On May 7, 2016, six months before the November election, I wrote an article titled, "The real reason Donald Trump will be our next president." I wrote at the time: “A lot of people who identify as Democrats, Republicans and Independents don't want Donald Trump to be our next president. Yet millions of men and women will vote for him despite unfavorable ratings that continue to climb. I went on to describe the underlying reasons why I thought he would be the next President of the United States and the dangers a Trump presidency would present to the United States and the world.
We now know a lot more about Donald Trump than we did on May 7, 2016. Here's what I wrote and posted on the morning of November 3, 2020 before people went to the polls to decide if Donald Trump elected or Joe Biden would be our next president:
“It's election day today… well, actually the elections and the votes have been going on for a while and we may not know the results and count all the votes for some time. These are times of challenge and uncertainty. What we do know is this:
1. Whether Joe Biden and Kamala Harris or Donald Trump and Mike Pence win the election, about half the country will be thrilled.
2. About half of the country will feel angry, fearful, stressed and depressed.
3. Some will feel that the election has been stolen and some will want to hurt others.
4. Winners will believe they were right and the other party was wrong.
5. Losers will feel they were right and the other party was wrong.
6. Some will feel the America they knew was dead and will feel such desperation and rage that they will want to destroy what remains of our country.
7. Others will feel that even though something is finished, something new, and even better, may come out of its ashes.
8. The United States of America is a young country, ruled by a young masculine energy (no coincidence that all of our presidents have been men), with a certain macho, adolescent, competitive, whose-dick-is the greater pubescent mind.
9. The outcome of the election will be less important than what Americans choose to do when the results are known.
10. Are we going to stay young and immature and fuck each other? Or will we start to grow up, recognize that there are no simple solutions to our problems, and learn to live with our differences.
As of this writing, it is Friday November 6, 2020, three days after election day. Some things are clearer now and some things are not yet known. Joe Biden has small but important leads in a number of crucial states and it seems likely he will be our next president. What is still unknown is the end result and where we go from here. Either way, the end results there will be a need for healing.
I am a marriage and family counselor, writer and healer and for fifty years I have specialized in helping men to live fully, love deeply and make a positive difference in the world. I wrote sixteen books including, The Warrior's Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing the Planet, Surviving Male Menopause: A Guide for Women and Men, and Irritable Man Syndrome: Understanding the 4 Main Causes of Depression and Aggression.
There will be a lot of writing about the 2020 elections. Here I would like to share some ideas about masculinity and the decisions we will be making over the next three months and three years as to whether we will support some kind of masculinity based on. domination or that based on partnership.
In a recent article, "Masculinity in America: Biden, Trump, Partnership and Domination", I have quoted Jackson Katz, Ph.D., an educator, author, and social theorist who is internationally renowned for his scholarship and pioneering activism on issues of gender, race and violence. In his recent documentary, The Man Card: Nixon to Trump's White Male Identity Policy " he says,
"Trump is a more cartoonish version of masculinity - aggressive, physically tough, physically strong, never backs down."
We have seen this type of masculinity play out in Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus. He saw the wearing of a mask as a demonstration of weakness and the refusal to wear one an expression of manly strength. When he contracted the virus and fell ill, he found himself triumphing over the virus easily, claiming it was not a big deal and the virus would be gone soon.
Katz describes another type of masculinity illustrated by Joe Biden:
“One of Biden's political business cards is an expression of empathy with voters, and unlike Trump, he's not afraid to show his vulnerability in public. He often cries when talking about his son, Beau, who passed away in 2015. He talks about his childhood stuttering and how he worked to overcome it. He has spoken in the past of considering suicide after a family tragedy. He talks about the grief he felt when his first wife and first daughter died in a car accident.
Biden also took the arrival of the virus seriously, took precautions, listened to scientists, and saw wearing a mask as a considerate response to protect others from possible infection.
