This year I’m taking Valentine’s Day to celebrate the women in my life. For my lack of eloquence, I can’t find adequate words to communicate how you blow my mind with what you’ve overcome, what you face on a daily basis, the internal strength with which you tolerate it, and the grace with which you handle it.
There has never been a time in the modern era where your fundamental rights as human beings have been more threatened by those at home, at work, the places in between, and by the very people who’ve slid undeservingly, meekly clawed, or paid their way into the power they so undeservingly and irresponsibly yield.
Time and time again, the world has watched as the men who feign alliance and ambassadorship to women have rolled over and committed unspeakable acts under the flaccid and flimsy excuses of alcohol, locker room talk, status, power, and privilege.
There is no power under which the way you are treated is warranted. There is no level of inebriation at which a man’s actions become excusable, and there is no level of status at which our behavior should ever be considered to be above prosecution, or even retribution.
Most importantly, there is no secret club, membership, or exclusive location, in which any implied sense of trust between two or more men should condone or enable the spreading of misogyny.
A real man calls another man out.
A real man makes no pact of silence.
A real man breaches any pact of trust when words are derogatory and demeaning.
Silence from a man means they condone the behavior.
Defending those who commit these acts means you are an accomplice.
I have never been perfect. I can name, off the top of my head, more situations in which I have failed you than I have fingers and toes.
Loved ones: you inspire me to be the line in the sand, and I will work to teach and empower other men to join me in drawing their lines of intolerance.
I will make mistakes, but I will never willfully continue to fail you. I understand the gravity of my failures, and that each failure prolongs a status quo which has been morally wrong for millenia.
In 2017, we awakened to how we treated you.
We owe you for every negative word and label, every demeaning gesture, every unwanted touch, and each earned promotion and raise you never received. Men owe you the future as a penance for their past.
I love each and every one of you. Thank you for being in my life, understanding my flaws, and helping me be a better man.