The GOP has devolved into a 'grotesque version of masculinity': conservative columnist
Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin’s opinion of the modern-day Republican Party is nothing short of abysmal, but her editorial in Monday’s Washington Post was perhaps her most damning indictment to date of the GOP’s pathetic state.
“In their head-spinning transition from apologists for Russian President Vladimir Putin to proponents of World War III, Republicans reveal not only their utter lack of principle but also their obsession with toxic masculinity. Winston Churchill’s favored saying ‘The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet’ neatly sums up the Republicans’ abrupt shift,” Rubin began. “Both expressions of wish fulfillment — admiring Russian ruthlessness and going to war — are features of a party in constant need of masculine affirmation.”
Former President Donald Trump’s joke over the weekend about disguising American fighter planes as Chinese to trigger a war between China and Russia – along with Republican United States Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham’s call for Putin’s assassination last Friday – was the mere tip of the short stump that Republicans consider “manhood" to be.
"This is not a new phenomenon. As the saying went during Trump’s administration, cruelty — or the raw assertion of power over the powerless — was the point. It still is. Whether they are separating children from parents, spying on and infringing on women who do not want to be compelled to complete their pregnancy, or threatening to take away transgender children whose parents seek appropriate medical care, manliness manifesting as bullying has been the Republicans’ defining feature of late,” Rubin wrote.
“And they’re using the full force of the state to impose their will. All to enforce the frantic assertion — as Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) laid out in a ludicrous 11-point platform — that ‘men are men, women are women.’ Does anyone remember a national party running on such a naked appeal to masculine insecurity?” she continued.
Yet even those medievalesque policy proposals pale in comparison to the primordial instincts championed by Trump’s Make America Great Again cult.
“Excusing war crimes, egging on police to injure suspects, defending White vigilantes, and standing by men accused of abuse, Trump gave the MAGA crowd the vicarious thrill of being tough guys without having to leave their living room couches,” Rubin said. “Then there was his delight in watching thugs attack the Capitol and threaten the lives of lawmakers and his own vice president on Jan. 6, 2021. These were the men he ‘loved.’”
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is another stooge for the lamentations from men who seem to search for things with which to anger themselves.
Following the Capitol insurrection, Hawley went on to "sell a mug depicting his fist pump to the Jan. 6 mob," and "his speech decrying that 'traditional masculine virtues' are under attack illustrated precisely how masculine insecurity masquerades as manliness," Rubin noted. "Declaring that the left has been systematically destroying masculinity and Republicans will stage a 'revival of strong and healthy manhood in America' might sound comical (if not an admission that their male audience is made up of a bunch of wimps). But in today’s GOP, this is red meat for the MAGA crowd."
Of course, Trump has boastfully established himself the standard-bearing ringleader of this utterly bizarre and self-defeating circus of (overwhelmingly White) male fragility.
“Palling around with thugs including Putin allowed him to acquire a sense of toughness by association. His and other Republicans’ reverence for authoritarians (the Saudi rulers, Kim Jong Un, Recep Tayyip Erdogan) and for the Russian army (!) exposes their cartoon-like conception of manliness,” Rubin explained. “It’s no mere coincidence that one of the factors that closely correlates with support for the MAGA cult hero is belief in ‘traditional’ gender roles. The Public Religion Research Institute’s 2020 values survey found, ‘Majorities of Republicans agree with both the statement that society punishes men just for acting like men (60% agree) and that society has become too soft and feminine (63% agree).’”
And while “the press, historians and political observers have rightly focused on the MAGA crowd’s fixation with establishing America as a White, Christian nation,” Rubin concluded that “we should not forget that part of that formula involves a grotesque version of masculinity — one that preys on those perceived as vulnerable at home and sends the United States careening from one dangerous and extreme national security position to another.”
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