To Coach John Wolfgram, Portland, Maine

Paul Elam
May 16, 2013
Dear Coach Wolfgram, Cheverus High School football team.

Your young players recently visited with Governor Paul LePage after winning your state’s football championship. He gave your young men a lecture about men and domestic violence. He told them that domestic violence was men’s problem to solve. He told them that their masculinity and their ideas of manhood were the problem. He told them, in so many words, that they were not just the solution, but that they were also the problem.

Nearly everything he told them was a lie.

I realize this may be a bit of a shock, as I am sure you can’t imagine why a state governor would stand before a group of impressionable young men and attempt to poison their minds with disinformation. Nonetheless, that’s what happened.

His motives were purely political, and it is very important for you to understand those motives because what the governor did was not a one-time stunt. He was forecasting an oncoming assault on the budding masculinity and the self-image of your players and all future young men in Maine schools. His lecture was also an attempt to manipulate you into helping with that agenda.

So far, it is entirely plausible that you stood back with nothing to say while Governor LePage deceived your players, simply because you did not know any better. It is my hopes that by the time you finish reading this article that you are able to see what is going on, and that in your position of trust with those students you will not let it happen again.

Allow me to start helping you to understand by taking a look at this as presented by the media in your state.

There are several recent op-ed pieces and interviews published by the Bangor Daily News that attack boys and heterosexual masculinity. In one piece, titled “When will men stand up to violence?”[1] a man named Drew Wing openly echoes and expands upon the sentiments conveyed to your players by Governor LePage; that there is something inherently wrong with masculinity; that boys are innately defective, and that they need to somehow be fixed, re-engineered into something more socially acceptable and less dangerous to the society around them.

Mind you, he is ignoring the ways we, though fathers and men such as yourself, have historically encouraged and mentored young men to be productive members of society. He is pointing directly at men like you as part of the problem, because it is masculinity itself that is the problem. That includes you, sir, though you may not have even paused to consider it.

What is worse is that if you examine the plans Wing already has in place, they are much more far reaching than simply telling boys they are born bad and need to be fixed. A more thorough examination of his work reveals an unthinkable agenda. He actually promotes a program of bullying and emotionally abusing boys in order to get them to become enforcers of his political ideas about men against their smaller, weaker male peers.

If that seems unlikely to you, please finish reading and investigate the all the links provided.

Drew Wing and his “Boys to Men” organization are actively engaged in promoting programs to re-define boys “masculinity in terms of violence, harassment, apathy and sexual conquest.”[1] In his Bangor Daily News piece he defines rape as a “men’s issue” and demands men help stop “rape culture” by changing the “male culture” which he says “degrades women and supports sexual violence.”

Of course, all decent human beings condemn rape, and want to put an end to it. However, let me stop for a moment here, Coach. There is much more to come but I cannot move on without asking you some questions, with the hope that you will stop for a moment and answer them for yourself.

How many men do you know who belong to a “male culture that degrades women and supports sexual violence”?

Please take a moment to answer that. Does this statement apply to your father? Your brothers? Your sons? Your players? The other male coaches on your team? The male teachers at Cheverus High School? How about to the fathers and brothers of your players? How about to Governor LePage?

Do we have a criminal minority of people who commit sexual assaults, or do we have a culture that is responsible for this, including you and your football team?

Again, do you really see an entire culture of men around you that support rape and the abuse of women? Because if you don’t sir, then how can you stand by while a state official creates such a destructive and patently false notion in the young minds under your care?

But let us get back to the work of Drew Wing for now.

He further declares that:

“men are conditioned to believe that women are inferior and exist solely as sexual objects for the pleasure of men [and] that sexual violence is a legitimate means of establishing power – a highly coveted commodity in male culture.”

In case you missed it, Coach, Drew Wing and the Bangor Daily News just openly declared that the basis of male culture ‘covets’ power through rape which he says men consider as “legitimate means”. He wants men to stop “rape culture” and “speak and act in a way that reinforces our respect for women…[and by] modeling respect for girls and women, working for full equality, challenging elements of male culture and holding perpetrators accountable.”

He wants men and boys to “model respect” for women and punish other men and boys who are deemed to do otherwise — in the name of “full equality” of all things. He ends his op-ed with “Will the “real men” please stand up?”

Coach, are you able to see how the demonization of young men is wrapped around ideals that are designed to be unassailable? Are you, like so many, going to be blinded by the righteousness of “holding perpetrators accountable” to the point that you cannot see or hear that men, as a class, as in you, are being accused of supporting rape?

