What I learned from the Al Gore divorce

I said a week ago that I was going to stay far away from the Al Gore divorce matter.

I have decided to rethink my position on the matter, and am going to tread very lightly for what should be obvious reasons.

First of all, my heart goes out to the man. His policies are diametrically opposed to mine. I find him on environmental matters to be hypocritical and phony. Yet his love for Tipper, his mate of four decades, seemed very genuine. I did not like her assault on rock musicians in the 1980s. Yet she seemed very happy as his wife. They both seemed to love their children. Their daughters blossomed. Their son has had his troubles, but many families have problems. The kid is not a mass murderer.

So outside of politics, they seem like a good family.

Normally I stay far away from this stuff, but there really is a legitimate teachable moment to be found in this situation.

The reason I am even approaching this issue at all is because a few days after Al and Tipper announced their intentions to separate, their daughter Karenna Gore Schiff announced that she and her husband of 13 years were divorcing. In 2009, their other daughter announced her divorce.

Three marriages in one nuclear family breaking up is painful, but again gave me some food for thought.

I am going to immediately and upfront concede that I have no idea why any of these divorces are occurring. There is no evidence that any bad behavior such as infidelity or abuse occurred.

One may ask why I am even bothering with this issue. That is a fair question.

My motives are honorable. I believe a divorce is a tragedy. It is the death of a marriage. Yes, it can be a positive occurrence, especially if their is abuse. Nobody should stay in an abusive relationship. Yet the fact that about 50% of marriages end in divorce is awful. The destruction of the nuclear family is the biggest societal breakdown in America. Many social ills stem from children coming from broken homes.

So why should a political blog cover this?

There is actually a political angle to this story. In the case of the various Gore family members, I can only offer speculation. It may be wild conjecture, and it may be reasonable inferences. Yet it is speculation nonetheless. However, in many other families there is evidence of the political destruction of families.

I believe that too many political activists lose sight of what matters most until it is too late.

My theory about Al Gore is that he went off the environmental rails. All of his global jet setting around the world came at a heavy price. When one is never in the same city for more than a couple days at a time, it is tough to enjoy family meals at the dinner table.

While the Gore analysis is theoretical, the Cindy Sheehan case is factual.

Cindy Sheehan became an activist due to the grief of her losing her son in a war. She found solace in her activism, and in the crowds of people who embraced her. Yet she became so obsessed that she began upsetting her husband and living children. They pleaded with her to come home. She refused to listen. Her husband filed for divorce. Not surprisingly, once the other liberal activists had no further use for her, they cast her aside.

She became an activist out of love for her family. She lost her entire family. She lost sight of why she was fighting. She lost everything.

This is by no means a liberal problem. Bob Dole and his first wife simply grew apart. He conceded himself that he made excuses. He was not forced to go to another rubber chicken dinner. He chose to do so. His second wife shared his activism, and they are happily married.

“Growing apart” is not a crime, but is it avoidable? I have no idea. I have never been married.

Yet what I do know is that a person with a family should make their family their top priority. It is called making sacrifices.

We are told we can have it all. Maybe we can’t.

The women’s movement lambasted stay at home moms. Hillary Clinton ridiculed ladies who stay home and bake cookies. Yet I have run into many traditional wives, and they are very happy. They feel fulfilled. Women should not be forced to stay home, but they should not be abused by the left if they choose to do so. After all, wasn’t the women’s movement about choice?

I don’t want to see any good marriage fail. I don’t want to see children have to visit one parent on weekends only. Ideally, all children would have a loving mother and father.

Yet when people spend every waking minute worrying about trees, animals, and insects, they often forget about human beings, especially the ones in their own lives who matter most.

Al Gore has millions of dollars. He has worldwide recognition, fame, and various awards. Yet he no longer has his wife, his life partner.

Cynical people will say that Al Gore can now start sleeping with barely legal coeds. That gets old quickly.

(Ok, it gets old eventually. Maybe not that quickly.)

Yet when he is traveling around the world and staying in a five star hotel, that giant hotel room with its giant hotel bed will feel very isolating without his forever love to share it with. The man may be thought of as made of wood, but he is blood and plasma like the rest of us. He feels pain. Any human being in his situation would.

I think about this because I am 38 years old. I am on the road much of the year. I speak to adoring crowds and get many standing ovations.

My parents want me to get married, but I cannot and will not do that unless I believe I can give her what she needs.

I have three choices.

1) Give up my political travel. That is not going to happen unless I get a six figure radio deal (That was a hint radio people. Show me the money.).

2) Stay single. This is not desirable, but it is what it is.

3) Find a life partner like Bob Dole did who enjoys being part of a power couple. Find someone who is willing to occasionally travel with me, laugh at the jokes she has heard before ad nauseum, tolerate rubber chicken dinners, and be a political spouse.

My obligation in this case would be to make sure to take breaks. Take real family vacations. Replenish and rejuvenate the union. Listen to her when she just needs a loving ear and shoulder to lean on.

I recently met a phenomenal woman. She has potential to be everything I have ever wanted.

I have made a promise to myself and her that I will not let politics get in the way of what matters most.

I hope that the Gore family is able to heal. I hope that political activists everywhere remember what they are truly fighting for.

It is tough balancing a political life and a family. Barack Obama is criticized by many for his decisions as the leader of the free world, but he seems to be doing an excellent job as the father of his household. Whether he succeeds as president or fails, I predict that he will succeed as a husband and father. His children will have a better chance of being good and happy adult citizens because of this.

We need to reduce the number of divorces in this country. I am not speaking legally, but morally.

We need to somehow figure out what we can do as a society to have stronger marriages and families. For one thing, we could listen to people that have bucked the odds and succeeded at this challenging but rewarding set of endeavors.

The pain has to stop. We need to find balance, and remember what matters most.

If we continue getting this wrong, our entire society will be like many households…broken.


4 Responses to “What I learned from the Al Gore divorce”

  1. Micky 2 says:

    I think Tippers hooking up with Ozzy

  2. Micky 2 says:

    Oh, and the multiple households that will be a result of this are muder on the environment

  3. There are two things at play here. One is a simply a symptom of life in an “advanced” Western culture. We are “free,” we are “independent,” and we have smaller and smaller families. But in America, in particular, unlike the rest of the Western world, we work too much and for too little money. That combination of things – wroking too much and fretting over money – are family killers.


  4. Micky 2 says:

    “That combination of things – wroking too much and fretting over money – are family killers.’

    Hmmm… I always thought it was abortion. But what do I know ?

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