The crisis our beloved armed forces is going through is deeper than suicide. I believe that this crisis revolves around what it means to be a man.
If we look back through history at some of western civilizations greatest men we can see how masculinity has remained pretty constant.
Alexander the Great may have been the first to establish the guidelines of masculinity; this kid created an empire by his mid-thirties. And you know why men followed him? He wasn't just smart and tactically brilliant. He was a bad ass mutha f",?!er.
During the Siege of Multanese Citadel in 325BC, Alexander got annoyed at the pace of the assault, grabbed a ladder, scaled the outer wall, jumped down inside the city which inspired his men to follow, killed the Multanese leader, and then almost died from an arrow wound.
Sounds incredible, right? It's no more incredible than the heroics of Chesty Puller. I'll let his quotes speak for himself:
"They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can't get away from us now"
"We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them."
"Great. Now we can shoot at those bastards from every direction."
"Where do you put the Bayonet?" Haha, God love him. That "put me up front and bring on hell attitude" defined and still defines the Marine Corp. I don't say this often, but......OOOH RAH.
How about Neil Armstrong? What kinda guts do you think it took to be the first to try something literally out of this world? "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"
Courage and humility. Rest in peace, hero.
Ahhh the good ole days. It's not the same now, is it? Rules of engagement. Military sensitivity training. Drone warfare.
The way I see it, every aspect of male societal domination is falling; therefore, you have two options: Fight for the old days or embrace the future.
I'm not much for looking backwards so I've completely embraced this masculinity crisis. I consider myself a NeoBadass.
When I told my wife this she rolled her eyes and told me to take the trash out.
I'll never forget how it was when we first started dating. I was clueless as to how to behave. I would do things that seemed perfectly normal to me yet completely wrong to her.
In my mind I kept imagining that things would get better if she would just change. Hahaha. Things didn't get great until I did.
I always talk about military training being reapplied to the civilian environment, well another way to evolve is to remember your PALS.
Remember the dumbass privates you had to deal with in basic? Well, after you realized they had to deal with you too, you became more PATIENT with their flaws.
You ACCEPTED them for who they were and trusted them as a battle buddy.
When you went down range with them and they went on leave, got hurt or killed, you realized you missed them and although you didn't admit it to yourself you LOVED them.
When you got home, and the dreams came and sleep disappeared you cried for your fallen brothers and you realized you would have SACRIFICED your own life for theirs.
We don't talk about this stuff as a society. We talk in absolutes. You are a hawk or a dove. Republican or Democratic.
Look how far that's gotten us.
What made Alexander, Chesty and Neil so exceptional was their ability to move forward when others couldn't or wouldn't.
I challenge you to do the same.
This post was guided by the 25th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba , the founder and creator of the Martial Art, Aikido.