HART: Boys to Men: It is not happening as well as it should

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass

America is full of contradictions. On the day after Thanksgiving, when we resolve to be thankful for what we already have, on Black Friday we stampede each other at stores to buy more stuff.

It sounds counterintuitive to the national narrative that we should be concerned about young males. If you listen to the media, the “patriarchal society” victimizes women. Daily. Men oppress, woman are oppressed. But the warning signs are everywhere that boys, not girls, are in trouble. Our boys are not growing up to become strong men, and this has negative implications for our country. I have called it the “Wussification of America.”

It will be difficult to make this one funny, but here are the data that are out there for anyone willing to pay attention.

1. The Military: A high-ranking Marine officer spoke to a group of us recently. He lamented that recruits are failing both the physical and mental parts of becoming a Marine. Test scores are down 19%, and he blames our government’s overreaction to COVID, kids missing school and our education system failing us. And he says only half of men can now pass the physical exam, down from 75% just 20 years ago. 70% of males are now overweight, compared to 50% of women. I guess that is OK, as long as we do not have to go to war with any country that has hills our boys have to climb. I can see it now: the tough drill sergeant disciplines his men now by barking, “drop and give me one.” In short, young men are failing in body and mind.

You could tell he was put out with the “woke” administration and politically appointed Pentagon overlords. They push the leftist agenda on the one U.S. government function that need not be softened. Transgender folks are catered to more than most would like. Remember our much ballyhooed, transgendered Dr. Rachel Levine, now a 4-Star admiral and Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS? The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy in charge of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition of Nuclear Secrets was a non-binary, trans/cross-dresser who was an airline bag bandit stealing women’s dresses. And, Chelsey Manning was the gender-confused military turncoat. It frustrates the command and the morale of the type of guys who want to serve this country to have this idiocy jammed down their throats. As I have said in the past, soon the Marines’ slogan might be, “The Few, The Proud, The Maureens.”

2. Suicide and Drugs: 77% of suicides are committed by men, mostly white men. 73% of overdose deaths are men. Both have risen 42% since the mid-90’s. Almost all mass shooters are young males. 90% of inmates are men. Maybe we can trace this to the “9th place trophies” given kids who are coddled and have had their expectations unrealistically built up by parents and schools, but the kids are not ready for the reality of the real world out there. Tellingly, Obamacare let them stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. My parents paid for nothing after I turned 18. In short, while sending me out the door, they were nice enough to remind me to write when I got work. I knew that was coming, and was ready for it.

The coddling of bubble wrapped kids is not good for the harsh realities of life. The most important thing a parent (and it is increasingly just one parent – more on that later) can teach children is how to get on in the world on their own.

I read a lot of biographies of successful people. Not a single one had soft parents. All were disciplined in ways we would frown on today. In the black community, I noticed the most successful people had two things in their upbringing: a dad who was strict, and the structure of either the military or the church. These success stories had military dads: Shaquille O’Neil, Snoop Dog, Tiger Woods. Colin Powell was military trained. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas hail from a strong religious upbringing.

3. Parents: One in five young men still live with their parent(s). They are not marrying. Young adult men are more likely to live with their parents than with a spouse. Sperm counts and testosterone levels are way down. Putin called U.S. men “genderless and infertile.” President Xi Jinping openly worries about Chinese boys becoming soft and issued a “Proposal to Prevent the Feminization of Male Adolescents.”

I do not know the answer, but the facts are in front of us. Since the welfare state’s “War on Poverty,” the U.S. has the highest rate of kids raised in a single parent home, 24%. I would argue China’s one child policy has done less damage to its young boys than America’s one parent policy.