Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. I’d had another post planned for today, but bumped it because, well, I didn’t realize that Wednesday was July 4th. It’s an important day for any true-blooded American. It needs to be addressed.
Thinking about Independence Day, I couldn’t help but think about so many of those who fought to break free of the oppression they saw coming from the British Crown. Men who stood against aggression from not just hostile natives but a malevolent government.
There’s a lot to respect there.
Now, let me get started by saying that if you start with the whole “they stole land from those natives” crap and decide to bash those men, don’t expect your comments to see the light of day. While that’s a topic that gets debated regularly, I’m not interested in debating it here. Understood?
First, I’d like to apologize for this being a little late. Yesterday afternoon, my town was slammed by yet another nasty storm. This one had a particularly deadly tornado attached to it. Then, this morning, we lost power, possibly related to the storm, and we just got it back not all that long ago.
Now, while the storm was bad, it didn’t take power or cable out for a good bit yesterday, and I got to at least experience a bit of joy after the bad.
I am, of course, referring to the NFC Championship game where my beloved Atlanta Falcons stomped the Green Bay Packers.
For us, it was a banner day, but I was particularly struck by the sheer manhood displayed by Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
Pretty much ever culture on the planet respects bravery in some way. In the tribal regions, brave warriors get special places of honor. In more modern regions, we honor bravery with awards and medals. Courage is still revered.
In American culture, it has typically held a special place. After all, we’re a nation born out of war who went from upstart rabble-rousers to superpower in a couple of centuries, all through warfare. It’s impossible to trade on conflict like that and not have a special regard for the brave people who made that happen.
However, we’ve never reserved our reverence for heroism as being just for our troops. Firefighters and police officers, in particular, have garnered praise for being in occupations that often require heroism on their part. Many communities will also honor private citizens for their bravery when it appears warranted.
The idea of who is and isn’t a man may well be one of the greatest challenges facing the males of the human species. These days, real men can be anything. A real man supposedly cries at kitten videos and is a kind, gentle soul who wouldn’t hurt a fly or something.
Oddly enough, traditionally masculine activities are often portrayed as being the purview of guys who aren’t real men but want to pretend. Hunting, shooting, fighting, etc are all constantly being described as the playground of either those trying to overcompensate for something or as having some kind of homoerotic subtext that no one actually involved in the activity can sense.