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“DISTINCTIVE OF MANHOOD”
by Doretta Wildes, ©2013, blogging at DorettaWildes
(Apr. 25, 2013) — When I was growing up, the men in my perimeter were graduates of the school of life. Farmers, builders, lumber yard owners who labored hard. One was a barber. Most were veterans and, of these, the one who won the purple heart kept it quiet. We didn’t find out about his WWII record until his death, simply because he didn’t want to talk about it.
Good men know that war is hell and never glorify it. They glorify something much greater than themselves, the universe or love or God or a great idea, such as those hashed out in Philadelphia during the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
Good men are slow to fight, but when faced with an opportunist, a liar, a sociopath or tyrant, will do what’s necessary.
In literature and art, heroes are rife, but really good men are hard to find. There was Atticus Finch–remember him? In Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” he defends an innocent man accused of rape, and, despite cogency and truth, loses. The defendant, Tom Robinson, is murdered afterward when trying to escape from prison. Not a happy story. But stories about doing the right thing seldom are.
Nevertheless, in real life, good men come forward anyway. By “good” I don’t mean nice, polite, clean or physically virtuous. Not necessarily pure in their habits or speech, they are pure in their intent. That’s what counts in the end because life is such a messy business, the heart alone remains the true scale on which our acts can be weighed.
Here are a few good men that last week’s horrific events brought to the surface. I mean “men” literally. I’m leaving the women out of it this time, not because there aren’t a lot of good women out there, but because there are some things that only a good man can do in a way that’s distinctive of manhood, and I’m honoring that here.
To Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, a decorated war veteran, who was arrested for taking a walk with his lawfully owned rifle for no reason other than the whims of the local police, and who has faced down humiliation and retaliation by speaking out.
To good men.