These two expressions of masculinity are linked to two ways in which societies organize themselves - one based on domination, the other on partnership - a contrast that cultural historian and systems scientist Riane Eisler has been studying for over thirty years. years.
Eisler, who is the chairman of the Center for Partnership Studies, said,
“At the basis of the great surface diversity of human culture are two fundamental models of society. The first, which I call the domineering model, is what is commonly referred to as patriarchy or matriarchy - the ranking of half of humanity over the other. The second, in which social relations are based primarily on the principle of linking rather than ranking, can be better described as the partnership model. In this model - starting with the most fundamental difference in our species, between male and female - diversity is not equated with inferiority or superiority.
In his recent book with the anthropologist, Douglas P. Fry, PhD, Feeding Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brain, Our Lives, and Our Future, they demonstrate that for over 99% of our two million years of human history, our ancestors lived with the following partnership practices:
- Global equality.
- Equality, respect and partnership between women and men.
- Non-acceptance of violence, war, abuse, cruelty and exploitation.
- An ethic that supports human benevolence and prosocial cooperation.
It wasn't until the past 6,000 years that humans settled in one place and began to dominate and exploit nature. What we did to the natural world, we started to do to ourselves. What we did to each other, we started to do to each other. As injured, angry and aggressive men began to dominate and exploit other men, they also began to dominate and exploit women.
The philosopher Martin Buber described two ways of treating and treating each other. There is I-It relations and I you relationships. In relation to nature, to ourselves and to each other, I-He sees us as separate. Others must be used and exploited to our advantage. I-You see us as involved in a sacred relationship of fellowship. Others are to be respected and cherished. As Buber says, "love is the responsibility of one I for a You."
One of the decisions made in this election is the kind of man we want to lead over the next four years. Will we choose a man who engages in partnership, the I-Thou, practice, or will we choose the one who engages in domination, the I-That, practices?
Although there is a tendency these days to divide the world between “good guys” and “bad guys”, life is never that simple. If you are a Trump supporter you can be sure that you are in the good guys and see Biden and his supporters in the bad guys. If you are a Biden supporter, you can be sure that you are in the good guys and that Trump and his followers are in the bad guys.
The truth is, we all have qualities of domination and partnership within us. We all have a little bit of Donald in us and we all have a little bit of Joe. The question for all of us over the next three months and three years is: are we going to heal our hurt hearts and move towards partnership or more towards domination? The choice each of us makes will determine our future.
2020 will be forever remembered as the election year where two men with contrasting masculinity styles offered America the choice of the leader who would best represent them. It will also be remembered that the year that, under one man's leadership, the United States dominated the world in coronavirus cases, 9,932,885, and deaths, 241,098 (as of November 6, 2020).
It has been a year of crises. Reflecting on the elections and the pandemic, I remember that the Chinese character for 'crisis', which is pronounced 'wei-ji' and consists of two characters: the Chinese character 'wei', which means 'danger', plus the Chinese character "ji", meaning "crucial occasion, critical point, opportunity". We will continue to face danger and opportunity as we move forward in our lives.
Over the next three months and three years, no matter who is in the White House, we must each commit to a new future of partnership, where we are kinder to ourselves, more attentive to those who voted differently than we do. what we voted for, and more understanding. of those who were so discouraged that they did not vote at all. We must be committed to healing the wounds between whites and people of color, between women and men, between yin and yang within each of us, and between humanity and Earth and all of its creatures, including viruses. Together we have the challenge of creating, in the words of my colleague Charles Eisenstein, "the world more beautiful than our hearts know it is possible".
About six months before I turned 50, a friend tried to convince me to enter a physique contest. He had just turned 40, and was thrilled to be in the over-40 category because there were fewer guys for him to compete against. He said to me, “Kirk, you can win the over-50 category. There are only a few guys who enter. But, you have no lats or traps—most older dudes don’t. Work on your back and you got it in the bag ! ” I wasn’t too excited to enter a competition with “no competition, ” but I was pretty peeved to hear him say I had no lats or traps. My back was better than that. Although I had no intention to enter the competition, I started doing more single-arm dumbbell rows to work my back. Now, a few years later, it’s one of my favorite dumbbell exercises. Importantly, I’m not trying to break any records when it comes to weight here, like I might have in my younger days. Quality reps at low weight is the bigger focus.
