A Tale of 2 TV Stars Turned President, 2 Versions of Masculinity

The United States told President Zelenskyy of Ukraine that they could get him safely out of Ukraine.  The president responded: “I don’t need a ride; I need ammunition.”  The president has chosen to stay with his people in their precarious situation and to unite them in their hour of need. 

Video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other government leaders who vow to stay and defend Kyiv as Russia continues to pound Ukraine with airstrikes. Video originally published on YouTube by euronews.

One president has courage (integral to being authentic manhood).

The other one hides behind layers of lawyers.

One stands for the common good of his people and thus displays authentic leadership (and the archetype of authentic Fatherhood and protecting his people).

The other stands for himself and his business interests including gaming the system every chance he gets.

The President of Ukraine participating in the laying of the wreath ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Originally posted to Flickr by Arlington National Cemetary.

One defends his country.

The other divides his country.

One stands up to a vicious dictator and is willing to pay a steep price for doing so.

One cozies up to dictators, writing them “love letters” (his word) and calling the very one now making war in Zelinsky’s country a “genius” and “smart” for carrying on that very war.

One believes in the budding democracy of his country.

The other does not believe in democracy and its laws but seeks to emulate his favorite dictators.

One is uniting his country.

The other splits his country every chance he gets by race, by resentments, by male domination over women’s bodies, and by lies.

One communicates directly to his people by cell phone.

The other communicates through Fox News and other far right faux media news agencies that regularly hire sick and unhinged people as their broadcasters.

17th Century Ukrainian Icon of the Theotokos (Godbearer) offering protection under her cloak. Originally published to Wikimedia for public domain use.

One is trying to tell the truth.

The other is speaking lie after lie (30,000 were counted during the four years of his presidency).

One had a father who fought the Nazis.

The other had a father who was enrolled in the Ku Klux Klan.

One is fighting for democracy and is willing to die for it.

The other disregards the very laws that render democracy possible, including stepping aside when he lost an election by 8 million votes and instead demanding sycophant lawmakers to make laws that hinder the votes of as many people as possible.  And preparing and planning and egging on his disgruntled followers to storm the nation’s capital the day the presidential electors gathered to confirm the votes of the nation’s electors.

One employs his mammal and caring brain as well as his reptilian brain.

The other lives by his reptilian brain—“I win, you lose.”

Edwin Starr’s classic anti-war song entitled War (What is it Good for?) posted to YouTube by Marcel Rosenthal.

One TV personality was a comedian.

The other was a rabid capitalist devoted to firing people on television.

One is a 44 year old man of virtue and courage.

The other is a 74 year old man filled with resentment, anger, hatred, self-pity, and a lust for money and power.

One is a human being deserving of being called a man.

The other is a failed human being, until now a narcissist and egomaniac, prone to boy-like tantrums who hopefully might some day become a man.  We pray for his redemption.

See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.  

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 359-371.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Image of Vladimir Putin leaning over Russia. Originally posted to Flickr by Democracy Chronicles.

Queries for Contemplation

What contrasts do you see between these two presidents?  Do you agree that just maybe the Ukranian people got the better deal from their TV star turned politician?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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9 thoughts on “A Tale of 2 TV Stars Turned President, 2 Versions of Masculinity”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, To day your “Query for Contemplation” is: “What contrasts do you see between these two presidents?” I think you’ve already done a good job answering that question–and there are many! “Do you agree that just maybe the Ukrainian people got the better deal from their TV star turned politician?” Yes, and he is a man of honor, a captain who is willing to go down with the ship, and with the people who are left there, IF it comes to this! Tolstoy was a Christian pacifist. As one reads the gospels and what he writes about them, he makes a very convincing argument for pacifism as the position a Christian should take. However, Would have Gandhi’s or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s passive resistance worked with the Nazis ??? I think not. And do you think pacifism would work with Putin. If not, it may come to a point where, a new allied forces have to do something about this, to prevent more take-overs !!! And what of prayer ??? Matthew defines it as a “radical response to life”–so we better see how we should be responding.

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      I have written before an unpopular view in this forum, I think, that sometimes one has to pick up arms to defend self and others. We have to use all the tools available, including diplomacy, and all of our cyber weapons, but if I or my neighbor is attacked, I will do whatever it takes to protect us.

      I admire pacifists like Quakers. My aunt and uncle were such. My uncle’s brother was a conscientious objector in WW2 and was treated badly but ended up driving an ambulance in Italy and miraculously surviving. I am not so good. I so often think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who became involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler out of his deep faith that such an act was necessary under the circumstances–and, as we know, bravely died for it.

      Each one has to make an individual decision, but this war surely should make us stop and think. I appreciate Matthew’s brilliant analysis of the deep contrasts between these two men. Yes, we should also pray very hard, but then decide how to act also.

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    COURAGE, such a rare virtue these days. I’ve been listening to some of both the Ukrainian and the Russian people’s stories… ordinary everyday people from young to old, men and women, being surprised themselves by the courage rising up within themselves… people whom have never been trained to be warriors… embodying the Spirit of the true warrior. One Ukrainian being interviewed on CBC stated that the Ukrainian people have truly demonstrated what NATO represents, living out the purpose of it’s existence… even though the Ukraine is not yet apart of NATO… how true this is! What a contrast this is to the rest of world! What courage and spiritual warriorship it takes, to truly walk the talk of standing on the side of LOVE… a love for life, to live free of oppression, suppression and dominion over… to stand deviant in this stance of holding ones ground… without any guarantee of success!

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    I’m so grateful for your meditation today. And what a blazing example of what you have been writing about, real masculinity. I have admired Mr Zelensky ever since learning who he was and seeing him in the series”Servant of the People” on Netflix. Which is no longer on. He plays a history teacher who becomes president and he tries to dismantle the corruption of the oligarchs in Ukraine. It’s extremely funny as well. I think your comparison is apt and right on. So again I say thank you.

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    Just wanted to respond to Sue’s comment today, adding to this in making reference to a very powerful movie that demonstrates her point, which is titled “Hacksaw Ridge”, which was produced and directed by Mel Gibson, and was aired again on TV the other night. It’s based on the true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, who was decorated with the Congressional Medal Of Honor, despite refusing to bear arms during WWII, on the grounds of his religious faith. Doss was ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance, but went on to earn respect and adoration for his courageous bravery, his spiritual warriorship, selfishness, and compassion… in the midst of facing evil… after he risked his life, without firing a single shot… saving 75 men while emersed in the battle of Okinawa. I highly recommend watching this, to gain a visual perspective of what Mathew has been talking about over the past few days regarding war bringing out both the best and the worst in humanity.

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      My cousin’s uncle on his dad’s side drove ambulances under fire without any protection, unaccompanied by any armed soldiers, over “roads” pitted by bomb blasts; he helped rebuild in some villages after the end of the shooting, and the Italians just loved him. And that was enough for him. I am not a CO, although I honor those who so courageously choose not to fight with guns.

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    I have forwarded today’s DM to a dear friend who is an artist and expat from Ukraine. She is very worried about her sister’s family living in Ukraine. This will be heartening for them. I also sent Jeanette’s poem/prayer ARISE ARISE to her, which she very much appreciates. I expect she will share it with her sister, who will share it with others on location in Ukraine.

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