By now it is semi-old news that the death rates of white middle aged males in the United States is climbing. A recent study that analyzed the data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources done by two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton and Anne Case (husband and wife), revealed that US white men between 45 and 54 are dying more frequently than their counterparts in Europe and their contemporaries in other ethnic groups in the US. This phenomenon is not the result of heart attacks or strokes or lung cancer, but from drug use and suicide.
This study has prompted a big question – WHY? The root cause seems to be depression caused by the loss of economic power through the loss of a job, or by having a low paying job which leads to misuse of drugs (including alcohol) which often culminates in suicide. How to reverse this trend has talking heads and newspaper editors reaching for answers.
Two of the most common responses are: create more better paying jobs and increase the availability of mental health clinics. Those two suggestions seem reasonable and are reasonable; however, they take the responsibility off the men and place it on society. In a way society is responsible for this problem because of the culture it has created through its moral relaxation of family responsibilities, e.g., a huge percentage of American families are single parent ones with a female as the head with a “dead beat” dad floating out there somewhere. Also, the media, always eager to be the first to exploit the latest deviant, notorious or shocking behaviors of the rich, famous or criminal tend to obfuscate the difference between fact and fiction. That is just the news articles and the news programs. Add to the above commercials designed to “sell” everything and fictional programs intent on climbing in the ratings. What has a white man whose grandfather and father with little or no education supported a middle class family got to support him emotionally or spiritually when he has lost his job?
There is the rub. Materialism and atheism in modern American society have replaced the Judeo-Christian core values. White men have no ethical or spiritual base, nor, in many cases, because they are not married, an emotional base to sustain and encourage them during difficult times. They think that they are alone. They have forgotten or they never knew that as a child of God, they are valuable and they are loved. That their responsibility is to take strength from the Father to make the best that each can with each day, not to judge themselves with a materialistic yard-stick.
There are many books, web-sites and people out there to help these men find their way back to self-love. One non-theological, simple help for some may be the web-site, TERRYMANLEY.COM. I’m not Terry Manley. This is not a commercial. Below is a helpful prayer.
A Soldier’s Prayer from the Civil War
(Devil’s Den, Gettysburg)
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.