If you don’t usually read or have never read Vox.com, the in-depth news website, you should — today in particular.
Two stories from the current edition of Vox.com practically jumped out at me. One was about the Tim Allen sitcom “Last Man Standing,” which has returned on the Fox Network after having been canceled by ABC. The story details how the show has transformed from a mild retread of Allen’s previous sitcom hit, “Home Improvement,” into an “All in the Family” for conservatives, wherein Mike Baxter (Allen’s character) is a stand-in for all men (Read: all privileged white men) who feel marginalized by our ever-evolving society.
The second eye-opening article is about the U.S.’ current political football: Will Brett Kavanaugh win sufficient House and Senate votes to become a Supreme Court justice? The article includes a significant quote from one of Kavanaugh’s most vocal supporters, Sen. Lindsey Graham:
“I’m a single white male from South Carolina, and I’m told I should just shut up, but I will not shut up.”
“Graham is elevating the stakes of the Kavanaugh hearing. No longer is this about Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford…[I]t is about showing that white men in power are not going anywhere — that they will not listen, will not budge, and will not give ground to #MeToo or the Black Lives Matter movement…This was always the subtext of the Republican approach to the sexual assault allegations. But now Graham has officially made it the text: Voting ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh is the battle cry of the reactionary man.”
Which leads me to the question that has been rolling around in my mind ever since Donald Trump began to be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate:
What in God’s name are these guys so threatened about?
Let’s talk about the milder case first. Tim Allen has worked with the “Last Man Standing” showrunners to make a case for how the concerns of conservative males are being brushed off. The thing is, when “All in the Family” did this sort of thing, the show made it perfectly clear that Archie Bunker’s bigoted, far-right views were meant to be laughed at.
But Allen wants us to take these concerns at face value, even when the show’s very premise belies him. Mike Baxter is the well-off senior employee at a sporting goods store, and his life’s biggest challenge is having to listen to his wife and daughters point out how silly some of his philosophies are. Black American males who live in fear of getting pulled over and/or killed by cops merely because of their skin color would consider Mike Baxter’s problems a walk in the park.
As for Sen. Graham, he is a stand-in for all of the rich white politicians who simply can’t stand it that women are daring to vocalize their anger about men who sexually and non-consensually thrust themselves upon women. When did anyone decide that women should have a say in their own lives, anyway?
Again I ask, what are these conservative males so threatened about? They have the ultra-ultra-conservative President they voted for; they have a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate; and I boldly (and sadly) predict that they will get Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court.
What more do these guys want? What more do these guys need?
My answer to this question is pretty basic. I knew plenty of guys like this in high school — the macho boys who felt it was their right to bully other males who didn’t have their muscles, good looks, or money and who had to have the girls they wanted, whether the girls wanted them or not. Many of these guys never lost their sense of entitlement. For some of them, that sense followed them right into their political careers.
As an adult, I’m as tired of these kinds of guys in politics as I was in high school. They don’t realize they’d probably be more popular if they would only do what they can’t bring themselves to do: Shut up and let some other people have the floor for a while — maybe even some people who have to struggle just to survive every day. Maybe they might learn something from those other people.