I follow not only the American Primaries, but also coverage of, and debates surrounding the primaries, closely.
Some may think that odd, but the thing is my Dad is an American, and mired deeply in politics. So when he calls, if I am not up to speed and ready to debate the current political climate, I wouldn’t even answer the phone. It’s a competition, like a quiz show, and if I don’t know the answer- I lose points. So there is the driving force behind my motivation.
This week I have been thinking about the much publisised and scrutinized demonstrations of affection by Democratic Candidates Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Somehow, the concept of emotional expression has worked itself into the political debate. It all started when Hillary “teared up” during a press conference.
She was both praised and lambasted in the media for her “show of affection”. “Hillary tears up on the campaign trail”, screamed the headlines. Uh uh. Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of rigid stoicism, and I would venture that the tears were about as choreographed as a ballet. As planned as the time she was busted for planting questions in an audience or when two thugs burst into a hall where she was giving a speech waving wrinkly shirts around and screaming at her to iron them. I don’t buy manufactured emotion.
Real emotion, however, is something I can get behind. Barack Obama infuses his rhetoric with raw emotion, and has been criticized for it.
Both Clinton and Obama are being followed by a pack of note-pad weilding journalists who feel compelled to report on every little idiosyncrasy, such as Obama’s penchant for tea with honey and oatmeal cookies.
And Obama’s speech at Martin Luther King’s church has some real feeling in it. Watch it. And I dare you not to cry.
I like real emotion because it humanizes politicians and destabilizes the manufactured images created by the political machine.