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My Daughter Needs to Cry


I won’t pretend that I understand the particulars, but I do know this: sometimes my daughter needs to cry.  I don’t really get “it”, but I do know it’s true. So I deal with it, and do my best to support her.  She has two older brothers who also cried quite a bit when they were younger, but they’ve outgrown that impulse. For whatever reason, my daughter is very different in that crying, in and of itself, is a sort of cathartic event.  She does it. She re-emerges. And voila. All is well. I can’t really comprehend how this works.  It just does.

To be sure, I’ve had girlfriends, and currently have a wife, for whom this elixir of tears also seems to “work”. And I’ve never understood, even while I tried to accommodate and be supportive.  It’d be a lie to say that “I get it” with my daughter, but I am strangely sympathetic in a way that I never was before.  While I don’t fully understand, I do get this: sometimes people need to cry in order to process things.  I don’t think that’s so awful.

What is awful is when those tears (real or conjured) are used to manipulate people. Here I should add a caveat: I am pretty good at discerning when my daughter is crying because she just needs to, and when she just wants something.  When anyone, whether my daughter or others, uses those tears to manipulate people, well … that makes me angry. I don’t like being manipulated. In fact, it really winds me up.

There are quite a few people who are winding me up this way lately.  Everyone from Standing Rock “protesters” (how many of y’all have ever even been to North Dakota before this?) to BLM protesters (“hands up, don’t shoot”, huh?), to Occupy whatever their bugaboo is this month; I’m sick of these wannabe ‘60s radicals pretending they stand for anything other than the advancement of radical anti-capitalism, at best, or just not getting an outcome they most desired. Your tears mean absolutely nothing to me.

And yet, I am sympathetic to those who have been devastated by the election of Donald Trump.  I didn’t want him either, but neither did I want Obama.  I didn’t cry about it, or beat people up because of it.  I didn’t do anything other than express my opinion. Maybe you all could learn something.

If you need to cry about this, then I understand … sort of.  I will be sympathetic, even if I don’t fully get it.  If you act like the thugs on Inauguration Day in D.C., or in Seattle the other day, or in Berkeley last night, then I’ve no sympathy.  You don’t need to cry.  You need to be taught a lesson.  One that I hope you never have to be taught.  But if you keep this up, it will come.

One last piece of advice for those who act like they need to cry: be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.

Michael J. Wade

Michael is an attorney who lives in Fairfax, VA and has been practicing since 2001.  He graduated from George Mason School of Law (now known as the Antonin Scalia Law School) in 2001, and from Washington & Lee University in 1990 (B.A. European History).  Michael originally began writing opinion pieces in 2002, eventually teaming up with some like-minded individuals to blog at A Second Hand Conjecture, before becoming a part of the Questions and Observations (QandO.net) team where he currently does a weekly podcast.  Michael was also a contributor to the Washington Times.

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