I am sure almost all reading this blog post have seen the video of President Obama crying as he thanked his campaign staff in Chicago, and if not, you must live under a rock. Not only did Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina email the video out to those subscribed to Obama campaign emails (or those left who had not unsubscribed due to massive amounts of annoying emails this campaign sent daily urgh), it also popped up all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Seriously, this video was everywhere, and people seemed to love it. For example, my friend messaged me the clip with the words “AWWWWW” as the subject. I then went on to find an article about this video by Mary Elizabeth Williams because I was interested in seeing what the mass media thought about this vunerable moment of President Obama’s.
To see what this Salon.com article thought about this video, one just had to read the headline: “For crying out loud, we love you, Obama!” The main idea of this article was that this moment of tearfulness from President Obama affirmed that he is a leader with a heart, which is exactly why his supporters voted for him.
What I personally first questioned was what taste performance was President Obama channeling? Because this was filmed, this is a performance of some kind, and one could even argue that because Obama is president and is always watched, everything he does is a performance. The Salon.com article argues that President Obama is channeling both an differentiation and authentic taste performance. I would agree with this. Why both? In my opinion, President Obama is unique due to the fact that I cannot picture another president or presidential nominee showing so much emotion. Try imagining Mitt Romney crying when thanking his supporters. No, it’s just impossible. Williams writes “it’s that it’s an almost unprecedented display of vulnerability, one that suits both the president and the mood of the nation he leads right now.” Is President Obama trying to be different from his political colleagues on purpose as to gain support? One could be a cynic and say yes, but I’d like to say he is genuine. And because he is genuine, President Obama is also channeling an authentic taste performance. He was so genuinely happy to win the election through the support of his campaign staff that it showed through his emotions.
So, as President Obama said in his election night speech, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.” And now we now that you can be an emotional guy and make it as President of the United States too.