Watching the news I viewed President Obama standing before a large audience of supporters after the election,…after his election. I was not witnessing the usual wide smile and bright eyes on our president’s face, but instead a stream of tears. What’s happened I thought, waiting for what seemed like an inevitable revelation of some traumatic world event. But what came forth was news of a grateful Obama, who was overwhelmed by the gift of hard work and support toward his election from his campaign team. His words shared his gratitude. His tears substantiated it. I didn’t need his tears, but I understood them.
An hour later on a CNN news feature an anchor was speaking about the same scenario; not reporting the event, but instead asking a question. “Will President Obama’s tears be seen as a sign of weakness?”
I couldn’t tell if his question was an aside, an “in the moment” thought on his part, or some analysis, perhaps to fill time. Was he asking the weakness question of himself perhaps, or his news team, or us on our couches at home? I hope he was asking it of himself. I hope he came up with a healthy answer, and will question his responsibility of reporting such limiting judgments in the future.
His topic shifted. I didn’t! I felt some disbelief that I’d heard him correctly. Even wondered if I had. It gave me a momentary sick feeing in the pit of my stomach. I wondered his intent. I wondered reality. I struggled for my own assurance that we’re not in that dark a place in this time of 2012. I wanted to be sure of the growth of my people, that they know there is strength in coming from the heart. I know that’s where tears come from for whatever reason.
I held a great appreciation that Obama was elected for a lot of reasons. I had my own list of why I voted for him. All through the campaign, there was so much politicking and complicated explanations of what would be done if elected. I knew Obama had not fulfilled all his promises, and I knew some of the reasons he couldn’t, and I wanted him to have the chance of continuing. I also knew there is a tremendous heart in Obama, and I knew that was what I wanted. It scares the beegeebers out of me to contemplate any leader not having heart. I view the heart presence as paramount, crucial, mandatory.
So as I viewed Obama’s news clip, I was aware that I was witnessing a man in a moment of deep feeling. Didn’t you? He was a man steeped in gratitude to his people, and it was flowing over the top. He was looking at his journey in the campaign, all the work, money, support, effort, determination, that had brought him a victory. It was a success, and because of it he was moved to tears. It had opened his heart. As a friend of mine has said in the past, “It cracked him open.”
Let me state right here and now, that I am so grateful for politicians, teachers, caregivers, and news reporters that come from their heart. I’ve heard it said that heart is why we need more women in government. I’m going to say I’m even passed that. I want to know, assume, trust that men can come from their heart as easily as women, and will in all moments of decision, leadership, and choice.
It’s the old paradigm that it is not alright to cry, especially for men. Marlo Thomas wrote a wonderful song in the 70’s, “It’s Alright To Cry,” for FREE TO BE YOU AND ME. It was a show aimed at children and was filled with so many directives toward being in touch with and expressing feelings. No more strident, rigid, non-feeling behavior; freeing everyone, men, women, boys and girls to feel life and express it openly. Perhaps we need to bring it back, so we can feel the challenge again.
That show was in the 70’s! This is a different decade, even a different century! It’s time to look at our should’s and our judgements, the chains we put on our expressions and emotions, and move into being free, valuing without exception, each other’s presence of heart in all of life.