Malignant masculinity kills, especially when our political leaders champion machismo and take pride in bullying people.
Elliott Rodgers killed six people and injured 14 others by gunshot, stabbing and ramming a car into people deliberately. He suffered from involuntary celibacy, angry that young women would not submit to him.
Darrell Brooks was out on bond for domestic abuse and was just emerging from yet another domestic violence incident when he floored his SUV into a holiday parade, killing five people and injuring 48.
Omar Mateen killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, propelled by anger that had caused his former wife to leave him after a few months of regular physical beatings.
Despite these examples of grievance-minded males doing harm when they could not get their way with women and “sissies,” political leaders like Donald Trump exalt machismo. Trump’s alpha-male persona is best reflected in his oft-quoted threat: “Anybody who hits me, we’re going to hit back ten times harder.”
Conservative Senator Josh Hawley recently said in a TV interview that the left was telling men that their “masculinity is inherently problematic,” which concerned him so much that he planned to make masculinity a signature political issue.
Governor Ron DeSantis delighted Trump supporters by forcibly shutting down vaccine and mask-wearing mandates that school districts and Disney World had adopted to protect children and grandparents from the COVID-19 pandemic. On his website, supporters can purchase DeSantis-branded golf balls with the slogan “Florida’s Governor has a pair.”
Not to be outdone, DeSantis’ rival governor, Greg Abbott, barred Texas counties from implementing mandates intended to protect the public from COVID-19. The result of this bullying has been deadly, with Florida experiencing 61,147 COVID-19 deaths and Texas 73,831 COVID-19 deaths to date. If these two states had emulated California and achieved its COVID-19 death rate of 1,875 per million population, Florida (2,847 deaths per million) would have experienced 20,876 fewer deaths, and Texas (2,546 deaths per million) would have experienced 19,464 fewer COVID-19 deaths. For these conservatives, no sacrifice (by others) is too great in their efforts to restore Trump-like machismo to the White House.