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Why Some Men can't Stand Hillary

Watching last night’s debate between two male vice presidential candidates I was struck by how much I disliked the look, sound and feel of Mike Pence. He is like all the other Republican men I have watched perform on the public political stage over the last 20 + years. He is hard and cold, damn sure he is right, and very exaggerated in his evaluation of external threat and his ability to prevent that threat from causing mortal damage. Another commonality with these guys is that they are obsessed with the surface appearance of things, themselves primarily. They must project an image of themselves as being the strongest of the strong. Any sign of weakness is the kiss of death for one of these dudes.

For me, a 63 year old white guy, this image of masculinity is as cartoonish as the first person shooter character who needs more armor, more ammo, more weapons, and more life as he bleeds out. Why do some men respond positively to this and why are those men repulsed by Hillary Clinton? The answer lies beneath the surface of their tightly held together public presentation. They are wounded and afraid. But afraid of what? I think they are afraid of what would happen to them if they were to take the frightening journey of developing a healthier relationship with the parts of their personality that are culturally and psychologically identified as feminine. This journey takes real courage; the surface strength of the hollow man will not work in the depths of the soul.

When they see Hillary out there integrating the masculine elements of her personality into a healthy wholeness they can’t stand it. She is a sign to them of their own failure to become whole people. They are not aware of this consciously and that makes it all the worse. They have to ramp up incredible amounts of energy to defend their shaky, hollow, construction of self, lest they face annihilation. That is what they are really afraid of. They are like the guy Dylan critiques in positively 4th street when he says “Do you take me for such a fool, to think I'd make contact; With the one who tries to hide what he don't know to begin with?”.

Dylan’s calling out of the fool is wonderful here on an external and internal level. Externally it is foolish to try to make contact directly with one of these wounded men. They are high strung and prone to attack you if you do because they project the inner threat they are combating onto you. But the fool in that wounded hollow man is what will work him toward wholeness. There is a wonderful book called He, written by Robert Johnson. In that book Johnson fleshes out the myth of Parsifal and the Holy Grail from a Jungian depth psychology point of view. The book has rung true to me in different ways over the years and is worth a read if you haven’t read it, or re-read if you have. Anyway, Johnson makes the point that it is the fool part of a man, the court jester, that begins the healing of the fisher kings wound, a wounded masculinity that has put on armor over his mother complex, by making his inner feminine laugh. A man who isn’t foolish enough to engage the journey of healthy integration with his feminine side will typically have two strategies. Crush the feminine, Dick Cheney, or irresponsibly exploit her for pleasure, Donald Trump. Both are self and other damaging disfigurements of masculine character.

I have recently been able to engage an old friend who I am in touch with on Facebook about his attraction to Trump and his aversion to Hillary. I was honest and clear about what my position was but not directly antagonistic to him. I asked him questions about why he thought Trump would be good for the country, and what policies of Trumps he liked. The most consistent thing he liked about Trump was that he would shake things up. I shared facts with him but never tried to convince him of them. I used those facts to frame questions back that wondered why he believed Trump on this or that because I was legitimately curious? Eventually he started to change his tone and reveal some foolish things “Trump is the town crier, he is a buffoon. I just can’t stand Hillary”. Soon after that he revealed that he wasn’t voting for either of them. I don’t think this is unique to my friend. I think this reflects the deeply unconscious need for wounded, deeply unconscious men, to have their inner fool shake up their immature construction of masculinity and help them begin the journey of wholeness that can come from developing a healthy relationship inner feminine. Donald Trump isn’t a model for doing this consciously but he is a foolish man and he is falling apart in a very unconscious and public way. That’s why they can’t stand Hillary, she represents a healthy integration of male and female and they can’t start their own journey to wholeness.

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