Long time Men’s Rights Activist Steven DeLuca, thankfully, is a member of the National Coalition For Men. His insightful, heartfelt, and inspiring writing is the stuff of greatness. Over the decades it is activists like Mr. DeLuca who keep truth alive and the lies of ideology at bay. While Memorial Day 2010 has come and gone “Memorial Day isn’t for the living”should be bookmarked for reading again in May 2011… greatness is not necessarily insightful, heartfelt, or inspiring, but DeLuca always is, as is his tribute to the military men and women who have given much or all of their lives to us…
Arlington National Cemetery
My mother is not close to me or my twin sister. I left home decades ago at age 17 and we have barely spoken since. She recently told me that I have a bad memory. I wish that were true. It’s not. My short-term memory barely works but for important things I work at it and remember. There are some things I wish I could forget. I have a 100% disability from military duty, police work, not war. My emotions and thinking are sometimes not clear from nights of sleeping poorly, from intrusive thoughts. I spent decades living untreated and undiagnosed from military duty in the 60’s and I suspect that too many concussions from boxing, karate, and prison fights have made things more difficult.. It’s not my memory that is a problem as much as being distracted when trying to learn, or being anxious. Truth is, like the man turned into a newt in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, “I got bettah” over the last few years. Military benefits and therapy helped.
I am better thanks to years of therapy and the support of veterans from a few of our wars. My brain isn’t as good as it should be and sometimes I am too tired or distracted (FUBAR) to find the right files in my brain. I have good days where it works well - or at least I think so. I hope while writing this that this is one of those days. Memorial Day is a good day to discuss memories the good, the bad, and the ugly.
My dreams are as vivid as the day. I woke early this morning dreaming of boys riding into war in a Helicopter. I felt as if I were there. The start of tears looking at boys on their way to die woke me. I have watched soldiers die. One had a day to go before he went home with his mama waiting to have a party for him. Going away party, booze and jeeps at high speed on an airstrip. Didn’t work out for him or his friends.
My soldiers in the dream are like the soldiers of most Americans. They kind’a, sort’a look alike. Same clothing, same hair cut, same helmets. Just a group of vague looking men or like one lesbian feminist said of all men “They all look alike to me”. Those vague images that take away male individuality are part of news stories that do the same.
We hear 28 died in a mine, but we don’t even say 28 men, we might say 28 coal minors. We say 8 soldiers died today. Not eight MALE soldiers, just 8 soldiers. If a bombing kills “just men” we give a number, “32″ died, but if women die we say “including 2 women” because women dying make the story more “special”. MRA’s (Men’s rights activists) have noticed this for years. In my dream I got closer and noticed each face more closely, so young. Too young to die which is what I thought of the “boys” who got out of basic training with me in 1966? Silly boys, funny boys, some mean and some kind boys but all trying to be tough soldiers. I was a tough soldier. I grew up as a tough boy.
Yesterday I finished reading MATTERHORNby Karl Marlantes. Christina Robb, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of ”This Changes Everything” wrote of MATTERHORN: ”Unforgettable…A beautifully crafted novel of unrivaled authenticity and power, filled with jungle heroism, crackerjack inventiveness, mud, blood, brotherhood, hatred, healing, terror, bureaucracy, politics, unfathomable waste, and unfathomable love.”
Bad dreams with military themes are part of my life. About a dozen years ago after a couple of periods of homelessness, close to suicide, I was diagnosed and treated for damage done in the army decades earlier. Social Services forced me to talk to the VA if I wanted a place to live and food stamps for me and my children. If not for children suicide seemed a manly option rather than live a life a failure. I got help. There are vets on the streets that deserve the benefits I have which would dramatically improve their lives but they are too proud, or too messed up to get it.
I heard a woman once say “Veterans are a drain on ‘the system’” She doesn’t know that she would not have had the safe and comfortable life she has had if not for tens of thousands of dead men from many wars. She would argue that men make war forgetting that in Viet Nam it was the male and female voters who sent boys to war, boys too young to vote. Voting age was 21 then. How many American women never voted? Add up the lost votes of 58,000 men over 50 years, how many votes is that? Toss in Korea, WWII when it comes to lost votes by gender it’s not that different. Both genders pay a price for gender and I hope you didn’t read that here first.
