(The Guardian) -- n Thursday, Joe Biden had a very human reaction after Obama surprised him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At a farewell tribute, the vice-president grabbed a tissue from his back pocket and started to bawl. He took deep breaths, wiped away tears and stared into cameras and smartphones with glistening eyes.
The heartfelt response to being presented the highest civilian award is completely warranted – I’ve shed bigger tears watching dog videos. But Biden’s bawl is noteworthy because it’s rare to see male politicians display “feminine” behavior in public. While it’s important that guys see high-profile depictions of healthy masculinity, the president and vice-president’s emotional vulnerability over the past eight years has made politics a more welcoming place for women.
Male politicians usually showcase stereotypically alpha characteristics. Donald Trump and Chris Christie are bullies who use schoolyard insults to weaken their opponents. Anthony Weiner and Bill Clinton are charismatic megalomaniacs whose insatiable egos are fuelled by political power and sexual conquest. Bernie Sanders yells until he’s red in the face to make a point.
Advertisement - story continues below