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Sen. Josh Hawley’s Blame Campaign Makes Much Ado About Us Dudes

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Too many men are stuck in a cycle of “idleness and pornography and video games.”

So says Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the Grand Old Party’s brightest right-wing rising stars these days, and who can argue with his statement? Certainly not me, in my grumpy old “Get your nose out of so many blankety-blank video screens” stage of fatherhood.

The more important question to me is, what can or should be done about it?

On that score, Hawley’s recent widely discussed keynote speech to the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando seemed to be aimed less at finding solutions than placing blame.

His number one target: “the left.”

What else should we expect from a senator who, along with Texas Republican Ted Cruz, vocally objected to the certification of President Joe Biden’s election, led efforts to overturn the Electoral College vote count and raised an encouraging fist to the Jan. 6 insurrectionists just before they stormed the Capitol?

 

“The left wants to define traditional masculinity as toxic,” he said. “They want to define the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness — as a danger to society.”

Actually, the T-word, popularized in some social sciences and men’s movements, refers to pressures that drive some men to spousal abuse and other harmful behavior out of a badly distorted view of what manhood should be all about.

But confusion about such academic terms (“Critical Race Theory” anyone?) makes great fodder for political attack ads campaigns. As strategists often say, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

The marginalization of men, in Hawley’s view, “is an effort the left has been at for years now. And they have had alarming success,” he said. “American men are working less, getting married in fewer numbers; they’re fathering fewer children. They are suffering more anxiety and depression. They are engaging in more substance abuse.”

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