Hawley is wrong but so are we
I recently read an article in the Guardian that I need to highlight. I think it is dire in understanding why we as liberals are hemorrhaging working-class voters, but more importantly, men. In an article attacking Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, Columnist Arwa Mahdawi shifted blame from a society failing young people as a whole but especially men.
As she dismissed the Senator as nothing more than the latest demagogue stirring up division about the decline of men in college, the rise of loneliness, suicide, and deaths of despair amongst the group, she lost something as do many liberals are humanity. Since when did we lose our focus on building a progressive, egalitarian society. While I agree she is correct in pointing out Hawley and many Republicans are selling toxic masculinity to vulnerable men, I worry we are selling them nothing.
I admit I struggle with self-worth. At times I feel society and the economy have left me behind. I worry about that and, so do other Americans. Will I find a partner? Will I ever pay off my student loans? Will I get a house? Will I start a family? These questions are not (as she puts them) stereotypes from the 1950s but how some people order and find meaning in life. We should not dismiss those feelings but work to build a just society where men and women are not working till burnout, unhappy, and lonely. We see poll after poll stating how unhappy young people are about their status should we not be concerned about that?
The answer to all this is yes. More importantly, we can help these men while not forgetting about women. We should be pushing for higher wages, collective bargaining, affordable housing, childcare, student debt relief, free college, expanding the social safety net. By addressing the issues causing stratification homeownership, education, income inequality, we can build up all the people who have been left behind by an economy focused on shareholders over personal wellbeing.