The difference between womanly and womanish — like the difference between manly and macho — is instructive. It reminds us that even the traits we admire most have, like all things human, their dark side. Gentleness may become weakness; strength may become belligerence — and so on.
Witness President Barack Obama’s performance after his attempt to violate the Second Amendment met the fate it deserved. He could have responded to the setback in a womanly manner: with warmth, understanding and compassion. Maybe wear something nice to make himself appealing. Sympathize with our concerns. Represent the moral attitude he wishes we’d aspire to.
Instead, he was petulant, scolding, hectoring — refused to take any responsibility for his actions. Womanish. See the distinction?
All right, I’m clowning around. But really, I’m not one of those wingers who hates the president. I don’t think he’s evil, not even a little. But can anyone — on either side — remember a moment when this man inspired us? I mean, all of us, together? Can anyone think of a day on which he lifted our hearts or moved us toward unity or did not seize on a crisis to demonize the opposition and so divide us?