The Dream they Dreamed, Gone By
posted at 10:29 pm on June 1, 2010 by Slublog
This picture was taken on May 19, 1970 and it depicts a moment that these two had anticipated for some time. In the years previous, these two had met, dated, fallen in love and courted. Eventually, on a day unknown to us, a young Albert Gore nervously held a ring in his hand while asking the woman he loved to marry him. This is no small thing. One of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life is the moment I dropped to my knee, took a ring out of my pocket and proposed to my now-wife. To this day, I can recall exactly where I was, what the weather was like, the look on my now-wife’s face at the time and how the gravel against my knee felt while I knelt. I’ve been married over a decade now but, to indulge in a cliche, I can remember that moment now as though it was yesterday.
I suspect Al and Mary Elizabeth Gore have reminisced, separately, about the early days of their relationship in recent weeks or months. I have no idea what the Gore marriage was like behind closed doors, but the fact that it lasted 40 years is enough to convince me of their affection and commitment to one another. That it didn’t last surprisingly saddens me. Like Jim Geraghty, I am surprised that a marriage that survived so much is ending at such a seemingly odd time.
Forty years is a long time. I am only slightly younger than the Gore marriage. Despite what I feel about Al Gore politically, I was always impressed by the fact that he and his wife seemed to have a stable, loving relationship. When Gore lip-locked Tipper at the 2000 convention, I thought it was a bit much, but at the same time I could relate. The man had just secured his party’s nomination for president of the United States. He was standing on the stage with the woman he had shared his life with for decades. A little celebration was in order – if there was ever a moment to indulge in affection, that would be it.
When Al Gore lost the presidential election, I rejoiced. His decision to contest the election results was one of the worst and most divisive political moves I have ever seen. Gore put his own disappointment and ambition above the country’s best interest and in doing so, planted the seeds that would eventually blossom into Bush Derangement Syndrome. In 2008, that blossom came to fruition when an unqualified, charismatic senator was elected to the presidency. I believe Al Gore’s petulance helped Barack Obama ascend to the highest office in the land. For that reason alone, Gore’s decision to fight was, and is, highly regrettable.
Despite all of that, I can find no malicious glee in Gore’s marriage troubles, and am disturbed in those who can. As a conservative, I believe in the sanctity of marriage. The ring on my finger attests to that. I believe marriage is sacred, and for that reason, find it inappropriate to feel a strong sense of schadenfreude about the Gore divorce. Frankly, I’ve been a bit disappointed in conservatives who seem to take this divorce too lightly. Divorce is not always the worst choice in a relationship; there are circumstances where it might be the best. However, no matter how much I disagree with Al Gore on almost every issue, I am pro-marriage enough to mourn the death of a 40-year-old relationship.
If marriage is truly sacred, we should be saddened by the end of any that ends when two people grow apart, regardless of who is ending their relationship. I may not agree with Al Gore’s ideology, but I do sympathize with the pain he must feel in ending a marriage that started like any other – with a nervous man on his knee asking a woman to spend the rest of his life with him. A marriage proposal is a moment of pure, undiluted, hope. We should not be callous when that spark of hope goes out, even if we disagree with those who are ending their relationship.
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