JD McGuigan feels there is a war on a group in our society that has no leader. He is willing to step up to the job.
War on drugs.
War on terror.
War on Christmas.
Do you notice anything that’s missing?
Many groups feel that they are “systematically” or “institutionally” oppressed. Each of them have spokespersons on the frontlines leading the conversation, and all of the above are familiar catch phrases that anyone with a television probably recognizes.
We can certainly debate the validity or lack thereof of the aforementioned “wars” that are dividing people in our society. However, there is no question that all of the above get plenty of mainstream attention, and conversations are constantly being had on a national platform.
An argument can be made that the reason some of these wars have out-lived their shelf lives is because of ineffective leadership. A few of these wars have been going on for several decades, and we are worse off than when they started. The problems are not solved because ineffective leadership can render an entire movement meaningless, regardless of how powerful the substance of the argument.
This brings us to the relevancy in the context of what can be called the forgotten demographic. There is no mainstream perception of a War on Dads, despite a steep neglect that is taking place. It is literally “the conversation no one else is having”.
As recently as Father’s Day 2015, a controversy was spurred on the internet when toilet paper company Angel Soft hijacked the holiday in order to make a political statement, by pandering to single mothers who were “pulling double parental duty.” Besides insulting the intelligence of single mothers, the hypocrisy was quite obvious, as there was no acknowledgement of single fathers just a month earlier on Mother’s Day. The backlash was strong, indicating that an international movement to re-empower men may finally be beginning to bubble. As the conversation gains steam, it is important to settle for nothing less than a fair shake once we begin to reach a more mainstream audience.
To do this, it is imperative we identify the kind of reputation we want to have when our premise finally goes mainstream, by putting the right people on television, social media, and radio to represent us. Otherwise, we leave ourselves open to the idea that we are misogynists. The mainstream media is very powerful, and every wing has a confirmation bias.
The key to winning this inevitable national debate will be to employ effective leadership who can address these concerns in a cogent, coherent manner. Our goal must be to change hearts and minds.
The movement of men and principled women fighting for the rights of fathers is largely in its infancy stage, and its activism methodology is still largely undefined. We should recognize that hurling insults in the comment section of a YouTube video or debating a feminist in a bar is not going to help at all. Not only does the problem still exist in the morning, but we leave ourselves open to said exploitation and all we have afterwards is more alienation. Our efforts are better served elsewhere.
The way to fight injustice is by being solution oriented. This is why I like Rollo Tomassi of “The Rational Male” so much. He is a popular blogger and author who uses a third-person style of academic writing to outline our concerns in a scientific, nearly irrefutable fact-based manner. He’d be a good candidate to make our case for a full hour on an episode of 60 Minutes.
I would love to be a prominent voice of this movement going forward, because I know this pain better than anybody. I lost my father suddenly last year – on his 56th birthday mind you. He was a kind, loving, gentle man with legions of inner demons he could not conquer. After a long separation, I moved in with him to be by his side 15 months before his untimely passing, because I began to understand the severity of the problem over the phone. Since I couldn’t save him, all I can do now is honor his memory.
I also have an uncle who is currently out of his own home due to his pending divorce. He has three daughters. He will be paying 6 years of alimony, without custody of his daughters. This miscarriage of justice cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, my uncle is far from alone.
To the fathers separated from their children by no fault of their own, and the fathers currently in jail over crippling child-support orders, you are not forgotten.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this disconnect started, but we will not rest until fathers as a demographic are collectively redeemed, uplifted, and resurrected.
As for the next generation, by making smart decisions, developing your critical thinking skills, protecting your assets, and screening your relationships thoroughly you can avoid most of the societal traps and personal afflictions that blindsided our fathers and grandfathers. Our sons and grandsons are counting on us.
Photo: Flickr/Hartwig HKD