A GLASS CEILING WAS SHATTERED ON ELECTION DAY
It just wasn’t the one we were focused on. America will now have a President with five children from three marriages. A seventy-year-old President with a ten-year-old son. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore! On Election Day, Donald Trump put the final crack in a glass ceiling and divorce, which shatters so many lives, is now officially a dysfunction that is completely normal in the timeline of American lives.
Yes, Ronald Reagan had already conquered this frontier, however, this is far different in so many ways not the least of which is Ronald Reagan was the recipient of an unwanted divorce. Furthermore, in his book, Twice Adopted, Michael Reagan tells that before his father became ill, he told Michael his signing of the nation’s first no-fault divorce legislation as Governor of California in 1969 - and now the law in all fifty states - was his “greatest regret” in public life.
While all Americans will benefit if our new President is successful, fixing the state of marriage is not on his agenda. Therefore, it is up to us to do it. The decline of marriage continues to be a “huge” and unaddressed problem.
I personally felt a loss on Election Day. I had hoped it would be a day when legislation I sponsored would be passed. In 2014, with one person’s help and working out of a Starbucks, I created and wrote The Marriage Education Act, a ballot measure, which was discussed on the The Today Show and many other national television & radio news programs.
The Marriage Education Act would amend marriage license laws such that a marriage license be treated as any other license and held to a minimal level of required education – to be administered by a wide variety of independent 3rd party providers with the freedom to teach according to their respective ideologies
Its premise was marriage rates are at an all-time low and trending lower and that while there are vast amounts of people not getting married, in part because of the failure rate over the past forty years, there are still plenty of people getting married and if they become a more successful group – by making marriage licensees educated as all other licensees - then more people will want to become a part of this group again. It’s akin to repopulating a species on the brink of extinction rather than letting it become extinct.
While I certainly don't want the government involved in marriages, they’re already immersed in half of all marriages – through divorce - and at tremendous cost to taxpayers! Government is also involved in the breakup of unmarried couples with children and these relationships dissolve at even higher rates. My thesis was that while The Marriage Education Act would add a step to the process of getting married, through doing what adults teach their kids to do to succeed – to get an education - the government would ultimately become less involved in marriage, less kids and parents would experience divorce, and marriage itself would survive and prosper.
The measure didn't make it to ballots in 2014 or in 2016. As with other things I’ve done, both times I got a collection of e-mails offering praise but very little willingness to get involved. The MEA wasn't ideal but whether it succeeded or not, I feel our cause would have been advanced if people would have supported it. I’m never going to stop climbing the uphill battle for the bedrock I believe in, but I’ve become increasingly frustrated with a marriage strengthening community I find so giving, caring and compassionate but too often so politically correct that opportunities to ignite people’s passion to save the institution of marriage are squandered.
I felt this again recently when an article I submitted for publication - If Elections Have Consequences, Then Marriage Matters - about how I felt both candidates were awful role models in marriage, was embraced for its perspective but after three rounds of editing I’d reached a point where I was tired of spending so much time trying to couch everything I say when it feels like not many people are listening.
SINGLE, MARRIED, or DIVORCED; Whether marriage exists for your children or grandchildren years from now, or not, depends on what we do today!
I neither endorse or condone what Donald Trump has said about many people, and I did not vote for him, or her, however, Donald Trump just proved that once in a great while problems have become so bad that as it relates to policy, what you have to say can be more important than how you say it. Trump also proved Steve Jobs words that inspired me to create the MEA: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
So I am going to continue to have the courage to put forth new ideas that aren't necessarily flawless and I’m not going to wait to perfect them before I introduce them. My latest effort is Tree Action which will launch in January. The finishing touches are still being applied, however, I hope you’ll have a look and get involved. Together, we can make a difference right away!
Hilary Clinton in her gracious concession speech, while touting her thirty years of tireless work for children and families, called on followers to continue to work to break down barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams. As someone very damaged by my parents’ divorce, I didn’t have a bucket list as an adult. I had a pail with one thing in it: my dream to create an intact family. A divorce I didn't want held me back from achieving my dream; precious, priceless, and irreplaceable.
Like it or not, Donald Trump will become my President and I hope one day those who voted for him and those who didn't will come to find he has helped make our lives better. Regardless, Donald Trump will never be my moral compass and I hope during the next four years we can all get together and put the glass ceiling he put the final crack in and shattered back together.