The possibility cannot be ignored.

It seems increasingly clear that much of the opposition to Hillary Clinton becoming president of the United States of America stems from unresolved anxiety, fear, and insecurity on the part of white men.

Let’s be honest, in all of the endless investigations and scrutiny to which Hillary has been relentlessly subjected, there has been no substantive, certainly no criminal, charges that have stuck.

No doubt she has at times exercised poor judgment (not surprising in a 35 year career in public service), but no significant wrong-doing has ever been turned up against Hillary Clinton. The exaggerated opposition to her candidacy may be ideological in part; but there is more going on here than just differences of political opinion and it has to do with men.

As a white man, I need to look seriously at the possibility that the often vicious and frequently unfounded attacks against Hillary Clinton are fueled, less by genuine political concern and more by the sense that my manhood is threatened by a powerful woman assuming an important position of leadership traditionally considered to be a role restricted to men.

In an opinion piece on Friday at the National Observer, Sandy Garossino points out that,sandy-garossino

While it’s widely accepted that Hillary Clinton has low approval ratings, it’s more accurate to say she’s a normal candidate in every demographic except for one. But that one is large enough to skew the overall results.

White guys.

Everyone else either likes Clinton just fine or are pretty much “meh.” But overall, white men don’t take kindly to her, and most of them despise her.

Garossino goes on to describe the troubling double standard to which American misogyny leads in relationship to female political candidates

As a white male, Trump doesn’t have to justify the place which came to him as a birthright. In fact, as the least qualified, most manifestly unfit, fraudulent, racist, sexually predatory and dangerous candidate in modern American history, he thinks he only has to do one thing to defeat the most qualified, transparent, experienced and prepared candidate.

Call the woman a liar.

In a similar piece at the Atlantic Monthly, Peter Beinart suggests that

Except for her gender, Hillary Clinton is a highly conventional presidential candidate. She’s been in public life for decades. Her rhetoric is carefully calibrated. She tailors her views to reflect the mainstream within her party.

So, how to explain the “intensity of opposition” that had bedeviled Clinton’s run for the presidency at every turn?

To answer this question, Beinart appeals to what social psychologists call “precarious manhood” theory.

The theory posits that while womanhood is typically viewed as natural and permanent, manhood must be “earned and maintained.” Because it is won, it can also be lost…. Among the emasculations men most fear is subordination to women.

As a privileged, just slightly powerful male, I need to examine my reaction to women in leadership.

How much of my critique of a powerful person in leadership is fueled by the fact that the person under discussion happens to be a woman?

Am I threatened by a powerful woman in a way that I would not be threatened by a man in the same position?

Do I resent the rise of women into positions of leadership and authority that were once the exclusive purview of people like me?

Do I feel particularly vulnerable or envious when confronted by a woman whose has achieved conspicuous success in the world in a way that I would not be if she were a man?

These are not sentimental white liberal male-guilt questions. They are important considerations. The answers to these questions have an important impact on my relationships with women and on the well-being of our social fabric, not to mention my ability to genuinely respect women and support their freedom to seek to fulfill their true calling in the human community.

With a woman as one of only two viable candidates for President in the US, any hope for men to move to a slightly higher degree of objectivity depends upon our willingness to confront the real possibility that our political position may be shaped by male insecurity and prejudice against women. November 8, 2016 may indeed be a day of reckoning for men. For the good of the world community as a whole, may the better part of ourselves prevail.