June 19, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 23:00
I was raised in a world where it was the ultimate embarrassment for grown men to cry, and that’s the way I lived for much of my life — a tearless emotional cripple, a Clint Eastwood veneer on the outside and a tormented soul on the inside.
We were Italians and supposed to be full of emotion, but in our family, displays of emotion, except for anger, were ridiculed, and God forbid the poor person who was foolish enough to weep.
So the debate over Speaker of the House John Boehner’s tendency to pull out the handkerchief and sniffle is somewhat amusing to me. I still cringe. I still look the other way — isn’t that the polite thing to do? — even though I wish I had a little of whatever it is that lets him turn on the tears so easily.
Nevertheless, I still believe there should be a serious cause for grown men to cry publicly, and that we shouldn’t be getting all weepy just because the boss gives us a bonus.Actor and commentator Charles Grodin was one of many people who weighed in on Boehner’s display of tears when he took the gavel from Nancy Pelosi — along with a few newspapers that ran the photo on the front page and told him to get a grip.
Grodin said it’s “not a good idea” for the speaker to get dewy-eyed and then offered this benediction: “If you’re going to cry — man or woman — there’s plenty of things worth crying over.”
And he related the story of a young man who did a tour of duty in Iraq and returned home to Westport before he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan, and he died in a car accident.
Despite my deficiency, I’m convinced tears of compassion are a sign that we’re still human in an increasing inhuman world.
If we don’t have compassion, what have we become?
Lord Byron, the English poet who was a both a romantic and an eccentric, once said, “the dew of compassion is a tear.”
As some sort of cosmic joke, the older I get, the more I find it difficult to control the tears forming in my eyes when I see the suffering around us.
And I had no control when I read the story of nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who just received her First Communion and had been elected to the student council at her elementary school, so a neighbor took her to see Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords speaking outside a Tucson grocery store. It was there she was shot dead with five other people when a madman opened fire at point-blank range.
Born on Sept. 11, 2001, Christina-Taylor often told her mother, “We are so blessed. We have the best life.” She and other babies born on 9-11 were featured in a book titled Faces of Hope.
Now, part of that hope has been lost, so I have to wonder, what else is there to do but cry for her, cry for all the victims and cry for our nation?
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