MATTERHORN had me dreaming of helicopters and men riding in them, dropped in to dangerous areas, scared to death, watching their friends get blown apart, waiting, and waiting, and waiting to die. Living in filthy clothes, leeches and pus, bad food, sleeping in the mud in dirty clothing and being rained on, months of it. Equal work for equal pay is a mantra at the White House, women vote, men kiss ass for votes. Do civilians even know what military men get paid? Or what they risk? Men work hard for their money and yet women’s groups say men are unfairly paid and they want our taxes for their “special” needs. Obama and the leaders of NOW want women to get equal pay for equal work. Well, we all want that, always have, always will. But that’s not what NOW really wants. They want more pay for jobs with less risk, fewer health issues, shorter hours, better working conditions and they want it NOW [With two screws in my right shoulder and one in my left hip I could move more dirt in a wheel barrow in two hours than could the president and vice president of the National Organization of Women put together in that same two hours - and that’s despite cancer three years ago and despite being 64 years old next week. (I hope they take me up on that bet if they read this. They likely don’t believe it’s true.) These women have no idea how much physical work a man can do OR how much men’s health is affected from men’s work… and yet it is NOW that is in charge of gender studies and it’s NOW and the AAUW (American Association of University Women) who, while lying their asses off… and they know it… have the ear of the president, a president who wants to give them equal pay for “similar” not the same work. It will be NOW who will teach us what “similar” means. It is women teaching men and women the value of women and the lack of value of men who run the show. Too many thoughts competing for these pages with Memorial Day coming closer.
When I was in college in the 70’s, after the army, feminist teachers were enraged that while living “in a man’s world” their long dead great grandmothers didn’t get to vote.
They said “Even Black Men Got to Vote!” - women being so low dontcha know that even blacks were held in higher esteem. They were whining about not taking shop classes (I took home economics in 1964, if they wanted to take shop classes they could have). Well, black men were dying in our wars and some of our forefathers decided that if they were dying for our country voting was something they had earned. Men are into being fair; most of us. If men really wanted to oppress women, if that was our nature, then why did we men, once the roads were paved, the streets and work place safer, “allow” women to join us instead of just keeping them bare foot and PG. Did women “overthrow us” with violent battles for shared power. To hear feminist tell us that’s how it was. Brave women dying in the streets fighting their male oppressors in hand to hand combat. Sure, it took a generation or two. Men’s rights groups have been fighting for consideration for our sons for three generations now it isn’t happening.
If we men are so tough and oppressive then why do MOST men just roll over today and give feminists any amount of funding they want based on any lie about men they tell, lies about: Violence Against Women or Unequal Pay or “Hostile Hallways” in public schools. It’s easy to find that these are lies, even some well-educated and powerful women admit it, but it doesn’t find its way to journalists or educators or politicians. Any man who speaks up is shouted down as a fool. I wonder sometimes if making sure that our son’s can’t read is a feminist plot to make it even easier to control us than we are.
In the helicopter of my dream I was watching the posturing of young boys going to war.
Trying to look calm when they are not. I know how that feels. Karl Marlantes, author of MATTERHORN, smart enough to graduate from Yale and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford was a Marine in Viet Nam. Navy Cross, Bronze star, two purple hearts, ten air medals and more. Only such a well educated, man who was also a warrior could write this book and I suppose only men and women who have been in the military could feel it enough to have his stories enter their dreams and become so real too. This author knows how it feels to pretend that you don’t want to just run home and be safe with your family while you bravely go forward to protect that of what you are not sure of while facing death.
When I woke from the dream still seeing soldiers faces, faces of young boys I once knew, I thought about my son age 25. At age 22 I was a military police Sgt.; at 25 he will soon be too old if they start drafting boys again. I was next to my wife, still sleeping as the sun came up and after I had let my miniature poodle pup onto our bed. I stayed in bed so my wife, a hard working woman, could sleep longer while my puppy slept head on my shoulder. Sun softy in the window. I thought they both looked beautiful and how lucky I am but I also thought about the dream, and children and war and life and Memorial Day.
I thought about how I had met my wife when my son was 5 and starting Kindergarten in her co-workers class. She, a school district administrator now, was teaching Kindergarten then. I recall seeing her standing on a chair putting ABC letters over a black board - athletic and feminine body - watching her and thinking we should go on a date. Dating sounds so dated today in our “hook-up” culture. Well, hooking up was part of what I was thinking then too. I was taking my beautiful son to his first kindergarten class after divorcing his mother the new school district librarian who moved to Northern CA from Boulder CO. My wife today, single then, asked the other Kindergarten teacher about me when she saw me taking my son to class. Her co-worker said “He’s bad news”.
I am pretty sure there were many times when she wished she had taken that warning to heart but - truth is - many women like bad boys even if we don’t turn out to be great husbands.
