Gosh Josh
You Are So into Your Masculinity

This essay is about grasping why people write or say absurd pronouncements—case in point. Sen. Josh Hawley wrote Manhood, The Masculine Virtues America Needs.


Josh’s theme in his book seems to center around the lack of American manhood. He wrote, “No menace to this nation is greater than the collapse of American manhood.” Hmmm. Apparently, the debt ceiling controversy, China’s sable-rattling, the nonsense about the stolen election, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia are minor compared to masculinity. Come on, Josh, governments don’t fail when male citizens don’t possess “strength of character.”

Without men with strong character, Josh claims we are doomed. Hmm. Let me process this. Hawley’s assumption is that women aren’t strong enough to lead. That is blatant sexism. Strength of character isn’t a gene in the DNA of men or women. The strength of character is open to all people.

Nonetheless, Hawley views the biblical narrative that God created women from men. That isn’t biologically true. Back several millennia, women had two jobs, having a male child and instructing that child during his childhood. Even though it is in Genesis, that biblical assumption isn’t true. There are other erroneous ideas back then, like sin came into the world via Eve. God created the universe in six days, and he rested on the seventh day. God created the universe to revolve around the Earth. I wonder what Hawley thought about the Scopes Monkey Trial a century ago.

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan fought over evolution.

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan fought over evolution.

On the other hand, we macho males have a half dozen tasks in life: being a husband, father, warrior, builder, priest, and king, according to Josh. He theorizes that our manhood is both something in our DNA and a personal achievement. Women don’t have it in their DNA. Therefore, it isn’t a personal achievement goal. “Boys were born as males, but not yet as men. One became a man only by acquiring certain character traits.” Hawley says we can achieve this character trait. “Say no to yourself, discipline your passions.”

Hawley’s book and his suggestion for becoming a man are based upon his notion of the masculine template. Before I offer an alternative to his self-righteous mindset, I would like to evaluate Hawley as a man. How would he rank in masculinity and strength of character?

Macho man supporting the protestors on January 6th

Macho man supporting the protestors on January 6th

Hawley supported the protesters and the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021. That took guts. He even took off his COVID mask. There is a real man’s man...maybe.

However, Josh fled the Capitol, humming Chariots of Fire, as other macho men attacked the Capitol.

Josh, you can’t be a macho supporter of the rioters and flee from them an hour later. Well, unless you aren’t as macho as you claim to be. I’m sure you read Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, on your way to manhood. Caesar said to Brutus, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once. Et tu, Brute?” Shakespeare would ask you the same question with a slight variant. “Et tu, Josh?”

Josh, you wrote there is “no template, no vision for what it is to be a man.” I’m not concerned about a template for manhood. However, I learned two essential truths during my eighty-year journey down the yellow brick road of life. You might wish to call them templates. Nevertheless, they apply to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or culture.

I have twice led Death upon the dance floor of life. I could have died two different times in 2008 due to a subdural hematoma and prostate cancer. I would not wish to relive either of my dances, but I will never delete them from my journey. My dances taught me to take life seriously.

I know that you think that you are also serious about living. Maybe, you think that, but I doubt it, but do the dance with Death. It awakens you to living, which is different than being alive. Doing the dance is felt in one’s gut. I don’t waste much time in my twilight years. I address issues that are critical...for other people. That sounds counterintuitive; nonetheless, it is the truth.

I came up with a mantra that explains my Weltanschauung. It is in giving that we get. The more we give to others, the more we benefit. We must get the I out of our mindset and replace it with the We.

Josh, this is another Shakespearean quote. Macbeth spoke these words of truth to you as you strut upon the stage.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

NB When I was finishing my doctorate at McCormick in Chicago in 1981, We Are Family was on the airwaves. Sitting in my dorm room writing and rewriting various chapters, that song was my favorite. Interestingly, my thesis was on what constitutes a family beyond the nuclear family.

I don’t think that song was among Josh’s favorites for various reasons. He wasn’t into the concept of family; he opted for his masculinity. Another issue was that the lyrics were written by two black writers and sung by four black females.

This is the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th, dealing with Sen. Josh, Macho Man, Hawley.