Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 263
September 29, 1997

Walking Six Miles through the Snow



"What Do They Want?" TV, used to make friendly the dark silence of the late night/early morning work session, took over my consciousness. Wives and girlfriends were describing the men controlling their lives. Sally Jessy Raphael showed the pacing men in the back rooms not knowing what was being said about them. Then the men came out to a verbally hostile, booing audience. I waited for the coliseum 'thumbs down' releasing leaping lions. Although the men's dress, demeanor and words indicated that what was said about them was true, the set-up was viciously unfair. Work completely faded from my mind as other talk shows, viewed over the years, flooded my mind, and I began to realize the pervasiveness of male bashing. Whereas, today we rightly reject derogatory comments about women, it is assumed that 'men' are insensitive, non-emotional, uninvolved, absent, abusive, non-verbal and humanly dysfunctional. In the days following, my sensitized ears and eyes picked up parallel stories. The Promise Keepers' gathering of a million men in Washington, men who seek to overcome the attitudes and behavior attacked on the talk shows, received the seal of disapproval by the head of NOW because revisions of such behavior do not match her political outlook. Public radio reported on the cancers peculiar to women and men-breast and prostate-stating that, although these cancers kill roughly the same number, public funding for the study of the first is $550 million, and for the latter, $85 million. A person to whom these figures were mentioned responded with "Well, research on women's health languished behind men's for decades." As if the past death of Jane justifies the present death of Fred. Finally, that same week, a newspaper reported on the growing number of men in our society committing suicide. Such self-destruction in the teen-age years means that, for each 100,000, 18 boys commit suicide compared to 4 girls. Decade-by-decade, the spread widens, until in the mid-70s to mid-80s, the spread is 53 men to 6 women. In facing, and seeking to overcome, the legitimate and painful issues women face in our society, the denigration of men has proceeded apace. If that was the way to solve the former, we would be well on the way to a societal solution. However, unaddressed is discovering what is fueling both male self-destruction and destruction of others. At times I use this benediction: "Be kind, everybody is fighting a hard battle." Everyone? At every moment? Always hard? No. But, enough issues swirl around within individuals-men as well as women-that sensitivity and compassion to all is never inappropriate nor wasted.


--Robert H. Tucker
29 September 1997

© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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