Last week, there was a moment that embodied for me an important (but often overlooked) part of our President's legacy. In the midst of delivering his farewell address, President Obama paused to thank his wife, Michelle, for her kind and courageous leadership during his presidency.
“Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the south side, for the past twenty-five years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend,” he began, tears glistening in his eyes. “You took on a role you didn’t ask for," he continued, "and you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style.”
Obama wept, and he wasn’t alone. I watched with tears streaming down my face — and it was in that moment that I realized just how much it has meant to me, as a man, to watch my president cry.
Meaningful as it was, this was far from the first time that Obama has wept during a public address.
- He teared up when thanking his campaign staff after winning in 2012. His eyes were moist when he spoke in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.
- And perhaps most memorably, Obama broke down last year while advocating for gun control. When he said, “Our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped…from first graders in Newtown,” his soaring oratory was matched only by his emotional honesty. In that speech, Obama demonstrated exactly why crying should never be associated with being weak.