Lessons in Manhood with Derrick Van Orden

In 2015, Wisconsin Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Derrick Van Orden appeared on an episode of Glenn Beck’s show. 

Beck asked his guest a question that I’m sure has been on many of our minds: “What percentage of American males, are men?”

Van Orden responded: “I would say that it’s really probably 40%, maybe 30%. It’s a very small portion. The degradation of the American family has been destructive in ways that we just don’t understand. When you don’t have a positive male role model for both males and females in a home as you’re growing up, which I did not at all, my father’s been an absentee father…When you don’t have that you have to try so much harder and seek those experiences that you gather through a father figure from someone else. That’s just the way we are made.”

Van Orden, a former US Navy SEAL, was on Beck’s show to promote his book, which is called Book of Man: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to the Lost Art of Manhood. The subtitle on the cover lets readers know that the book will teach you how to light a campfire, mix a drink, and handle a terrorist, all in the same day. As Beck helpfully pointed out, Van Orden’s book is available at all Walmarts.

The description on Walmart’s website notes that this is a book for “for young boys who want to be a man; adult males who are at heart young boys, but who want to grow up and be a man; women and girls who want an actual man, and fathers who want their daughters to know how to handle a man.”

Other skills from “the forgotten art of Manhood” you’ll learn if you pick up a copy are how to “change a tire; sight a gun; tie a tie; cook a bat to eat; throw a punch; drive like a SEAL; and many more need-to-know man skills.”

There’s also a chapter on how to kiss a woman, and another chapter is penned by Jon Voight, one of the few remaining real men in Hollywood and a pal of Van Orden’s. Voight writes about how he badly lost his way back in the 1960s, so badly in fact that he made the huge mistake of joining anti-war demonstrations. Thankfully, he eventually realized he’d taken a wrong turn, and now we can read all about it in Van Orden’s book.

When Van Orden appeared on President Trump’s favorite show – Fox and Friends – a few years ago, two of the male presenters decided to try out on live TV one of the manly skills Van Orden’s book teaches: how to change a tire. They failed, miserably, much to their shame, as Van Orden looked manfully on.

When Van Orden isn’t showing pampered Fox hosts how to change a tire, or off killing terrorists to defend our freedom, he also dabbles in acting. In 2012, he starred in the movie Act of Valor, in which a group of American heroes save us from terrorists. The film was nominated for the 2012 Teen Choice Awards in the action movie category, but was beaten out by Abduction, which starred Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame, and currently has a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Van Orden is also a devout Christian, but he’s not completely down on atheists, going so far as to debunk the conventional wisdom that a foxhole is the last place you’ll find one.

“People say there are no atheists in foxholes, and that’s not true,” he remarked during an appearance on the Mighty Oaks Show. “There are plenty of atheists in foxholes, and they’re terrified, they’re absolutely terrified. Some of them to the point of paralysis and then many to the point, after they get out of the service, they’re incapable of dealing with the stressors that they went through, and that’s because they’re not grounded.”

Van Orden also noted that one of the reasons “why everything is bonkers in the country, it’s bananas” with people worrying about things like dying from COVID-19, is because there are “fewer religious people,” and that means people “don’t know what happens after they die.”

“It’s the intersection of people facing mortality for the first time, and a lack of faith, that has led to this,” he continued. “This fear culture that we are now inculcated with, where we are so concerned about protecting each other.”

Stay Safe?

It’s become popular during the pandemic for people to tell friends and family to “stay safe,” but Van Orden has issues with the phrase. Still, on that Mighty Oaks episode, he recalled a moment in Afghanistan when he heard a subordinate tell someone to “stay safe.”

Van Orden said he told the SEAL: “I don’t want to ever hear those words come out of your mouth again. If you want to stay safe, go home and become an accountant. You are a Navy SEAL in combat, you will take calculated risks at all times, and they will be risks, but we will never play safe, that is not what we do, and we could use a little bit more of that in the country right now.” 

To lead by example, Van Orden said on the Mighty Oaks episode, which aired in April, that he would join the anti-lockdown protests in Madison, noting that it was his “duty to disobey in tyrannical times.”

However, although we may presently be living under the yoke of the tyrannical Evers regime, Van Orden remains relentlessly optimistic about the future and wants to be very clear on one point above all others. He is a man who loves America.

“Our country truly is blessed, it is unique, it is exceptional, it really is,” he gushed to the presenters on the Mighty Oaks. Nonetheless, during the Obama presidency Van Orden said things “got to be pretty dark there for a while.”

“People were talking smack about America, and blaming America first, well that’s just wrong,” he said. “I’m so proud of President Trump coming in and saying that’s just wrong, America’s awesome. You’re awesome, I’m awesome.”

jfk, aOc and fdr

A favorite pastime of many Americans is to discuss which presidents from history they think would belong to the opposite party today. As you’d expect, Van Orden is not afraid to take this game to the next level.

“Right now, Franklin Roosevelt would be Republican, John F. Kennedy would be a Republican,” he said, during a discussion of the difference between true “statesmen” and mere “politicians.”

He’s particularly fond of JFK’s oft-quoted line: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Sadly, Van Orden doesn’t think many of today’s spoiled politicians would understand the concept JFK was trying to convey.

“Do you think those words ever spewed out of AOC’s mouth? She’s like, give me stuff! Give me stuff now. Gimme, gimme, gimme,” he calmly noted. “Oh yeah America you’re horrible, gimme. He (JFK) would have dropped the donkey off at the post office, and walked over and hopped on the elephant.”

Still, Van Orden hastened to add that Democrats “love their kids as much as we do” and that if elected, he would represent all the people of the 3rd Congressional District equally. But first, let’s see if this humble former Navy SEAL can get the job done and win.  

*Van Orden, who lives in Hager City, is running in the 3rd Congressional District Republican Primary against Jessi Ebben. On the Democratic side, Dr. Mark Neumann is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. The primary elections are Aug. 11 and the district includes all of La Crosse, Vernon, Trempealeau and Crawford counties, and part of Monroe County.

By Eric Timmons. Send questions to lacrosseindependent@gmail.com. Top photo credit: Special warfare combatant-craft crewmen (SWCC) from Special Boat Team 22 operate a special operations craft-riverine (SOC-R) during the filming of a scene in Act of Valor/Public Domain.

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