There was a time, should the media of my youth be believed, when a man insulted another man’s wife at his peril. A barroom fight, or perhaps a sober brawl, would ensue. Such chivalrous days are likely over and the internet makes nasty comments so easy to disseminate (how terribly masculine!) for all the world to see. Hiding behind assumed names, avatars, or delusional fictions, you can feel like a big man by saying unkind things to a person you’ll never meet. Such is the world of Trump’s America. Although he may think himself divine, Trump didn’t invent Twitter or the internet. Neither did Al Gore. Still, the distasteful political rancor leading up to the midterm elections led to a man (I presume) trolling my wife behind a mask of Facebook anonymity.
It’s hard to tell how to react. Feminism doesn’t always want a man to step in and defend, but we’re all raised with tales of princesses and those who honor them. Having been raised by a woman with an absentee husband, I have nothing but admiration for strong women. Although categorized as a “white man,” I can’t see my own brand as better than any other. We are all human beings, and with some rare exceptions, we deserve respect. Like all evolved creatures, however, I sometimes reach deeply back into my primate roots and the tropes of my childhood begin to simmer. Who trolls another man’s wife over politics? Who doesn’t stop to consider that every woman is a daughter and many are mothers and sisters? If you want to pick on someone, well, you know how the saying goes.
The midterm elections brought some much-needed balance to a government way off kilter. There are still trolls under the bridges, however. The storybooks tell how knights vanquish trolls and even the liberated male can’t help but imagine himself on that proud steed. What kind of man takes a keyboarded cheap-shot at another man’s wife? The quality of his discourse speaks volumes. Those on the left believe in equality and can’t respond in kind. It is, ironically, a far more biblical response than trolling on the right.
I’ve lost readers of this blog due to politics. Some of my former readers have even told me so. I appreciate their candor. We can’t all agree, I know. What we can do, however, is be civil. Those who put themselves in elected office know that they are opening themselves to criticism. It is very hard to slander a United States president, in the words of the Good Book, “how the mighty are fallen.” Those with thin skin should think twice (or even once) before running for the most criticized office in the world. Most, until now, knew that what they said would set the tone for the nation. We’re all entitled to an opinion, and, for the time being, are free to express it. Still, I’d think twice before insulting another man’s wife. But then, I’ve always been a hopeless idealist.