Al and Tipper Gore separating? No way!
Al and Tipper separating -- no way!
Posted Jun 03, 2010
I have to confess, when I saw the breaking news headline that Al and Tipper Gore were separating after being married for 40 years, I didn't believe it. Neither did my wife, who was sitting next to me when I read the news. And I still find it hard to believe.
It seems that I'm not alone, because if you skim some of the major national newspapers you'll see that the reaction ranges from dismay to disbelief. Meghan Daum has an opinion piece "Al and Tipper Gore: An Unexpected, Unsettling Breakup." Ellen McCarthy, writing in the Washington Post, has a piece "Al and Tipper Gore's Sad Love Story: Where Do We Begin ... To Express Our Sadness?" And so on. Just punch "Gore" into Google News and you'll see hundreds of stories and blog posts expressing the same reactions.
I agree with a lot of what writers like Daum and McCarthy have already said, but I think there are some other reasons for the general sense of disbelief, and even disappointment.
In today's politics, we seem to have so much instability and uncertainty. Politicians themselves seem to come and go, scandals abound, and political "sexcapades" seem to almost be the norm rather than the exception (plenty of examples of the latter come quickly to mind, for example just read the current political news coming out of South Carolina!). At this time there is no mention of any similar scandal involving either Al or Tipper, which makes the news even more difficult to believe.
So in that context, there was something about the long relationship between Al and Tipper that seemed durable and lasting. There seemed to be a stability there, some certainty --- a personal constant in an increasingly chaotic and uncertain political world.
But it is still difficult news to believe. As I was thinking this morning about their separation, I went to what I believe is Al Gore's "official" website. As of the time I write this on June 3, 2010, that website still has a link to "Tipper Gore's Photographs" (which is a beautiful website). And if you click on the "About" tab on Al's website, you the last paragraph of his bio still speaks of being married to Tipper in the present tense. Maybe events are happening more quickly than their website folks can keep up with or maybe the website folks don't believe the news either. But it is oddly ironic to read the material there given the news of their separation.
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