My children’s mom had just started as the district librarian and I guess she had spread the word “Bad News” because what? She wanted to make sure that this X vet with employment and marital problems couldn’t get a job in a small town. [Best interests of “our” children?] I can’t blame her, I was a mess, caused her a lot of pain, and this was years before I was diagnosed and treated for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and related problems. Neither of us understood my “issues” It took me decades to forgive myself and she still hasn’t. Well, my children have forgiven me for a few things, I did alright considering. I know that and so do they.
I ended up “dating” and eventually marrying, divorcing, marrying, divorcing and marrying my wife a third time over the last 20 years. Therapy started in the middle of our second marriage when I was homeless again. Therapy took a few years to overcome a lot of damage. Today we are “in love” with each other, life is good. I want other veterans too proud to go for help or too messed up to just “do it”. You deserve it. Do it now.
Soon after we first met I helped my wife with an event for children and I, a failed artist among other failures volunteered to paint children’s faces. It’s not often a man can be with small children in such an intimate way, not like mothers, or teachers. I would look into their eyes as I painted their “requests” on their faces. Girls wanted to be princesses and doctors, school teachers and nurses. The boys often wanted to be Super Heroes. I painted princess faces and Super Hero faces and nurses too. Some are soldiers today, others nurses, and so it goes.
Eight women died in Viet Nam. Eight. Just 8. And each of them has as much value as each of the men. The women didn’t have to be there. The volunteered to go help their brothers who were often drafted and forced to be there. Those women are my sisters and heroes. More than 58, 000 men, many were boys and too young to vote, died in a war that American men AND women supported and voted for. Hundreds of thousands of men, decades later, still live with injuries from that war while we send our boys to war, again, today.
The women of the National Organization of Women tell us, incorrectly, that females get paid less per hour for “equal” work. They will tell us that the reason that they refer to “Domestic Violence Victims” as female and the perpetrators as male is because it’s overwhelmingly so and they don’t want to be “gender neutral” to accurately show men’s brutality. This is a huge lie, but you have to research DV to learn that and most people are too busy. Feminist groups also say women are paid less - another lie [Read “Why Men Earn More” or Google same] but then they will speak of “our men and women killed in battle” as if 8 to 58,000 is equal, because they want language to be “gender neutral” so that girls won’t feel slighted or think that girls can’t be brave. We teach out daughters and sons that girls and boys can be brave but that only boys and men are violent in American families. We call such teaching “gender studies” and claim that gender issues are only women’s issues.
Memorial day, I think of the “boys” I was in the army with as my orders for Viet Nam were cancelled because I had qualified for officer’s candidate school. Today I wonder which boy was hoping he was headed to Hawaii yet he ended up getting my orders for Viet Nam. I ended up in Korea for 14 months instead. Lucky me. Well, just like civilian male jobs, there are army jobs besides war that are dangerous.
I think of not just soldiers on Memorial Day but of the many male bodies and souls crushed or killed in work too. 95 % of the work place deaths are male but you won’t hear that in “gender studies”. I will be 64 next week and almost all of the dead people I have heard of among my peers are dead men. They are dead from work, or war, or suicide or preventable health issues and yet we expand women’s national health programs from five to ten and we still have none for men. Women tell us that we MEN don’t care about women’s health when they only outlived us by a year in 1920 and now it’s 6 and it’s mostly male taxes paying for their heavily used medical programs.
We discuss “Equal pay for equal work” and I read about dead coal miners dying by the box car load in China, America, and Russia. So many men from my generation are dead from work, or war, or suicide from the stress of male lives while the women of NOW tell us that only women pay a price for gender.
I loved looking at those innocent children’s faces when I was painting them, making them smile. Making them laugh. I wonder how many had their dreams come true. They are old enough now to be nurses or Super Heroes. I read in the paper that our warriors from our current wars are dying. They nurses live but they are at least aware of the price men pay and they suffer too. I hope those children who wanted to be nurses or super heroes are not dying in Iraq - dying for oil.
In the book MATTERHORN the author mentions Chesty Puller. Marines know who he is but my children, my wife, my college teachers and most friends do not know his name. This Memorial Day learn his name, and read his son’s Pulitzer winning biography “Fortunate Son” about his experiences in Viet Nam. As a 22 year-old military police Sgt., I left the army in 1969 the year the music group Clearance Clearwater Revival sang “Fortunate son” [I ain’t no senators son is part of that song] “Fortunate son” became the title of Lewis Puller’s book. Chesty was the most decorated marine ever. Lewis B Puller Jr., wanted to be a hero like his dad and he was a hero but the price was too much…
I didn’t know Lewis Puller’s story until the early 90’s when I was the suicidal father of two young children and suffering from PTSD from child abuse and military violence. I read “Fortunate Son” after finding it in a second hand book store. I saw Lewis Puller’s photo later and I saw him in the news and on TV - I saw a boy who had been blown up, badly injured, suffering with PTSD and physical pain, drug withdrawal, way too many operations, and yet there he was, years later, as a man in his wheel chair, with the president, his children smiling behind him, and a fucking Pulitzer prize to boot. Why couldn’t I be a man like him when he suffered so much more? Keep going. One more day. If he could do it I should be able to as well. My hero, Lewis B Puller. Go marines. I was a tough army guy, a tough boy, a tough man, I had children, I couldn’t just shot myself when men like Puller - dare I say, pulled through, with colors.
