“He looked like he was sleeping. But the reality of it was under the cloth he had covering his mouth there was no mouth left. His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.”
– Veronique Pozner, mother of 6-year-old Noah, who was killed at Sandy Hook
President Barack Obama cried.
He did so while announcing a series of executive actions to make background checks mandatory for all gun sellers, pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the budget for increased mental health care access, and hire hundreds of additional agents to assist with background checks. The President was overcome with emotion while surrounded by parents, relatives, and friends of those lost to gun violence over the years. When forced to recall the 20 dead elementary school children in Newtown, CT, the President of the United States wept in public and on camera.
And for that display, this father of two girls earned a whole bunch of people mocking him.
They called him a “pussy,” a “woman,” and a “fag.” President Sissypants, who needs to go home and cry to his mommy. They swore at him, derided him, and shouted from every rooftop that he’s weak. Soft. A crybaby ill-equipped to handle a job that clearly requires a “real man” at the helm.
But my concern isn’t with President Obama and his tears. It’s with anyone who thinks of the Sandy Hook shooting and doesn’t end up crying.
“As the pile got higher it appeared that there was a mad scramble to get into the bathroom, with people stepping on one another and climbing on top of each other. The teachers appeared to have been shepherding the children into the room and were then probably going to shut the door. They did not close and lock the door to the classroom for some reason and were interrupted by the shooter as they attempted to fill the bathroom with children. The shooter then opened fire on the mass of children and adults. As Sgt. Carrio got to the last bodies it was clear that no one had survived.” – incident report from the Newtown, CT Police Department
If you look at our tearful President — a father himself — and your first thought is to question his masculinity because he’s so upset, then I fear you’re broken. I worry you’re a shell of a human being, devoid of basic empathy and compassion. If a classroom of dead schoolchildren doesn’t move you to tears, I worry nothing will.
As the father of three boys, I’m also increasingly alarmed by how twisted the concept of masculinity has become in this country. Case in point:
Stop crying bitch. Obama Gets Emotional About Gun Control: Pictures https://t.co/L0wRap1iWf
— Hercules (@Vano1969) January 5, 2016
— Ruth Chavez (@EriemChavez) January 6, 2016
Obama cries fake tears… like a bitch
— Beanfrompa (@BeanfromPa) January 6, 2016
— QuackHead/PotterHead (@Duck_Hunter7) January 5, 2016
#Obama wants to take my guns so badly that it brings that little prick to tears… what a metrosexual pussy
— The Blind Pirate (@RealBlindPirate) January 6, 2016
First of all, calling someone a “woman” and using a pejorative term for female genitalia as an insult is ridiculous. And dumb. Women aren’t weak and using a colloquialism for vagina implies a lack of toughness, when nothing could be further from the truth. As a dad who has witnessed natural childbirth three times, I can personally attest to the power, wonder, toughness, and resiliency of said nether regions. It renders that particular misogynistic insult downright silly.
As for the crying, it’s a perfectly normal human response that in no way denotes a lack of strength.
I cried when I found out my wife was pregnant. I cried when my kids were born. I cried in uncertainty and fear when my middle child was in a Boston hospital at only 6 months old. I cried when my wife was in the throes of depression. Hell, I cry every time I watch the movie “Rudy.”
I damn sure cried when 20 children were viciously gunned down in their school. And you know what? I’ve cried every year since then. I tear up every single time I realize not even the most horrific thing imaginable — nearly two dozen innocent kids slaughtered in a classroom — was enough to spur action. I cry when it’s become apparent NRA rhetoric and guns are more important than children.
Forget for a second that no one is coming for anyone’s guns, and Obama’s executive actions are common sense restrictions that close loopholes and expand background checks — something a majority of Americans favor. Thinking this is a government conspiracy to confiscate guns is bad enough, but this crap about how men should truly act is just as damaging.
My three boys will damn sure know guns don’t make someone more of a man, and showing your feelings definitely doesn’t make you less of one. In fact, manhood has nothing to do with it. Expressing your feelings and showing empathy are signs of emotional intelligence and strength that know no gender. Being able to walk in someone else’s shoes is crucial, and when you’re the leader of the free world using your power to reduce the number of dead kids in classrooms even in the face of unadulterated hate? Well, that’s about the strongest thing I can think of.
Tears or no tears.