Our Sons Deserve Better Than the GOP’s Example of “Manhood”

My son is 11 years old; bright and beautiful and fitted with a heart far larger than it has a right to be. He’s that kind of brilliantly alive that only an 11-year old boy can be.

And we let him down.

Donald Trump did.
The GOP did.

The Evangelical Right did.
Much of America did.

I did.

While so many people openly (and rightly) lamented the devastating effect Donald Trump’s disgusting treatment of women (and the inexplicable defending of said treatment) will have upon young girls looking on, we all forgot something: our sons were watching and listening too.

I’m not sure we’ve stopped to think about what kind of young men we’re creating right now.

I don’t know if we’ve considered the collateral damage this is doing within the boys in our collective care. 

I don’t think we can fathom what our sons in a Donald Trump America are likely to grow into:

Men with a dangerous sense of entitlement when it comes to the bodies of women.
Men for whom violent, hateful, objectifying words about women are viewed as normal.
Men who believe that money and power and their penises give them license to do whatever they want with a woman regardless of what she wants.
Men for whom the very idea of consent is unimportant.
Men who believe they will get rewarded for their misogyny and sexism and filth, because they’ve watched it happen.
Men who grow to have no value for the truth.

When my son first asked me what Donald Trump said about women, and I did the best I could to relay it all without using the actual words, because to use the actual words Trump used, would have meant subjecting my son to the kind of explicit, angry vulgarity that isn’t normal and shouldn’t be normal for 11-year old boys—or boys of integrity of any age.

The words about women from a man who is now President, unfit to be repeated by a father to his son. Let that sink in for a minute. 

Trying to find any scenario in which any man talking about grabbing a woman by the genitalia and forcing himself on her physically is at all normal or acceptable, underscores the tragic absurdity of it all. It also illustrates the depths to which we’ve fallen and the sickness which is so pervasive; that our politics now so easily trumps our humanity.

The fact that a man with such a well-documented pattern of misogyny was the GOP representative for the highest office in the country (let alone garnering the support of millions of people who claim faith in Jesus) should be an embarrassment to any self-respecting parent and Christian. We should be sick to our stomachs right now, realizing how poisonous this all is to the hearts and minds of our boys. We should be openly condemning it all, if we had any regard for them and any interest in who they are becoming.

That so many fathers (and mothers) are not doing so, means that maybe Donald Trump is exactly the person to best represent us in the world. Maybe that is how low the bar we’ve set for our young men really is. Maybe the support for Trump is a true measure of the hatred so many men have toward women and the self-loathing too many of those women are afflicted with.

I have better dreams for my son than this.

I want him to know that girls and women, that all people—are worthy of respect and decency and gentleness.
I want him to know that dehumanizing a woman is never normal; not in a locker room or a frat party or a board room or a bedroom.
I want him to know that another woman’s body is not his jurisdiction.
I want him to know that a woman’s outward no is louder than his internal yes.

I want him to know that there is a huge difference between being a man—and being a gentleman.

I believe my son deserves better than this week. All our sons do.

They deserve far better than a Donald Trump presidency. They deserve a higher definition of what it means to be a man, than an insulting, groping, bragging predator who treats women with complete disregard. 

They deserve a Christianity that isn’t as pliable as the Conservative Right and so many professed believers have made it in order to accommodate their candidate.

They also deserve better than to see adults making excuses for the words Trump has said and the things he’s done. They deserve parents, mentors, and role models who won’t sell their souls to align with a party or retain power.

One day my son will be a man, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to ever worry that he’s not a man who recognizes women as valuable and equal and worthy of respect, and I’m going to shout down all the voices that would speak something different into his ears, even if those voices are of family members, friends, pastors, and Presidential candidates.

Rationalizing sexual assault and violence toward women as just “boys will be boys”, is the best way to ensure that our boys grow-up to become abusive men who have contempt for women and believe that to be what all men do. I refuse to participate in that.

At this point, opposing this kind of language and behavior shouldn’t be seen as a political move—but a human decency move. There shouldn’t be an alternative side to choose here; not if we love our sons and daughters.

Right now my son and millions of other bright and beautiful boys with big hearts and bigger questions are watching and listening to Donald Trump, and to us.

He is failing them.

We can’t afford to.

 

Get John’s Email Newsletter

Receive regular updates with speaking dates, media links, book launches, shareable graphics, and regular content regarding stuff that needs to be said.

