Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop: A Letter to the Gores

It’s Thursday so here we go with the latest from Mama Kat!

3.) What current event do you feel strongly about? Write an opinion post!

I have lots of really big, loud, messy opinions on current events so picking one was hard.  I decided to address a subject (and two people) that hits close to home here.

Dear Vice-President and Mrs. Gore,

Gosh. Wow.  I mean…wow. You’re separating?  After over 40 years?

I don’t even know what to say.

You guys weathered a whole lot.  Your son was hit by a car. There were the years in Washington when Al was in Congress, then the Senate.  That’s no picnic, as I discussed in my letter to Michelle Obama. There was Tipper’s epic snit over the lyrics of “Darling Nikki” and the resulting Parent’s Music Resource Center warning labels that served as a beacon to kids everywhere, showing which albums would have the best music. There were the White House years when you had to play nice with President Bill Clinton even as he was forgetting to play nice with anyone but Monica.  Then there was Al losing the Presidential election. Only he didn’t really lose it.  He just…lost it. I’m sure that after that there were eight years of staring mutely at the world, wondering what you could have done differently if you’d only had the chance to be the First Couple. Then Al decided to save the world, which won him an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Nobel Prize.

That’s a whole lot of history together and those are only the parts I could see.  I don’t know anything about your wedding reception, or Thanksgiving in Tennessee, or your daughter’s first Christmas, or what you watch on tv before bed.  Your shared life is a long and probably vital one, with intimacies and idiosyncracies that no one else could possibly know.

So, why walk away from that?  What could have happened to make you both feel that, at this point, it’s better to walk the path alone than with the person who was the closest witness to you for so long?

Or was it the shared history that was too much?  Is it too hard to look into each other’s faces and see all those memories etched plainly there? Do you remind each other too closely of the disappointments and fears and unfulfilled dreams?  Is it too hard to take?

I’ve gotta say that it’s hard to see a couple like you go their separate ways. My marriage is only three years old and I have high hopes (and a ready supply of emotional elbow grease) that it will be a lifer of an institution. I’ve glanced around at couples like you, like my parents, and thought “I can do this”.  But maybe now, maybe not?  I mean, what happened? Can you tell me something that will make me think “Well, sure that’s unique to them!  The travel, the pressures of being leading figures, the scrutiny, that’s what did it!” Something, anything, that sets you apart from ordinary couples like me and my husband who will never find themselves inexorably drawn apart by a desire to save the whole world. Because I want to think that by thinking locally, as locally as my own home, and focusing my energy here, my story will end differently than yours.

Good luck to both of you, wherever life takes you now.  I hope you’ll forgive me for being disappointed that it didn’t take you there together.



Mama's Losin' It

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18 comments for “Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop: A Letter to the Gores

  1. June 3, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Visiting from Mama Kats….

    I think it is so hard to fully understand any marriage if you aren’t in it. If nothing else, I’m happy for them if this was the choice they decided to make after all this time … why stick with something if it isn’t working for you? I hope it was amicable though.

  2. KLZ
    June 3, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I agree – these lifelong marriages breaking up both breaks my heart and starts little shivers of fear running down my spine.

  3. June 3, 2010 at 9:29 am

    It is almost surreal to see.

  4. June 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I have to agree. I heard about it, and was shocked. I would be about a hundred times LESS shocked if it *had* been the Clintons. But the Gores? I mean I’ve seen them in interviews, I’ve seen the footage of them when they weren’t even being interviewed. She has always seemed like a rock. There was never a scandal. They were just the most normal political couple. And now…..I know it’s none of my business (at all!) but I want to know WHY. Please just tell me WHY so I can not do that. Or prepare for that.

  5. Peg
    June 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

    friend of mine from high school divorced his best friend (for whom he dumped me back in high school) giving this reason: ‘she was slowly grinding me down & i was slowly grinding her down… so we decided to divorce.’

    scared the snot out of me, because I saw up close & personal how right they were for each other. I begin to think the trick is to keep hanging out, going on dates, and all those other things one does with friends to keep the friendship alive.

