I’ve felt a strong sense of kinship with Winston Churchill since reading William Manchester’s magisterial account of the late British prime minister and statesman.
Churchill is remembered among most historians as the greatest national leader of the 20th century. Yet, he was a remarkable anomaly: Despite his vast powers of discernment and foresight, he remained largely an anachronism, certainly throughout his advanced years, failing to let go of many of the things he cherished most, namely, Britain’s unrivaled superpower status and his diminutive island’s vast global empire.
While I lack Churchill’s genius, I readily relate to his sense of anachronism. With each passing day, I feel like a duck out of the increasingly turbulent waters of American cultural life – and, granted, that’s a good thing. With each passing day, I regard myself more and more as a cultural anachronism.
I was raised to appreciate certain social boundaries and proprieties. I always operated under the assumption that these conventions, which evolved and were refined over centuries, went a long way toward keeping the world on an even keel. And what baffles me is the fact that a growing number younger people not only regard these proprieties as stodgy and retrograde but even as discriminatory, if not downright evil.
Vice President Mike Pence obviously was raised with a similar sense of propriety. Apparently inspired by the evangelist Billy Graham, he practices a set of safeguards to avoid any hint of sexual impropriety. He has made it a standard practice not to dine alone with any woman, even within a professional context, or to attend a party where alcohol is served unless his wife is present.
Remarkably, though, far from lauding Pence for his sense of propriety, some feminists are opposed to it. Writing in a column that appeared in Vox, attorney Joanna L. Grossman opined that this strategy not only lacked honor but was also likely illegal.
In the view of some feminists, this practice not only implies that women are temptresses but also essentially prohibits half the work force from getting ahead through building a strong working relationship with the boss.
“Wow!” is all I know to say in response to this.
The 21st century work environment seems so complex and fraught with risk now days. I’m glad that I’m retired and out of it.
Like many anachronistic retired men in their fifties, I’ve spent a lot of time lately reflecting on life’s good fortune.
I always thought that establishing boundaries was a critical facet of good behavior.