You may wonder at this point (and I surely hope you are) what makes Drew Wing an authority on masculinity, psychology, early childhood development, human sexuality and/or causes of violence to issue such open declarations against men and masculinity.

Well, he did do some real estate development consulting and studied theology — which apparently qualified him to be the best new front “man” for the already well-established and feminist governed “Boys to Men” organization. It started out as a “community coalition” against domestic violence in 1998 and is now in the business of re-enginering programs for male children designed to correct their masculine condition.

Boys to Men administers a “treatment program” which is apparently a variation of the Ludovico Technique. They are not kidding about “reshaping” boys. In Maine they are spending community dollars on what they term “preventative programs” which they are refining for nationwide promotion.

The program, as we soon shall see, is designed to “eliminate” and replace boys’ “masculinity” and self-confidence with what they call “Gender Justice”[2].

Again, Coach, I have to stop and ask you to consider a question. This time a single one. What do you think about an effort to take impressionable young men, already going through the painful process of self-discovery and individuation and attempt to replace their sense of masculinity with someone else’s political ideals?

It is just one question, Coach, but I really hope you don’t neglect to answer it, if only for yourself.

Moving on we get a clearer idea of some of the male re-engineering programs through yet another recent article at Bangor Daily News, which states:

“[…]Boys to Men Executive Director Drew Wing says the same male athletes who take the field or ice in violent sports can be key to reshaping what he thinks have become destructive preconceptions of manhood in today’s society[…]In a nutshell, the most masculine in what Wing called the “culture of masculinity” are often also the most self-confident, and they have more social currency with which to reject domineering or violent social behaviors. There’s some research that men who live in those masculine worlds [of sports] are in the best positions to defy those worlds,” Wing said.”

What Wing and his front organization is actually engaging in and promoting is a program of accessing schools to shame, bully, and indoctrinate aggressive and violent leaning Alpha-male jocks to serve as muscle to coerce and abuse other boys into compliance with their pro-feminist political worldview.

Wing calls these groomed Alpha-male boys “positive bystanders” and specifically seeks to exploit their Alpha-male “social currency” to bully the rest of the young boys to accept and conform to feminist doctrine.

Wing rationalizes this orchestration of abuse by stating “Really this is about empowering them, giving them tools to stand up and be leaders in tough situations, be the activists that change the culture on campus.”

“… activists that change the culture on campus.”

Coach, we have an ideological feminist group gaining access to schools and campuses to indoctrinate the most confident, outgoing, and socially influential young males to serve as enforcers and “activists that change the culture.” To change it to radical feminist core values. It is a program specifically aimed at oppressing all boys. I am sure, Coach, as you are also likely a teacher, that you are familiar with historical efforts to indoctrinate and use young Alpha-males to enforce ideology on school campuses?

On their website, Men to Boys’ mission statement lists a core value belief that the responsibility of raising healthy boys falls on the community—a core value explicitly against family and parental rights and responsibilities concerning their own children. By “community” they are asserting new rights and responsibilities to public institutions such as the education system, where Boys to Men is now coincidentally gaining a foothold.

They go on to state another, more familiar core belief — that boys and men are responsible for preventing violence. Again, one has to stop and consider what they are saying. Their position is that violence begins and ends with boys and men. This is their claim despite the fact that it is patently untrue, and in a way that disparages them and every male in their life.

If that is not radical enough, then consider their core values concerning “Gender Justice”:

“Gender Justice:• Traditional media and cultural representations of masculinity and femininity are too narrowly defined and contribute to destructive and damaging behavior towards individuals of all genders and ages. We are committed to eliminating the inequalities and institutional injustices that result from these traditional media and cultural representations of masculinity.”[2]

In other words they have essentially declared war on masculinity as it is, Coach; the same masculinity with which you coached your team to a state football championship, the masculinity that your players played through pain with, and the masculinity that lent them to working together as a team. They want to subvert that masculinity and make them political enforcers, leaning on their brothers to effect the cause of “inequalities and institutional injustices” which they “are committed to eliminating”. And they are shrouding all this in a term as misleading and disingenuous as “healthy masculinity,”[2]

How ironic that while Boys to Men is “committed to eliminating” masculinity, and programming bullies, their slogan is “Building True Strength”.

