Patricia A. Nugent: (Everyone) Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Unamerica broke up with America on Election Day. It was messy, especially since Unamerica had violated the pre-nup written in 1776. Unamerica got tired of that black guy hanging around the House so it became rageful and violent. And then there was Unamerica’s shameless flirtation with that shirtless bad boy across the ocean; shared emails from a private server blew the cover off that liaison. Late night tweets also exposed the infidelity and broken trust. America is devastated – can’t eat or sleep, so worried about how Unamerica will behave untethered. And how the children will handle the break-up. Will Unamerica provide child support?
Seeking a new start – to feel great again like in its youth – Unamerica also broke up with World. World had already been feeling insecure about the relationship, but then Unamerica declared it would no longer defend World against bullies. Unamerica wants to put itself first so demanded its freedom. Vows broken, it will deport the statue of that bleeding-heart woman because she doesn’t fit the new décor. Unamerica doesn’t really welcome those poor, tired immigrants yearning to be free; that was just something it said early on in the relationship so World would like it. World is wondering why Unamerica became so nasty when it once had such moral authority.
Similarly, Voter broke up with Truth. And with History. (Actually, Voter began to just ignore History.) Surreptitiously, in the dead of night, Voter eloped with Inflammatory Rhetoric – a much more exciting partner. Voter no longer wanted to listen to reasoned discourse, craving raw passion instead. Truth was boring, while Voter’s new love got its adrenaline going. Voter found itself turned on by Inflammatory Rhetoric’s ridicule and humiliation – fifty shades of white. Being lied to and cheated on doesn’t even bother Voter anymore. Truth is still hoping for a chance with Media even though repeatedly rejected in the past.
Constitution broke up with Bill of Rights on Election Day too. Talk, talk, talk – that First Amendment just won’t shut up! (Voting Rights had already gotten dumped a few years back without much fanfare.) Constitution didn’t like being constantly nagged about liberty. Too much freedom isn’t good for a relationship; it gives the impression of equality. There’s a need for control – except not guns, which are surely needed when a partner gets out of hand. Bill of Rights has sought refuge in a domestic violence shelter, its unwanted babies sent to unregulated orphanages in a tower.
Most astounding, Christian broke up with Jesus the very same day. (Some say they’d seen that coming for a while.) God is still OK, but his son is way too progressive. Christian no longer wants to hear sweet nothings about the poor, forgiveness, or justice. It’s tired of those once-fascinating-but-now-hackneyed stories Jesus told. Jesus had too many rules about tolerance and compassion; the Beatitudes and Ten Commandments were a downer. Christian is discarding those letters to the Corinthians because love is no longer willing to be patient or kind. Christian is tired of being its brothers’ keeper; it wants to exclude outsiders without feeling guilty about casting stones. Allah is not welcome within the walls and fences of Christian’s gated community. But surprisingly, Adultery has gained admittance. Hard to explain. Jesus fears being deported back to Jerusalem with his Middle Eastern relatives.
Neighbor broke up with Neighbor, Friend with Friend, and Family with Family. The once good-natured arguments became too heated and bitter, with no one listening to the other. Some are conflict adverse, preferring to just get along rather than be authentic. Holiday celebrations are slated for separate quarters because being together would open fresh wounds. The dinnerware has been split between households, the guest list now fragmented. After all, when there’s a break-up, most people feel they have to choose sides.
Then there’s always that sinking feeling that one didn’t really know the other in the first place.