It was nice to see John Boehner crying tears of joy as he took over the Speaker of the House position from Nancy Pelosi this week. To paraphrase our vice president, this transition of power was a big flipping deal, and if Boehner had been anything but emotional, this liberal would have taken it even harder.
So I've bristled at the assertions that it will be hard to take the Ohio Republican seriously in his new job if he breaks out in tears at big moments.
Why? Because he's a man? Or because showing emotion is just not done in polite company?
Quick, get me a calendar. It's 2010, right?
I have my differences with the man (boy, do I have my differences), but there's something that only being a parent has been able to teach me: crying isn't for the faint of heart. Especially doing it in public.
That's where everything the scientists have proven is good about crying (It cleans our eyes of toxins and bacteria! It helps us see better! It lowers stress and improves mood!) is thrown out the window in favor of a host of movie cliches:
Boys don't cry.
There's no crying in baseball.
You're a crybaby!
Oh, yeah, we get it. Crying equals weakling. Forget what science says about how it bucks you up. Those scientists don't know what they're talking about. They probably hide in their labs at lunchtime boo-hooing because they can't find anyone to sit with them in the cafeteria.
Next thing you know, they'll be giving their little boys dolls to play with. And letting their wives go to work. Oh, wait, I did say it was 2010, didn't I?
In 2010, John Boehner is in his 10th term in Congress. He's publicly battled with Nancy Pelosi as House Republican Leader for two terms. He's hardly your prototypical geeky loner crying into his corn flakes in the morning.
He's just your typical American guy. Who knows that major life occurrences are plagued by emotions. It's healthy to get them out.
If only the rest of America would follow suit.
Image via John Boehner