Father’s Day and Honorable Manhood

By Matt Rooney
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Feminism used to be oriented towards the struggle for gender equality, Save Jerseyans. Parity in the domestic sphere and legal arena. Today? As we celebrate another Father’s Day with barbecues, Hallmark cards and big box hardware store gift cards? The feminist movement is epitomized by a 2012 New York Times opinion column which is seared in my memory, titled “Men, Who Needs Them?”

I won’t get into the details of the piece. It’s everything you’d expect (and worse), and it’s written by a self-described man and father who you’d think would defend his gender. He didn’t. After all, you and he and I are all living in an anti-man age. Men went from being alleged oppressors, to partners, to obstacles, to enemies and now (if the NYT opinion editorialist is to be believed) wholly unnecessary to the species. “The future is female.” That’s what we’re told 

Naturally, this ascendant worldview is sadly typical of the Left’s cynical, simplistic, zero sum approach to economics and culture. If someone’s rich, they reason, then others must be poor; there’s a finite amount of pie to go around the table. If someone has rights? The oppressed cannot be empowered without limiting the already enfranchised.

Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity to reflect upon the reasons why the Left’s anti-man worldview is bat shit crazy.

We need strong women. We need strong men, too. Women and the generations they rear aren’t better served by a plague of beta pajama boys who can’t swing a hammer, hold a door, lack clear purpose and principles, can’t handle adversity, and who are “emotionally fluent” but hopelessly arrested and unable to cope.

I always go back to that iconic Sullivan Ballou letter. Major Ballou was 32-year-old Rhode Island attorney who died for the Union during the First Battle of Bull Run. Before he died (158 years ago next month), Ballou, also a father, penned a note to his wife which lives through the ages and provides a perfect retort to the above-referenced NYT columnist’s friend who quipped that men are good for “entertaining” but nothing else… 

“Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables, that nothing but Omnipotence can break; and yet, my love of country comes over me like a strong wind, and bears me irresistibly on with all those chains, to the battlefield. The memories of all the blissful moments I have spent with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you, that I have enjoyed them so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up, and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our boys grow up to honorable manhood around us.”

That’s what dads do. The good ones.

They provide an example. They supply stability, discipline, structure and sternness tempered by tenderness. They put everything (including their own comfort and lives, if necessary) to the back of the line for the sake of their children’s future. Good moms excel in most of these categories, too, but anyone lucky enough to have both knows that each adds something different to the childhood/growing up experience. A star pitcher and a .300+ batter aren’t “less” or more necessary than the other. They’re equally indispensable participants in winning the big game for the team.

Here’s an unorthodox suggestion for your Father’s Day: thank the men in your life for being men. You might elicit a chuckle or raised eyebrow at the dinner table (and even a snarky comment from your liberal Aunt Alice), but this conversation is arguably one of the most important of our time. Let the next generation know what we expect and need from them by affirming what we except and need from our men. There’s no better time than today. 

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MATT ROONEY is a practicing New Jersey attorney, regular panelist on ‘Chasing News’ with Bill Spadea, and the founder and blogger-in-chief of Save Jersey.

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