In your article on the plight of the Democratic Party, you mention that protectionism becomes stronger in a time of economic crisis. The word aggression might be used as well. The largely patriarchal U.S. government suffers from a battered male ego, and when the male ego is battered (do we know of any greater battering than economic crisis for a male?), the male often seeks dominance wherever he can.
Consider the sudden push to deny women the right to control our own reproduction, the gloating over the Persian Gulf War and the government's insatiable desire to punish those it believes have hurt our pocketbook. Hence the rampant scapegoating in the savings-and-loan crisis, a crisis the government seems quite unwilling to accept any responsibility for.
To add to this tragedy, pricey male "support" groups have arisen in the name of renewing masculinity. And some claim that nurturing and allowing men to be (more!) aggressive is the credo for women.
Yes, masculinity is in trouble in this country because it lacks compassion. This crisis is not only a matter of economics, but also of spirit.
NANCY VAN IDERSTINE