When I read Chesty Puller’s name in MATTERHORN I realized my wife and her liberal and two pro-feminist brothers, all three educators would not know either Chesty or Lewis Puller’s names. They might know that women got the vote after black men. They would hear the false claim that women get paid less for the same work and maybe believe it but they don’t know the true statistics about how many BOYS and men die in work or war or from preventable health issues or suicide. . If women died in such numbers we would all know because we would all be taught to care. But hey, men’s lives, whatever, there are more where they came from.
It’s no more likely that MATTERHORN will end up in gender studies class than did the book FORTUNATE SON despite the Pulitzer. Feminist are not interested in the price men pay for gender. I learned that when I was invited to speak as a father taking care of his children in a program to help girls “Reach for the Stars.” I was there with my three-year-old son to convince boys that diaper changing while your wife gets a Masters was a great idea for them. Boys were being taught that this was the least they could do to “make up for” eons of oppression of women by their forefather. What I learned was that the boys would support any work or non work option their wives might want but not one female student was willing to support a man. And they didn’t see that this might affect wage earnings down the road.
I asked those high school kids why all their “gender issues” were only “women’s issues” and only by “feminist women”. They had no idea how many men died in the work place for an extra buck an hour which was often given to women. History suggests that the Viet Nam was misguided but that wasn’t Puller’s fault. These high school kids were being MSguided about gender and some would grow up to teach the dogma that they were learning. It’s not their fault. Some would go into politics, some into law, men were being trashed based in myths which are taught early in life and after forty years thrive in the White House too. Biden and Obama, good boys pleasing women.
Marlantes writes about boys knowing that they are going to take a hill and get killed doing so in Viet Nam. And for what? To give it back later and take it again with more boys dying. Can you imagine knowing you are going to die for a hill that will be forgotten by Memorial Day next, or the one after that? Civilians, including a woman with a PhD in Clinical Psychology I heard speak at an American Psychiatric Associations world convention speak publicly about “stupid men” going to war and stupid men going into battles knowing they would die - and how women would not do that because women are smarter. Well, we send our sons to war and the coal mines and to sea and the forests where risk of death is high. It’s a male way of giving and protecting families. It’s because males will do it that few women “must” do it and only if they “want” to do it. We don’t draft women when soldiers are dying. Today in our wars just as in past wars our boys are dying and wondering if they will be remembered. Wondering if their lives mattered as many women will go shopping for “Memorial day sales!” And no, not all women are like that. I have had women tell me “thank you for serving” as they see my disabled vet POW pass given by the state of CA for camping in our state parks…. I do wonder how many 100% disabled vets do go camping in our state parks.
We sip coffee while reading the paper. We share a story about trapped or dead coal miners or more boys killed in our wars and then we go for a walk, shop at Safeway, make love, watch a movie and a flicker of a shadow of a thought says … glad that’s not my child or my family - as if it’s not someone else’s child or someone else’s family suffering. Misguided war or not, it’s not our young men’s fault that their fathers and mothers send them to war. We are MSguiding our children by teaching them those only women give and it’s not likely that this Memorial Day that any journalist will dare mention all these dead men as a “gender issue”. There will be no discussion of WHY we send our sons to the coal mines, or to war, but not our daughters. We value women more yet we are taught that we value women less and sometime this next week you well read a woman journalist, or maybe even a man saying women suffer more from war, mothers you know, … we heart that while some man is hiding in his work shed for 40 years trying to keep it together, trying not to “off” himself.
Memorial Day. I am thinking about the faces of the children I painted, now grown. They are old enough to be the faces of the boys in the helicopter of my dream, super heroes scared to death facing fear most of us are spared from. MATTERHORN and FORTUNATE SON are two books that should be on reading lists for “gender” studies along with “Death of a Salesmen” but that’s not likely.