    Which is not as easy as it sounds, btw. The simple things never are….

  6. June 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Amen to this!! This scared the jigglers out of me. My marriage is just shy of 10 years and I have so much invested I can’t imagine walking away. I imagine after 40 years I would sooner kill him and bury the body than walk away from ALL OF THAT WORK! How do you train a new husband after 40 years?? My great grandparents were married for over 70 years. They were married longer than they were single. While my grandpa was dying my grandma sat by his side and held his hand. She wouldn’t eat unless we took food to her there. She had to be coaxed away to shower and change clothes. At the time I thought two things. 1. I hope Joe and I are like that after 70 years 2. I hope Joe and I can make it 70 years!!

    They give me hope. My grandma died two months ago, a little over a year from when my grandpa died. When she was dying she wasn’t scared at all. She just kept saying she couldn’t wait to be with my grandpa again. THAT’S a powerful love. It does exist.

  7. June 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I’ve wondered the same things.

    My first husband I divorced after a 17 year history, and the history itself almost became enough to save.


    Almost can be an awfully big word.

  8. June 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

    It’s so sad. I felt a little sad for both of them that something that lasted 40 years wasn’t enough to last another 40. But what do I know? I’m with you… I feel like my marriage is worth working on. It’s worth taking it for life… for the long haul. It is always sad to me when a couple like the Gores or even like Susan Sarandan and Tim Robbins split up. 🙁

  9. June 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    “My marriage is only three years old and I have high hopes (and a ready supply of emotional elbow grease) that it will be a lifer of an institution. I’ve glanced around at couples like you, like my parents, and thought “I can do this”. But maybe now, maybe not? ”

    Yes! This is what freaks me out, every time! Compound it with the fact that I was a child of divorce myself (and that divorce was rampant among my aunts and uncles as well), and begin to think that staying together is *impossible*!

  10. June 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I too was saddened by this breakup, though I’m not sure why. I know that NOBODY knows what happens inside a marriage, and it’s anybody’s guess why they’d both decide that it’s time to call it a day.

    They’re still relatively young (early 6os), so they have lots of time to find that sense of contentment by themselves, or with a new partner?

    And what really gets me? Who the heck would have believed that the Gores are separating, while the Clintons, of all people, stay married?

  11. liz
    June 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    i’m with you. after 40 years, why split up? you’ve weather all the hard times of life, both job-wise and family-wise. now is where you should retire and relax and enjoy each other.

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  13. June 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I am with you on this—though I have to admit, being divorced myself there comes a time when you know that staying it in will only destroy you. Being newly remarried, I have the same lifer goals…and my hope is that the second time around, I finally knew who I was enough to find someone that I could just be me with- forever.

  14. June 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Forty years is a looooong time. Honestly, I can’t quite imagine it, even when I realize my husband and I have been together for almost 12 years. God help me, three times that and one of us might be begging to leave. (Kidding, kidding.) (I think.)

  15. June 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Love this letter – I felt the same way when I heard the news. Something about those long-term, permanently connected in your head couples breaking up just seems to tragic and discouraging.

  16. June 5, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Okay, I need to get out more. I’m in China, so my access to the news is maybe a little off, but I hadn’t heard this. Seriously? They’re really separating? That does seem like a shocker somehow.

  17. June 9, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    It makes it so scary for the rest of us…

  18. June 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’d like to offer a different perspective. I would have felt the same way when I was still married, but now I realize that divorce can be quite liberating. History can be a burden as well. In fact, I love the fact that when I date someone new, they look at me without the baggage of shared disappointments and resentments.

    Your marriage is your marriage. Just because theirs is dissolving doesn’t mean that yours will too. Yours will survive if you want it to.

    I am writing a blog about the joys and humorous moments of divorced living and I wrote about the Gores. Check it out.

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