One silver lining of COVID-19 (which I have begun referring to as the “Chinese Communist Party virus”) is a handshake—albeit sanitized and distant. It’s a handshake between the private and public sectors as they work in tandem for the survival and care of everyone in our country.
At the helm of this sober, alcohol-based handshake are strong men and women. The stock of each gender retains value in the midst of the current madness.
However, before the crisis, strong private-sector, entrepreneurial American men were demonized and on the radar for extinction through shaming, blaming, framing, and taming. I wouldn’t be surprised if that process begins ramping up again after the threat of the coronavirus ramps down.
The Way It Was and the Way It Will Be Again
Picture a typical weekday from three weeks ago. After coming home from work and other obligations, using all remaining energy for checking on family, assembling a meal, and cleaning up before finally sitting down with a heavy sigh, our hands reach for the TV remote.
Within seconds, we see the Squad—four freshman congresswomen hell-bent on shifting this great nation to the far left. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib have been collectively positioned by the mainstream media and their own self-righteous indignation as the focus of a nation divided over issues that include health care, military funding, foreign relations, and criminal justice.
The Squad scolds us through our TV screens with an unyielding, rhythmic cadence like the Go Go’s from ’80s MTV. They got the beat. According to much of the country, they also got the right answers.
But do they really “got” the right answers from the back of the math book?
The Squad strives to convince us we aren’t worthy of talking about our respective beliefs but should yield whenever they talk about theirs.
Former President Barack Obama told us, “You didn’t build that.” Now, the dependency doctrine that pummeled us for eight years during his presidency has been kicked up several notches to, “You must help certain people build what they want even if it prevents you from building.”
Adding insult to injury: ”You must like it and if you don’t, you’re an ugly, ignorant American slob” is shouted at us with a steady, smug, stern fervor.
Solutions Are in Demand, Blame Is in Supply
The United States is divided into two teams. Both teams believe there’s something broken in contemporary society, there’s an ideology to blame, and this is all very eleventh hour.
We watch our TVs as one team claims that the culprit is an overwhelming lack of cultural sensitivity, ineffective government help, and an unyielding, uneven playing field. The other side selectively shares beliefs that capitalism is freedom of speech, family is a sacred purpose of our existence, and our ability to partake in both is given to us by the grace of God.
The Ace in the Deck
I grew up with steady doses of patriotism from living with World War II-generation grandparents. I grew up protected by the concept of family from the heavy burden of not having a father. The American Dream became accessible through books, TV, and advice. My ace in the deck has always been knowing whom to tap into for advice.
Time for Entrepreneurial Men to Do the Yelling
It’s time for the Quad, not the Squad. How about a pitch-perfect boys’ choir to provide a powerful counterpoint to the aforementioned girl group? The Quad is a proposed quadrupling of four strong American men who are proof that the American spirit thrives.
Being for something, such as strong men, doesn’t mean being against something else, such as strong women.
However, within the very country created by men of strength, strong men are badgered, shamed, and condemned. It’s become fashionable to demonize these men for the assets that are intrinsically woven into the fabric and very survival of our country. Demonizing our strong men is demonizing ourselves.
The suicide, addiction, and other acts of self-mutilation by the male of our species are not a token gesture of “leveling the playing field.” Women and men, boys and girls say soundbite slogans about “male privilege” in an obligatory fashion. To borrow slightly from a strong words-man: A target and a slur by any other name sound just as bigoted.
When earned successes of men are attributed to some magical force in their favor, no matter how hard they work in business or academia, we, as a country, are depriving ourselves of a vital resource, and we are doing this at a time when we need them the most.
The Go To’s, Not the Go Go’s
We need the Go To’s, not the Go Go’s. The opportunity to select your own “quad” is out there in abundance. The following is merely one proposed batch out of many for starters.
The lives and accomplishments of Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and a New York-based philanthropist; Herman Cain, former presidential candidate and past president of Godfather’s Pizza; Clint Eastwood, legendary actor and director; and Carl Icahn, famed activist investor and former Trump adviser, serve as evidence that capitalism is an expression of freedom, and freedom trumps government control.
American entrepreneurial thinking that combines realism, optimism, and patriotism is still legal. It is still legal to see the present as a means of transport from the status quo to potentiality. Let us strive to keep it that way.
Meet my suggested first batch of the Quad:
“The same exact thing that motivates a highly educated person is the same thing that will motivate a poorly educated person. We all want to be respected. We all want to be appreciated. We all want recognition one way or the other, and we respond well to kindness.” —Ken Langone
Direct talk from the guy who learned about life from Sunday gravy dinners would give us insight into growing up the first in the family to go to college, the love of a big Italian Catholic clan, and the support of an involved community.
Langone met his wife while they were both in school. They fell in love and married with complete commitment. Through a strong work ethic and a desire to be part of the financial world, Langone sought out and accepted guidance, and eventually, when ready, put his own guidance to the test and pursued an industry known for risk over corporate security.
“You are the CEO of SELF, and you’re in charge of your dreams. Your only competition is time, and the biggest mistake you can make is to not have a dream that’s yours.” —Herman Cain
Cain has lessons to teach us from a life curriculum of growing up a chauffeur’s son during the final stage of segregation.
Cain taught himself to think like an entrepreneur. By identifying the long-range desired outcome and then naming each obstacle, Cain was able to methodically focus on action steps to solve what he was lacking, while keeping the purpose front and center in his mind.
Racism was defeated with success. The university that rejected his application became the university from which his daughter graduated.
“Maybe I’m getting to the age when I’m starting to be senile or nostalgic or both, but people are so angry now. You used to be able to disagree with people and still be friends. Now you hear these talk shows, and everyone who believes differently from you is a moron and an idiot—both on the right and the left.” —Clint Eastwood
Where actors can rely solely on charisma and looks, Eastwood brings a strong presence that emanates courage of conviction. After his service in the Army, Eastwood attended Los Angeles City College as a business major and sustained himself with multiple jobs, including digging swimming pool foundations.
The same integrity that beams through his eyes on the screen is matched by the actors he directs. As a director, Eastwood uses the film medium to create desperately needed bridges between Rubicon events and factual representations.
“The government shouldn’t run things, because they aren’t trained to run things.” —Carl Icahn
From childhood, Icahn had a strong work ethic, an appetite for figuring things out, and a desire to make money. He paid for college room and board through his poker earnings and relied on his grandpa to hold the money until he needed it.
Before working through the systems of academia, finance, and corporate America, Icahn learned the home front system of middle, middle-class post-war Jewish family mores in the Bayswater section of Queens.
Crucial Times Demand Power, Not Torpor
Strong men are a stabilizing force for our culture. There’s a need for strong men in our society. There’s no reason why the rise of women as equals to men within our economic system and societal culture has to be accompanied by the diminishment of men. What foolish and unnecessary collateral damage that inflicts on our collective future.
Americans should spend some time with the Quad—where the muscle car mentality of old-school America trumps the newly minted plastic sensitivity of today’s self-igniting Teslas.
Pamela Garber, LMHC, is a therapist in private practice in NYC. She is a contributor to professional journals and trade publications, in addition to serving as a guest on radio talk shows.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.