Reporter Editorial: Father’s Day 2020

We have a friend who told us a story about his father.

He and his younger brother were never embraced by him, although his sisters were always hugged. The boys got firm handshakes on greeting and saying goodbye. But then the younger son, after reconciling a disagreement with his father, quickly embraced him. When our friend came home, his father threw his arms around him and gripped him tenderly. He went to his brother later and said, “What did you do to the old man? He can’t keep his arms off me.”

In America, many families have, over a couple of generations, seen a sea change in how masculinity is defined. The changes in the way fathers have taken active roles in raising children — not all fathers, but many, compared to not so long ago — have increased families’ emotional well-being. The change in attitude is also a boon to the men, bringing them closer to their children.

Old ways of living die hard, however. The Oxford Dictionary last year reported that one of the most looked-up words was “toxic,” and one of the words most associated with toxic, according to the dictionary, was “masculinity.”

We see the last gasps of this idea of man-as-caveman, for example, in leaders who refuse to wear masks because in their absurd logic, it makes them look weak. Better to infect others with a deadly virus than have other manly men call you a wimp.

But the words of Bob Dylan still apply to men who sense times are changing: “Please heed the call/ Don’t stand in the doorway/ Don’t block up the hall/ For he who gets hurt/ Will be he who has stalled …”

Happy Father’s Day.

Demo in the Center

The demonstration in the Center last Sunday, June 14 was a success in many ways, achieving all the objectives of its young organizers: raise the consciousness of the Island about racism; protest police brutality; stand in solidarity with fellow Americans across the country demanding change; and keep the protest peaceful with respect for everyone.

One other remarkable fact, commented on by Supervisor Gerry Siller who attended the rally, was that he didn’t see a single person marching who wasn’t wearing a mask.

Although there was little social-distancing practiced — but less a need for it in the open air — Islanders took to heart, as they have with other protocols to protect against the virus, the need to wear masks.

A small thing some would say, but a tribute to citizens who take the issues of the day seriously.