There are versions of the exercise where you see guys use a bench for support, using a hand or even placing a knee on the bench. These have their merits ( although MH sport director Ebenezer Samuel, C. S. C. S. would rather you not put a knee up ). However, I mostly do the version with no aide from the bench with both feet on the ground as points of contact. This version works your traps, rhomboids, rear delts and rotator cuff groupes de muscles, but you also get some core work, something you greatly need as you get older. Remember, though, that the way do the exercise is subjective to your own abilities. If you need some extra support for balance, don’t hesitate to put a hand down.
tera set up for my preferred variation, pick up a light dumbbell, especially to start. Stand with your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in a neutral place at your side, as if you would for a hammer curl. Place your free hand behind you, with the back of your hand on the small of your back ( you can also extend your off arm out to balance ). Next, bend over by pushing your butt back and hinging at your waist, with your knees slightly bent. There should be no rounding of the spine, and you should keep your gaze down at the floor in a neutral neck position. Lastly, as you’re hanging onto the dumbbell with your arm pointing to the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together so your shoulders lock in place and don’t slump.
From this starting position, use your back to pull the dumbbell up without twisting your spine. Pull up as high as you can, pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together even more. Then release by lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position. to control my pace, I usually pull up for 2 seconds, squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then release back to the starting position in 2 seconds.
By doing the dumbbell row unilaterally ( one arm at a time ), you’ll feel yourself being pulled off balance. You must fight with your abs and obliques to maintain balance and stability, which is why I love this exercise so much. Although you won’t be able to load up with as much weight as you would using the bench for stabilization, the extra core work you’ll get makes this version well worth putting in your arsenal of exercises. Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps during upper body workouts to get started.
We all know that it’s common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. And a majority of men will postpone seeking care for a few days to see whether they feel any better. It’s the whole ' if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ' line of thinking.
But there are steps the men in your life can take today to improve their vitality and help prevent health problems down the road. Of course, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as family history and age, but every day choices can have a big effet on their current and future health.
Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than sept percent of kcal should come from saturated fats ), cholesterol, and salt, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables ( two cups of fruit per day; three cups of vegetables per day for men up to age 50 and two and a half cups for men aged 51 and over ), whole grains and fiber can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count. But don’t be a weekend sports warrior. Start slowly if you aren’t normally active and gradually build up. No time ? Research shows that even bermuda bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of intense activity several times a day—can help men improve their health. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you.
It’s important to maintain a saine weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be hard on your body. Carrying too much body fat forces your heart to work harder and increases your chances of heart disease and stroke, even if you have no other risk factors ! So, try to curb weight gain as you age.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4, 000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer. Smoking also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and other health problems. And if you think chewing tobacco is safer, think again. Not only is chewing tobacco a known cause of cancer ( carcinogen ), it also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss and may be linked to fertility problems. And, few could argue that chewing and spitting is attractive to a partner. If you smoke or chew, talk to your health care professional about ways to quit. Consider substance nicotinique replacement therapy products that include self-help programs, if appropriate.
Whether it’s pulling out the weed whacker, going for a bike ride or grilling with the neighbors, safety is key. Here are just a few examples : Take care when moving heavy objects. It’s easy to strain yourself when lifting boxes, furniture and other heavy items. Use your knees and legs and not your back for leverage. And ask for help, if you need it. Wear appropriate protective gear for your eyes and ears when using leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other machines at home or work. Excessive exposure to noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or ski and throw on reflective clothing if you go for a run after dark. When grilling, never leave the grill unattended, especially when small children and pets are around, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The grill should be at least 10 feet from your house or any building. tera protect your skin, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and apply ( and reapply ) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.