Sunday, March 13, 2011
© 2011, the Institute for Applied Common Sense
For years we thought that we learned more by talking more. However, after much pain and deliberation, we have concluded that some people learn more through listening to others, and we might be members of that group.
Despite some of the drawbacks of riding public mass transit, one has the opportunity to listen to the conversations of others; and learn something.
During a prior adventure on the bus, we learned what is wrong with the American education system. During our most recent trip, we learned what is wrong with the American male, or at least a large number of them.
We previously examined the types of friends college students should consider making in Hanging Out with the Right Crowd, and Hanging Out with the Left Crowd. We also discussed young couples getting past giddiness, tingling, and increased blood flow in There Has to be Something More. Today, we explore some Common Sense thoughts which young women should consider in evaluating their man.
There are times, when the Personal Responsibility Freaks of the Universe (including the Members of this Institute), take this responsibility notion too far. We all have to recognize that personal responsibility is a goal to which we should aspire, not a mechanical device on sale at Wal-Mart. But many environments in which we operate, frequently called “systems,” are more mechanical in nature.
The lady on the bus commenting about men of an earlier time was responding to a man alluding to the kind of relationship where the woman wakes up at 5 am to prepare breakfast for her man, before he heads to work. She suggested that she did not have a problem getting up at that hour, if the man had a job to which he planned to go.
But what if the man doesn’t? And what if the disparity between the wages paid a woman and those paid a man for the same task motivate an employer to hire women instead of men?
At one point in our nation’s history, when we were primarily an agriculture-based economy, a man and a woman might stake a piece of land, and try to make something of it. At a minimum, they generated food sufficient to put on the table, or produced enough offspring to increase that probability. Even if the crops were unsuccessful, at least the man had the opportunity to wake up every day, head to the fields, and try to generate something, along with the illusion that he was a man of some value.
But humankind’s greatest invention, cities, changed all that, initially for the better. When industry was everywhere, and jobs aplenty, men could at least fake some self-esteem, pride, and the ability to take care of their families. But as pointed out in Does Anyone in America Have a Real Job Anymore?, as we transitioned into a service economy, finding those clearly recognizable jobs became more difficult.
There used to be a day when a man with a 2nd or 3rd grade education could still respectfully provide for his family. That’s more problematic today. In many inner cities, the transportation and distribution of drugs have become the local economy, on which many young men depend.
Just last week, we saw one of the most powerful pieces ever produced by CBS’ 60 Minutes. It was the story of the dramatic increase in the number of children below the poverty line in recent years. At this point in our history, roughly 25% of children in America live in families whose incomes fall below the poverty line.
Scott Pelly interviewed the parents and their children, and it was apparent that these people enjoyed a middle class existence for years. Now they live in cheap motels in dangerous neighborhoods. You could see the anguish on Pelly’s face as he interviewed the articulate parents and their bright children.
Were the parents the slackers of the world? Drug addicts and other criminals? Entitlement seekers living off the government? Worthless minorities? Absolutely not. These folks were just like you and the Members of this Institute. Just regular, hard-working, law abiding citizens.
The children were obviously most acutely affected by their change in status. Many of them were ashamed of their fathers. “How could you have let this happen to us?”
So who or what is at fault when a woman perceives that her man, or any man, is no longer a man of value?
And has no worth?
Maybe, just maybe, finding someone with a stable job and prospects for the future might be more important than being in love. Maybe that’s the Personal Responsibility message.
But we as a nation need to figure out how to better deal with this issue, which has long-ranging ramifications.
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