International Men’s Day | Letter

International Men’s Day was Nov. 19 and perhaps a word or an ear should be lent or bent on their behalf. I can fill several pages with statistics about men in our society occupying the majority of homelessness, suicide, victims of violence, and in fact, every facet of the worst experiences life has to offer.

Men pay the most for the freedom and liberties we all enjoy, whether it’s in workplace accidents and fatalities, military losses, or in income taxes and premiums. Men suffer twice as much in several cancers, in shorter life spans, and in what is called the empathy gap: where their suffering is obscured or differed and in many examples outright ignored. Men identify themselves by an ability to carry the heaviest burdens with resolve and selflessness and this is certainly the natural evolution of biology and behavior.

There is little question that all of us alive today is living proof of an unbroken succession of successful fathers (and mothers) dating back through the ages, through famines and disasters, both natural and self-imposed, all the way back to the amoeba or the garden of Eden. As an example, in the earliest American experience, 90 percent of the Jamestown settlers did not survive their first winter. Women were prohibited from emigrating England to the “new world” until after safety and provisions had been secured. The call, “Women and children first!” originated from a maritime event that saw no female casualties and not a single male survivor, several years before the loss of Titanic.

It is then not so surprising that when men are removed from sacred institutions like marriage and fatherhood the absence is painful. Of the 27 latest mass shootings, 26 were carried out by males whose home life was fatherless.

Most juvenile offenders, most unwanted teen pregnancies, teen drug abuse, homeless youth, all have the common ground of fatherlessness.

To all the men I can only say thank you. To the women, I say, you’re welcome.

Dean Hodges

San Juan Island