For all the doublespeak and euphemisms, it is an open program of human rights abuse and violence against generations of young men and boys through threatening, shaming, bullying, and terrorizing tactics. One has to wonder what the fully informed parents would say about an organization such as “Boys to Men” being allowed access to their children in order to make political alterations to their masculine identity? Does that really sound like “building true strength,” to you, Coach? Or does it sound like political operatives maliciously tinkering with the minds of impressionable children?

Does Governor LePage’s lecture to your players sound the same now as it did then? If it does, your players are in deep trouble.

Coach, this is child abuse hiding behind the banner of domestic violence prevention. It is a program aimed at targeting and preemptively shaming only male children for gender profiled crimes of which “Boys to Men” say all men are guilty; all men are responsible. There’s your “Gender Justice”.

We now see ideology, not concern for children, driving school policies across the country which attack natural male development, terrorizing and punishing boys for crimes such as “sexual harassment” — for telling someone they think their teacher is “cute.”[3]

When we see 7 year old boys being terrorized, harassed and harshly punished by their schools for pointing pencils at each other and making shooting sounds, we are witnessing an attack on their healthy development and their self esteem.[4]

“Boys to Men” in Maine is a program of interrupting and attacking boys and it is being continuously promoted by the likes of Bangor Daily News—one of the largest newspapers in Maine, while the governor parrots their propaganda to the children.

For his part Maine Governor LePage has made “domestic violence” the central part of his administration with initiatives to force accused men to be held without bail, to force accused men who have unsubstantiated protection orders filed against them to wear ankle bracelets, to creating a domestic violence offender registry, to passing out 911 panic alarms to women, and to shame and blame school boys and their masculinity and for not putting women ahead of their own interests.

In his first State of the State address, LePage called domestic violence “a men’s problem”.

And let me be clear coach, just in case nothing like the truth has every reached your ears. Domestic violence is a complex problem with a wide range of causes. Domestic violence is an alcohol and drug abuse related problem. Domestic violence is a poverty related problem. Domestic violence is a family dysfunction related problem. Domestic violence is a problem committed by both sexes, against both sexes with children being the primary true victims in almost all cases. Domestic violence is NOT a problem rooted in masculinity. The idea that it is nothing more than political fabrication.

You can drag a thousand champion football players into a room with a lying governor and nothing will change that.

Paul LePage will travel to other schools in Maine to address groups of boys, blaming them for domestic violence, blaming them for not doing more to stop it, and teaching the boys to get confrontational and perhaps even violent with other boys to keep them in line. He weakly admonishes violence, but then leaves the door open for it when he counsels young boys about intervening on abusive men.

“I’m not advocating to use violence, but you do what you’ve got to do to resolve the issue,”
Coach, as someone who spent 20+ years counseling people with life problems, I relied on a saying regularly to address this kind of doublespeak and denial in my clients:

Everything behind a “but” is bullshit.
When Governor LePage says “I’m not advocating to use violence, but…” he is knowingly and intentionally leaving the door open to that very thing. He even waxes nostalgically about getting into trouble with law enforcement for intervening physically in the affairs of others, and states emphatically that he would do it again. He is glorifying his role as a physical enforcer and passing that message along to the students most likely to emulate it.

How much sense does it make to you, Coach, that we would identify violence as a male specific problem to be fixed, and then advocate its use to address it?

Governor LaPage is following in lockstep with the intentions of groups like “Boys to Men,” which is to turn young athletes into political enforcers, rather than hold responsible adults to account for the problems we face as a society, or to find solutions that can so seldom translate into sound bites and votes.

Coach, this is the most disgraceful exhibit of its kind that I have ever heard of from a state governor. And I remind you, without blaming you, that you are now a part of it, either as the problem or the solution.

And just a couple of more items for your consideration.

The Maine Domestic Violence Coalition in a related program gets promising male athletes to stand in front of a camera for public service announcements and recite as if they were confessing that domestic violence is a “huge issue” on college campuses and that it’s up to them to stop it:

Coach, In Maine the war on boys is very much mainstream with radical programs by organizations such as “Boys to Men” being tested for national expansion. In future articles, I will continue to examine the unfolding society of hate where male human rights are being abolished by radical feminists and their sycophants in elected office.

But for now, I just wanted you to know what is happening, and why there is a need to do something about it. If you value those young men in your charge, you will.

Drew Wing is the executive director of Boys to Men, a Portland-based nonprofit that seeks to reduce interpersonal violence. He is a former business developer and holds a theology degree. He may be reached at