The Nature of Emotion

Despite the numerous problems facing this nation....the wars, health care, the deficit, a sluggish economy, political stalemate, etc., the media is mesmerized by John Boehner's tendency to cry in public. After all, America is a stoic country, proud of our military and economic power; we prefer a macho image: John Wayne, Dirty Harry and George Patton are the saints that we adore.

Nevertheless, humans are emotional creatures, a consequence of our large brains which provide the capacity to love, ponder, hope, remember, fear, regret, imagine and empathize. How we express these emotions is a product of our constitution and our childhood experience; our genetics, our family and our culture all influence this trait. Many of us are taught, sometimes admonished, to keep our emotions in check while others are encourged to be open and expressive, at times to excess.

One would hope that our opinion of others is based on their views and actions, not on their tendency or reluctance to show emotion. In the case of John Boehner, I am more concerned about his policies than his propensity to tear up in public. Indeed, I am less bothered by those who wear their emotions on their sleeves than by those who appear to be incapable of emotion, sensed or expressed.