By Gallagher & Schleicher
Ron Wright, now a freshman congressman for Texas’ 6th District, some 25 years ago joked in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram piece how he perceived white males to be “the only species without some form of federal protection.” We could point out that white males are entitled to the same protection from discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or gender as anyone else, or how old white males (under law, over age 40) are entitled to a third layer of protection. But instead we today celebrate Wright’s prophetic vision for a Movement of the Disgruntled.
Who could have imagined that Wright’s ramblings of a quarter-century ago would in our modern day have become a veritable religion of victimhood? And with the U.S. president as its pope, a cardinal appointed to the Supreme Court and priests filling the halls of Congress? Some might label it “Deranged Male Syndrome,” but probably only those with so-called degrees in so-called psychiatry. That diagnosis fails to take into account just how bad males have it.
Consider that only some 475 of the Fortune 500 company CEOs are male. Or that men on average (depending on whose figures you believe) earn only some 25 percent more than women. Or that only 45 of 45 presidents have been male. Worse, only 110 of 114 Supreme Court justices have been men. Most shocking of all, 93 percent of those sent to federal prison are males.
Simply because studies reveal men to lie more often and more broadly than females, men often are unfairly labelled as untrustworthy. Elsewhere, it is widely reported that females tend to make better grades than men in school – proof positive that the system is tilted in favor of Venus, not Mars. Men often pay higher rates for car insurance – based merely on so-called “statistical analysis” of driving habits – and more for life insurance just because they die sooner.
Our president is a prime example of how profoundly and frequently men are mistreated. He’s been harassed by the media and Democrats in Congress – and rejected by female voters – for the most minor of things.
Whether it’s overstating his net worth by billions in seeking bank loans, trading election help with a foreign enemy for promised sanctions relief or making incestuous jokes about his relationship with his daughter, Trump is criticized for doing things for which no female American politician has ever been called out, at least to our knowledge.
The latest poster child for Deranged Male Syndrome would be Tucker Carlson. He’s been victimized by being condemned for making jokes about raping minors when he didn’t realize these radio interviews would be listened to by anyone. With a net worth approaching $10 million and only a half-million-a-year salary, he clearly suffers from ineligibility for workplace affirmative action.
What makes the older white American male so angry so often? And when his unemployment rate is lower than that for women and for those with more color to their skin? We take it to be that the American Dream (emphasis on “Dream”) seemed to promise these men that all would turn out OK.
Women, African Americans, Latinos/as – they are much slower to assume all their wishes will be granted. Some of these pale males were told how gifted they were, how many wonderful things they would accomplish, yet many decades later they see that life appears to have passed them by, leaving a painfully ordinary existence in its trail. This must be the fault of someone darker skinned or female or LGBTQ, no? Don’t they call those immigrant kids “Dreamers” because they snatch dreams from the old white men folk while they sleep?
Your columnists – admittedly very white males and (shocking to our readers, but true) now past the half-century mark – will confess they have benefited greatly from their gender and lack of color. Growing up middle class in Texas’ capital city and raised by college-educated parents certainly didn’t hurt either. But we do recognize that had we grown up in coal country, other rural places or in a family for whom higher education was only an aspiration, our options would have been much narrower.
What we propose to our fellow “old white males” is to repurpose the anger. Rather than aiming to step on the hands of those on the ladder rungs beneath you, ask who’s been denying you the wage growth, health care and opportunity for your children to have a better life?
The wealthiest 1 percent of American households now own 40 percent of the country’s wealth. Did you vote for someone out to change that dynamic or someone whose tax cuts made this disparity worse?
Imagine if unwealthy white males aligned with people like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Would their piece of the economic pie stop shrinking, or at least shrink less quickly? We’re not sure, but we do know that those who seem to hate victimhood are spending a whole lot of time these days complaining about how unfairly life is treating them. We also know that white males continuing to do what they have been doing allows our country’s underclass (many of them included) to be much more easily divided and conquered.
That MAGA hat may be fun to wear, but let’s not forget it was made in China, created by a faux-billionaire who is out for his own enrichment, not yours. It is ultimately meant mostly to distract you from the fact you’re bravely defending a system committing economic homicide against you and your descendants. A spike in death rates among middle-age whites from drug and alcohol poisoning and suicides signals unsustainability of the status quo.
Spending your day forwarding hate-filled Internet memes may be cheaper than the prescriptions you can’t afford and provide a short-term high. But it’s a symptom of disease, not a cure. As the horizon nears, the time for you to change, and us to change our system, grows ever shorter. We propose our fellow older white males re-evaluate the loathing and whom they consider allies.
This originally appeared in the March 16, 2019 Waco Tribune-Herald, where David Gallagher and David Schleicher are on the Board of Contributors.