Standing

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22 January/Posted by aaronplaat

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Throughout my adventures in Uruguay, I’ve kept an eye on the news and happenings going on inside of the United States. Right now, it seems like a stretch to call them “united” in the post-election state of our union.

I was very encouraged to see the collective millions of women (and supportive men) that have taken to the streets to let the world know that misogyny, homophobia, and bigotry are not acceptable views to have in world that claims tolerance, while it sweep its’ hatred under the rug of misinformation and ignorance.

As a man, I’ve seen many spectrums of masculinity in my lifetime. While there are many shades of this interpretation, one of the most common correlations is the notion of “divide and conquer” – a mindset that believes itself to be superior to others, and thus excusable for the bad behavior that ensues through its’ actions.

Growing up in a religious environment, I was used to hearing the idea that man was created to have ‘dominion’ over the earth. Driving a car, safely, is quite different than taking a sledgehammer to the windshield…of your own car, and others. In many ways, this idea of ‘dominion’ has taken more of an approach to ‘domination’ than care for the planet and those who inhabit it.

During this time, there are likely going to be many pointed fingers and voices of discontentment. I believe this to be entirely appropriate, as far too many minorities have taken the back seat to an elitist mindset that believes them to be less-than-equal.

How does one respond to huge problems, created by a mindset that perpetuates violence, removal-of-rights, and propagation of hatred?

Through reversal of the hatred – loving, instead of returning fire.

“An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind”

Last year, I sat down with a couple I’ve gotten to know over the years. They recently had a beautiful baby boy, who seems to defy the limits of how beautiful a baby can be. While playing with the boy, the father rolled a football towards him and said “When you get older, I’m going to teach you how to play football….like a man.”

“What if he wants to take ballet?” I asked.

In many ways, masculinity has hidden behind a tough-guy mask of dominance, power, superiority, and bigotry.

Yet, many of the men I’ve gotten to know, seem to still maintain a small inner child that cries because they’ve shed their passions and loves for what society deems is ‘right’ for men to do.

In this world, there’s little room for love, emotion, or passion. These are the things that give colorful vibrance to our existence.

“Never give a sword to a person who can’t dance” is a favorite quote of mine, as it embodies the spirit of balance between passion and humility.

I wonder, how many wars could have been prevented with a conversation between enemies; each realizing they perhaps wanted the same thing for their homelands and people.

I’m proud to see the world is saying “enough is enough” towards hatred, lies and bigotry. It brings great joy to see the New York Times is fact-checking our politicians, unafraid to outline the lies and propaganda being spread from those in elected office.

My hope for this year is that the peaceful protests form solidarity and unity, rather than violence and division.

As a man, I’m proud to know, and love, incredible women that inspire me, and are unafraid to stand for their values, beliefs, and lifestyles. I stand with you.

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