Tea Party and the Right  
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How the Ayn Rand-Loving Right Is Like a Bunch of Teen Boys Gone Crazy

Flowers are nice, but this Mother's Day, what I really want is for these immature boys to grow up already.

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The essential difference that separates the men and the boys is that men understand and accept that they have an obligation to the greater good, and are willing to unflinchingly step up to that responsibility. They commit to their families. They work to improve their homes and communities, so they're safe and nurturing places for everyone to be. They take the long view as they plan for their kids' future. They look out for people around them who are weaker than they are. And they respect and cherish the co-parents of their children as their equal partners in that effort.

Adult men do not resent being asked to contribute to the collective whole. They know that their actions have consequences, and that they are responsible for the impact of those consequences on the greater good of the community.

As a veteran mom, I understand that it's totally developmentally appropriate for a teenage boy to desperately struggle to separate from his female parent as he begins to find his way toward his adult male identity. But at some point, that oppositional process is supposed to come to an end -- usually in the early- to mid-20s, with a reconciliation and renewed acceptance of Mom as a useful guide in his life. And, if he's straight, there will be a mature acceptance of his obligations to a female partner and their children as well.

A 50-year-old CEO who's still whining because Big Bad Government is asking him to clean up his shit, look after his little brother, and not act like a psychopath in public is flat-out suffering from arrested emotional and social development. He's not a grown man, despite his thousands of employees and millions in salary. He's still that teenager, hating on Mom because she dared to remind him that he's still deeply dependent on the resources of provided by his larger family. And as a mother, I'd invite other moms to join me in calling out this immaturity for what it is, wherever we see it.

What I really want for Mother's Day is for America's Lost Boys -- the libertarian Peter Pans, the free-market feral children, the neo-liberal ramblin' men -- to stop pretending that they're something special and uniquely free because they've managed to disassociate themselves from women's care and women's concerns.

I want respect for the role mothers play -- both in our personal families, and in our national one. I want some recognition of the fact that the issues that are typically dismissed by the masculine fetishists as "women's issues" or "nanny-state meddling" are, in fact, the issues that the future of our country most depends on. And I want the common wealth and the common good -- the health and wealth of our national family -- to get the same kind of loving respect that all mothers are entitled to.

Flowers and chocolate and a nice brunch are appreciated, too. But they're a meaningless insult -- a sop to authority we don't have, and aren't seen as entitled to -- long as we let the 16-year-olds run the household the other 364 days out of the year.

 

Sara Robinson, MS, APF is a social futurist and the editor of AlterNet's Vision page. Follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to AlterNet's Vision newsletter for weekly updates.

 
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