Our high school and college girls and boys are reading “Reviving Ophelia” where they read that four times as many girls try to commit suicide. They won’t know that most of those attempts are simply calls for help - for attention and - and, that some of them expect to get the help they are asking for. They won’t know that four times as many boys will actually kill themselves. The author Mary Pipher of Reviving Ophelia (”Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls”) decided to ignore that “fact” while she taught the myth that girls suffer more than boys do.
Not too many years ago, but in another life, before being diagnosed and treated for PSD I was driving down a road on a sunny day in the same $2,000 pick-up truck I took my son home from the hospital in when he was born in 1988. Puller’s book came out in 1991 I think. I don’t recall the year I read it or the year I heard over my truck radio the name of Lewis Puller, my hero. I immediately pictured him with his family, smiling for the camera with the president. I thought of his Pulitzer and wondered again why he had endured far more than I and yet had done so much better. My hero. One of the reason I never went for help was seeing how well he was doing and judging myself as less of a man for not “getting it together” from military duty and seeing myself having trouble in work and relationships - I turned up the radio, my hero Lewis B Puller, Pulitzer prize, nice family, had taken his life. I wanted to crash my truck. I was angry. I was too sad for words. I wondered if I would do “it” too. Kill yourself, silence the voices in my head, stop suffering. I drove, tears blotted out a beautiful day that I had barely noticed to start with.
Lewis, sorry bro. I will toast you today with a glass of red wine. I had it not nearly as bad as thee. Were you the one who went to Viet Nam in my place? You were not, some boy was. And for all my sisters, we all went so you didn’t have to. I will toast the 8 dead nurses and the 58,000 dead soldiers and I if I prayed I would pray for the men and women in our war zones today. Maybe next year our MSeducated “gender studies” students will find Lewis Puller’s book on their reading list next to Reviving Ophelia and maybe even along with Christian Hoff Sommers book “The War Against Boys” or Warren Farrell’s “Why Men Are the Way They Are“. Maybe. I had such thoughts years ago but today I see feminist men and women running the White House.
In today’s news in one of the scariest stories ever. Today Saturday May 22, 2010 with Memorial Day coming I read “America Showing Weakness” by Charles Krauthammer. In a culture where ¼ of boys are too fat for the military our enemies are getting stronger. While men and women in American have a gender war where boys lives are being cast aside a real war is coming. Our boys are killing themselves. Our boys are dropping out of college and many are too uneducated to even get into the military. Feminist rejoice. Women in America are stronger than the men, they live longer, are making more money, women rule “yougogirlfriend”.
Krauthhammer says America isn’t just in decline, it’s in retreat.
Memorial Day 2010 will be here soon. Where are Chesty Puller and the Super Heroes? Where are American men today? Too many are kissing feminist women’s butts and thinking that makes them better than their brothers. Will our country be safer while our enemies get stronger and we continue to pretend our son’s must pay for the bogus claims of feminist advocacy groups/ Sistahs, our sons pay now but you have no idea of what the price this will cost ya’ll later.
We are not making our sons proud to be men. We don’t teach them about real heroes who are the fathers who go to work in coal mines, or about the Wily Lomas, We teach them that soldiers are losers. We teach our children that their fathers and forefathers were “male chauvinist pigs” and that women have paid a heavy price for gender. Well, Sistahs and Bruthas, a war is coming and we fight with each other and we ignore our history and pretend “herstory” is more accurate.
I know how the book Fortunate Son ended and how Lewis Puller ends. I know how MATTERHORN ends. I am worried about how America will end. I just want to paint children’s faces and pretend that children won’t have to grow up to be warriors and princesses or dead boys and nurses. I want to just walk my dog along the river. Walk hand in hand with my wife. I don’t want to think about how we have ripped into masculinity in America for 40 years and I don’t want to read about “America Showing Weakness” as young men and women around the world study very hard as our sons, all of our sons, not just black boys and brown boys but white boys too, all of our sons are our brothers and need to stick together because a war is coming.
I don’t want to read about young boys training to be warriors in foreign countries while our sons are getting fat drinking beer, eating chips and playing video games and flunking out of class no good for work or war. At heart I am still a warrior who remembers the boys from basic training who went to war and then came home to colleges where they learned that warriors were scum and men are pigs and women don’t beat children or each other or men. America is being educated by liars and they end up running the country, for however much longer we have a country. Memorial day. Those who don’t remember their history are doomed to repeat it. Here’s to you Lewis Puller, your brothers, and the tens of thousands valient warriors who gave their live for us. You are in our hearts and prayers this Memorial Day 2010.
Sgt. DeLuca, US Army Retired
PO Box 1234, Mendocino, CA 95460 USA