 

 

 

 

183 thoughts on “Our Sons Deserve Better Than the GOP’s Example of “Manhood”

  1. John P:

    I have had enough. I want off of these threads. I have NEVER in my LIFE seen so much VICIOUSNESS and HATRED and so much of it in the name of Jesus.

    • Hi Scott… just curious, you did mean the people commenting and not John P., correct? And yes you are right, viciousness and hatred…. I wonder if this will lessen after the election or if this is just going to spiral out of control? God help us all….

      • Oh no, not John P. That man bends over backwards to show love, mercy, and justice.

        I am reminded of a quote from Mohandas K Gandhi:

        “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians.”

  2. Love that Gandhi quote…. (by the way, I’m “anonymous” above … guess John’s website didn’t recognize my writing style when I didn’t fill in the info. while commenting). I love John P. too… Blessings to you Scott. 🙂

  3. Just read about this father’s concern written prior to the election. In spite of the fact that Mr Trump’s candidacy was one of the worst and probably most crass one I’ve ever witnessed, his morality is not the only concern or issue in question here, which is without a doubt a good one. However since he took office, I see other concerns rapidly developing from the actions he is taking. The first concern is his apparent support of big business taking precedence over the toxicity of the environment, the waters, wildlife as he continues to support companies like Monsanto, pipelines whose oil leaks have have taken a heavy toll on environments throughout the country that are not publicized, the continuing contamination and poisoning the land and waters where food is grown, ignoring the outcry of those who oppose him and feigning more concern for those in other countries that we have to “protect” rather than showing concern as someone elected to represent us to make America great again. There seems to be a great discrepancy between his walk the talk and actions taken. This too should be a great concern on how all of this is affecting not only us but our children who are dealing with new disease and sensitivities not manifest in prior generations, vaccines that now contain poisons such as mercury in larger quantities, fluoride in the waters now proving to be a chemical more destructive than helpful, and totally ignoring all the new technology coming out that would benefit all of us and have less toxicity on the environment. What kind of world is being developed for our future generations. It is obvious other countries are learning by observing our actions and starting to avoid the contaminations we are forced to deal with daily. Not to mention the dismantling of programs instead of finding ways to fix them (such as the EPA) in order to fund his agenda. Ever hear any more talk about the wall recently? Ever hear anything about eliminating waste and excessive spending? Many will say he just started in office – give him a chance. According to what he has pushed so far as his priorities through his actions, blaming others for all the problems that exist instead of seeking and spending his energy to find viable solutions, failing to bring competent and knowledgable people on board to help find solutions to these problems, just wonder where all this is leading to a world our children are growing into and who are meant to be our future. The least we can do is educate them to become aware that better ways do exist.

  4. JOHN, your son deserves better than America. You are obviously a parent who is raising his children to be better than what the present America is. I don’t know how you feel about this, but I can tell you that if I had small children, I would either send them abroad for their educations, or I would emigrate altogether, to Europe, for a better life and a more promising future than what America can provide. I have always loved my country and I still do. I am old now and my children are grown. It really does not matter what happens to me. But it matters what happens to your children. Please do not let them live in this climate of hatred and division. Give them what they deserve. Give them the future they deserve. I love you for what you write and for what you give to us through your writing. Please don’t stop…..we need you to hold us up in these awful times. Godspeed to you and to your family.

  5. John….love that you’re saying stuff that needs to get said
    Just have a problem with the way I have to process these
    comments/conversations (which are incredibly helpful!!)
    Because I can’t sit here in front of the monitor for an hour
    or two (!!) I usually ‘print’ out the comments and then @ a
    better time or place (staple & take in my purse!) I can read
    and think hard about what’s being said. This is all so helpful
    in ‘learning’ how the side (defenders of Trump) interact, what
    they’re thinking.
    COULD YOU PLEASE…… have your website staff do whatever
    they need to do to make the printing out easier ??
    Right now it takes ENORMOUS amount of pages to get all the
    words. I know it could be simplified THANK YOU MUCH

  6. Ken if any men ever did anything like that to my daughter I would hunt him down no matter what God and th system of government did to me and God forgive me kill him!

  7. Ken what this man John is saying about women an did any of this to my daughter I would hunt him down, God forgive me and kill him no matter what the government would do to me he deserves it God forgive me but he is scum to my beliefs!

Comments are closed.