The opportunity came up to attend the recent festivities and inauguration of Janet Mills, the first female governor of the State of Maine, where my wife and I live, so we jumped at the chance. You have to jump at these chances, as you can’t say, “I’ll go next year.” It’s not a county fair; it’s a one-off event that may mark a changing point in history. And this one may have made that mark.

I’ve been to political meetings, protests and rallies and, except for the ones ending with tear gas and police dogs, you mostly walk away at about the same level of conviction as when you arrived, although with a little more resolve if the event was successful. But this inauguration was different. It set a different, calming tone that we are not accustomed to in anything political these days, and I think I may know why.

Being a man for most of my life, I have accepted the way men do things as normal, even natural. It’s taken me many decades to let the seeds of doubt sprout, but now I see that in all the realms of possibilities, there is a chance that men, those people with XY chromosomes, you know, having stamens but no pistils, may not have the best ideas on how to run the world.

I know: I’m spouting blasphemy and sacrilege and a good, quintessential male response would be to tie me to the stake and set a fire, but maybe it’s time to take a different path other than the traditional and see how that works out.

Perhaps men should just relax a bit — or to twist a popular phrase, not get our briefs in a bunch, and let the women govern for a while. I mean, what could it hurt? Men have been governing since cavemen figured out they could physically overpower women, and where has it gotten us? Perhaps to the brink of annihilation, extinction, Armageddon, poisoned environment, pandemic fear, intolerance … need I go on?

Rule by males has brought us war as entertainment, wealth as a measure of self-worth, religious reasons to kill one another, forms of government each worse than the next, and TV shows like “Two and a Half Men.” I’m not saying men have single-handedly created all these disasters, but you have to concede that these situations came around while the bulk of people on watch were men.

It’s probably time to try something different while we still have a habitable planet.

The Janet Mills inauguration and celebration had a distinctly different feeling. There was no chanting, no slogans on hats and no stirring the cauldron of fear where we will all lose the game, ending up in hell or New Jersey. Mills did not appear to want to dominate anyone. She gave the impression that the government was there to help the people, all the people, live satisfying, fulfilling lives. Isn’t that what we really want?

I don’t need to get into the details of Mills’ speech as you can find all that online; however, the warmth of her words and the poetry of her presentation left me wondering what happened to the fight club atmosphere that is often present in these speeches. She was not banging the gong of greatness. There was no call to arms or rallying of the troops. There were, however, good ideas to make people happy, productive, healthy and secure. Isn’t that better than leaving us on guard for trouble, suspicious of others, and fearful that we will lose our health and livelihood?

When I was young and came inside from the cold, my father would ask me why my coat was not zipped, remarking that only fools forget their gloves and I should stand up straight and blow my nose and not track snow into the house. My mother would get me hot soup.

Blatantly generalizing, men most often encourage and support the values of winning while women, it seems to me, most often promote the values of humanity. We have had someone telling us to stand up straight for a very long time. What we really need about now is hot soup for balance and peace.

In the end Janet Mills’ message wasn’t “We’re Number One” or “Fight to the Top” or something on the order of “Fear This and Fear That; Get in Our Way and We’ll Rip Your Lungs Out.” Her message was soothing and peaceful. It was simply “Welcome Home.”

I do like the sound of that.