thanks.
Those three letters on the sorry state of education? Amen. Nothing else to add. Great observations.
As an Independent with Libertarian leanings, amen (again!) to Eric Dondero's opinions as well. The pro-life zealots' ponderous pontificating certainly does get a little old -- so sanctimonious, as if there weren't maybe a few other compelling questions requiring answers. Tunnel-vision to the extreme it seems.
And, Sally Quinn? Consider her husband's statements when you weigh her "thoughts." Said Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post at the Smithsonian Institution, as reported by David Brooks in the Wall Street Journal (10/5/89): "To hell with news! I'm no longer interested in news. I'm interested in causes. We don't print the truth. We don't pretend to print the truth. We print what people tell us. It's up to the public to decide what's true."
Doesn't that pretty much express what the self-appointed "elite" think of us poor unwashed masses?
CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING
Re: Stephen Zierak's letter (under "Rationalizing") in Reader Mail's No Way to Live:
Every election cycle brings out the political calculators from the conservative and libertarian watering holes. The reasoning may change but the conclusion is always the same: we will win by losing.
Mr. Zierak believes McCain is such a turkey that his presidency is doomed to be unsuccessful -- made all the worse by dirtying the Republican "brand name" and ruining the chances for any true conservative/libertarian powerhouse in future races.
As for Obama, apparently his turkey-ness will be revealed once in office by the mighty hand of the Republican opposition. Such an epiphany for the American public could result in less bad policy and dooming the chances for a second term for Obama. (What? No money on that bet?) Evidently Mr. Zierak also has paid a visit to the witch of Endor to call forth the ghost of Herbert Hoover to illustrate a profound lesson: our country will survive a bad presidency but the Republican Party won't.
As to this last reckoning, unlike the Democrats, it has been a principle among conservatives and even most Republicans that country comes before party. It is unethical to maneuver to produce (even if only by inaction) misfortunes for one's countrymen in order to reap political advantage. We already have one party that does that
But let's consider two more recent historical examples. When Clinton assumed the presidency, the Republican opposition grew to control of both houses of Congress. While it is true that Clinton had to eat some bitter herbs in Republican legislation he also didn't take it laying down famously reminding all with ears he was still the President of the United States. In the end Clinton outwitted the Republicans to achieve many of his own ends in spite of the fact that he had a scandal around his neck. Moreover, Clinton still managed to inflict damage on the country -- most of which would not be made manifest until later. And to confound all rational expectations, many if not most Americans look back on the eight Clinton years as some sort of golden age.
Even more recently, we have the elections of 2006. Again, our political calculators were so angry with the Republican congress that they decided it was time to lose so that the bad apples would get thrown out and the blockheads in the Republican leadership would learn their lesson. They got their wish: losing anyhow. What we got was a number of the good guys losing simply because they were Republicans while the idiots kept their seats. The very blockheads in the Party we wanted to send a message to instead spun defeat into their vindication over the "ideologues." Meanwhile, instead of sending a message to Congress, a Democrat Congress has been sending a message back to us -- promising that there's much more where that came from once Obama changes the drapes in the White House.
Nope, Mr. Zierak, methinks you be too clever by half.
-- Mike Dooley
Hmmm. Steve Zierak and I don't see the same outcome from a McCain presidency in the long term. I don't see McCain as becoming a "failed" presidency as much as a pivotal point in American politics where the left and right are openly defined for all to see and decide where at last we want to go as a people. I think Steve and I agree basically on where we would like to see America in the near future but differ in how to get there. Can we agree that such a Republican/McCain victory this November, which is already showing promise of large coat tails in the state and congressional races would at least have the salutary effect of on the job training for a President Palin in 2016 and one can dare to hope in 2012?
In any case doing nothing so that evil men can triumph is not an option and never has been unless you somehow believe you can insulate yourself deep enough that the fall out will not affect you and yours. But then I consider the entire nation "mine," so chose not to bury my head and hope for the best. The lesser of two evils may be survivable. The greater in this case is not.
-- Craig Sarver
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