A decorated globe in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday Dec. 6, 2009, one day before the Climate Summit kicks off. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The headlines this week will no doubt be filled with talk of stalled negotiations in Copenhagen and our increasingly hot and bothered planet. Over the past five years, the climate-justice movement has marshaled an incredibly diverse group of people to push world leaders to do the right thing for our world. Everyone -- from Al Gore to Pat Robertson, from fifth-generation factory workers in West Virginia to first generation college students from Detroit, from scientists to celebrities -- is invested in this issue.
"Machismo!" shouted a young college student in the third row.
"Tough!" "Violent!" "Homophobic!" shouted three other young men, sprinkled throughout the packed lecture hall. Ethan Wong, a student at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, who was dressed in a slim business suit, nodded as he wrote each word on the chalk board.
"Women are in the labor force -- and every other public arena -- to stay. So the choice for men is how we will relate to this transformation. Will we be dragged kicking and screaming into the future? Flee to some male-only preserve, circle the masculine wagons, and regroup?" asks masculinity scholar Michael Kimmel. "Or instead, will the majority of us who are now somewhere between eager embrace and resigned acceptance see instead the opportunity for the 'enthusiastic embrace' of gender equality?"
A U.S. soldier takes cover from the dust at a new U.S. military base outside the village of Musa Qala in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
As President Barack Obama and his team deliberate about the best way forward in Afghanistan, they are compelled to incorporate a variety of voices on the subject. Military leaders advocate for an increase in troops -- 40,000 strong -- to continue the work that was started there nearly eight years ago. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, argues, "The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort." Peace activists argue passionately for the opposite, citing the variety of costs -- economic, ethical, in human lives.
Officers go over their war game training in a classroom at the Army's Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
As the debate over the best course of action to take in Afghanistan heightened last week, I was in a unique setting to consider the implications. As part of a workshop on media and the military at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, I was one of about 25 journalists who were given the opportunity to experience the military, meet soldiers, and even get a taste of life "inside."
The resounding message from Army leadership? "We've changed."