The way the country is going, someday soon, we are all going to be brought into a room where a Democratic leader and a Republican leader sit us down and say, “Kids, we have something to tell you. We’re getting divorced.”
At least that’s the suggestion by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican who has come up with some pretty ridiculous ideas in the past, but floated this “national divorce” concept recently and found, at least in one poll, that about a third of Americans would be OK with it.
Of course, when it comes to polls, you could get a third of Americans to say Elvis is still alive, doctors don’t know anything, and all weather balloons are secretly operated by the Chinese.
So it’s not the poll that concerns me, but the concept. Once you start to talk about divorce, it takes on a life of its own. Anytime you get frustrated with “the other side,” divorce coos a siren song that makes you mumble to yourself, “You know, maybe it’s not a bad idea …”
Trust me. It is. It’s also impossible. How exactly would you divorce the country? By red and blue states, as Greene suggested? Then what does Texas do with Austin? What does Georgia do with Atlanta?
What about swing states like Ohio or Maine, which have senators from both parties representing them?
Greene seems to feel that people who think like her belong on one side, people who don’t belong on the other.
Which is usually how it goes with divorce.
So who would get the kids?
“Tragically, I think we, the left and right, have reached irreconcilable differences,” Greene wrote on Twitter. “I’ll speak for the right and say, we are absolutely disgusted and fed up with the left cramming and forcing their ways on us and our children with no respect for our religion/faith, traditional values, and economic & government policy beliefs.”
Greene made predictions on how the nation’s two halves would differ once divorced.
“Red states would likely ban all gender lies and confusing theories, Drag Queen story times, and L.G.B.T.Q. indoctrinating teachers …” she wrote, “while blue states could have government-controlled gender transition schools.”
On election laws, she claimed, “In red states, they would likely pursue one day elections with paper ballots and require voter ID … blue states would be free to allow illegal aliens from all over the world to vote freely and frequently. … Dead people could still vote.”
She goes on, but you get the point. It’s more a comedy rant than a serious proposal. But then, in a nation where many people get their news from Comedy Central or late night hosts, we should be careful what we dismiss as laughable.
Our problems aren’t worth a split
I have a better idea.
Instead of a national divorce, I suggest a national road trip.
Like divorce, a road trip is something families endure sometimes. Like divorce, it can be contentious, argumentative, and aggravating.
But unlike divorce, it can offer perspective.
That’s why I suggest it. And here is where we would go, together, as a nation, sharing the back seat.
First, we’d stop in Ukraine, and remind ourselves what a country looks like when the enemy isn’t within but right on our doorstop, wiping out our cities.
Then we’d stop in Afghanistan, where women can’t even ride a bus without a man, and young girls are denied the chance to go to school.
Then off to Ethiopia, which is suffering its worst drought in 40 years, and death from malnutrition is commonplace.
Then to Haiti, where even street vendors can be kidnapped at gunpoint, and their families are forced to turn over what little they have to get their loved ones back.
We can wrap it up with visits to places with real internal conflicts, like Yemen, where one child dies every 10 minutes, or Myanmar, where they have been fighting a civil war for 60 years, and people are murdered by the thousands, their villages burned to the ground.
Maybe after such a trip, we would realize that splitting apart the world’s greatest experiment in democracy and diversity shouldn’t happen because we don’t like each other’s pronouns or voter ID rules.
America is a great country. But it is frequently, these days, a silly one. We don’t have the kind of problems that should rip a nation apart. We have enough food to feed everyone. We have enough resources and military might to be safe from outside attack. We have a standard of living that, compared to so much of the world, should make us ashamed to ever complain about anything.
Couples get divorced for many weak reasons. The smart ones stick it out. Taylor Greene may be half-joking, or she may be half-crazy, but she’s doesn’t represent half of us, or even close. The fact that we can even have these debates means we live in a pretty damn good place.
But if we need a road trip to remember that, I’ll drive.
Contact Mitch Albom: email@example.com. Check out the latest updates with his charities, books and events at MitchAlbom.com. Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom.