All Dads Cry, Even Presidents

Last Tuesday, President Obama revealed several new executive initiatives intended to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Although derided by some as moves intended to further his “gun control agenda”, the new measures actually contained very little that could be construed as actual attempts to control gun ownership.

One of his main points was to make those “in the business of selling firearms” to register as dealers, with the responsibilities and limitations that designation carries. It doesn’t seem that somebody who earns their primary income this way should have been able to say that they weren’t a dealer in the first place.

Another measure would be to require background checks of customers at gun shows as are required at other retail outlets. This also seems like common sense. Why have a rule that applies some places and not others? The argument that criminals don’t purchase guns legally and thus avoid background checks anyway seems irrelevant. Theft and murder aren’t eliminated by laws against them, but does that mean that we shouldn’t bother with those laws?

Recently my wife obtained her pistol permit after a lengthy process which included a background check by the FBI.  I’m comforted by the fact that if she had a previously undisclosed attempted murder conviction for assaulting an ex or a long stay in a psychiatric facility for psychotic delusions it would at least be harder for her to obtain weaponry.

I wasn’t surprised by the immediate condemnation of the President’s words and ideas by many. There is a segment of the population that will always jump to the conclusion that the government is trying to kick down down their doors and deprive them of their second amendment right anytime there is any proposal that brings us further from the freedoms of the western frontier of the 1800s.

I was surprised by the amount of vitriol directed towards him for crying.

While discussing the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left twenty children and six adults dead, the President of the United States of America stopped to wipe away tears. The man that the press used to refer to as “President Spock” was now being mocked for showing emotion.

I remember that December morning. I cried. While deciding whether or not to write this piece I re-read some of the police reports and accounts from that day and I cried again.

Some have said that the President is supposed to be stronger than that. That he showed the world his weakness and emboldened our enemies.  I agree that I want somebody strong in charge, but there is a difference between strength and bluster. Don’t we also want one of the most powerful people in the world to be empathetic and capable of compassion?

My purpose here isn’t to defend Barack Obama, as I’ve been disappointed by him on multiple issues, or to further any type of perceived ant-gun agenda of my own. I don’t have one. My agenda is one of common sense and reasonable dialogue, one of compromise and sanity. I don’t understand the complete opposition to measures that ensure protection of rights while also potentially making a tragedy like Sandy Hook less likely in the future.

Cable “news” has long ago turned into nothing more than partisan propaganda. The days of political neutrality and unbiased reporting a thing of the past. Accusing a father of two of faking his tears or comparing him to female genitalia seems to be a new low for an industry that I wouldn’t have thought could sink any lower.

I’m also a father of two, and I cry. I’m particularly prone to tears when I think of small children being systematically hunted down and slaughtered. I would have grave concerns about a society run by somebody that didn’t.






17 thoughts on “All Dads Cry, Even Presidents”

  1. That’s why I stopped watching the news. I see it every day on Facebook, all the hatred from my old classmates, people who are smart, get sucked into the propaganda surroundings today’s politics. I’m disappointed in the President as well, but you make good points about his points and I certainly agree that I didn’t think the news channels could sink any lower than to insult the man for crying about a tragedy that almost everyone throughout the entire world cried over. It’s very human to get emotional, especially over something so tragic. My opinion: The News Channels are an enemy to the people. They are the ones who continue to incite hatred by pitting one side against the other, no matter the issue. Respectable reporting has pretty much gone extinct. #anythinggoes

    1. Its really hard to find any anchor or show that just tells what is going on without trying to spin it to further an agenda

  2. A good post. I like the point about being surprised if people didn’t cry when having to confront some of the horrors of the world.

    I really liked his previous speech for that reason. It came across as genuine anger at both the situation and the fact that it happens time and time again and that he had enough of the excuses.


  3. It’s really scary to me that a man being in touch with his emotions is a sign of weakness. I am going to teach my son to feel for other people and to feel comfortable expressing that, I almost feel that in doing that I am putting him at a disadvantage #AnythingGoes

    1. If he grows up to be a good man, the advantages will still outweigh the bad. At least that’s what we all have to continue hoping

  4. As a Brit, I don’t get the whole gun thing at all. It seems completely bizarre to me that people need more ID to register to vote in the US – if I understand FB correctly – than to get weapons in some states.

    1. unfortunately that is accurate. In some states there is an attempt to keep certain “undesirables” from easy access to voting. If they want to shoot each other, that’s fine though

  5. I’m in the UK but of course the President’s tears were broadcast worldwide. I would hope that all leaders feel empathy and compassion for the people they represent, and I think showing us their human side is a powerful tool. The right to gun ownership is clearly a very emotive subject it the States, but not something that is easy for us to understand over here. I have to be honest and say that I am thankful that I never need to consider whether there might be guns in the house when my kids visit their friends.

  6. I think maybe this is a two pronged issue. I do not have an issue with anyone crying – man, woman, or child.

    But in this particular case, maybe part of the problem is less a man crying and more this particular man crying. Anyone on the public stage has to understand that any time you express emotions on the public stage, you will most likely receive some feedback that you are using the emotions to further your agenda.

    The second possibility again may come from not everyone views him being authentic. Anytime you feel you have previously been manipulated or fooled in the past, you will have a different frame of mind the next time you have an interaction with the same person.

    As I think about the U.S. on a much larger world front, it is also possible that people feel our leader should be putting on a stronger front. When you realize that we are against enemies (and have frienemies) who view America as a weak country that does not stand up for itself, seeing a president on TV crying can send the wrong message. Not to people in our country, we understand the context. But do you think in the Middle East, Obama crying is being explained or is it becoming a propaganda piece and furthering the view that America is weak and should be put down?

    While I do not understand anyone’s motives behind name calling or railing against a man for showing emotions, I do think this is a multi-layered issue. It is not just about men showing emotion, it is about a segment of the population that feels it has been lied to, about people feeling manipulated, and people being concerned with the world view of America.

    Anyway, just some thoughts I had as I was reading. I personally have no issue with men showing emotions of any kind. Would probably make us a more healthy society than everyone walking around pent up and medicated all the time.

    1. You make some good points and there is very little you said that I would disagree with. If it had been tears shed over a different issue, I probably wouldn’t have found the criticism so misguided and uncalled for. There are always going to be people that attack any politician based purely on what party they belong to, but I think when it comes to certain issues such partisan pettiness should be put aside. I want our county to be viewed as strong to the world, but I also want to continue to be a country where we value life and can mourn the passing of innocents. I might feel different if he was up there bawling, but it was just wiping away a misty eye. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. People have less tolerance of politicians as one might think that a lot of things, including tears are just be part of a campaign. But I do think this might stem from the outdated notion that “men don’t cry” but I think crying is a natural response not restricted to any one particular gender. Crying is part of being human and shouldn’t be used in judgement against someone, whether politician or not.

    The gun laws – sometimes what we think should be common sense isn’t as common as we think? There will always be controversy and opposition. I have not lived in a country with guns so I don’t really know how I would react. Thanks for providing some food for thought and sharing with #abitofeverything

    1. I think you hit on both aspects of this situation. Some thought her was faking for effect and others thought it was weak and un-manly

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