January 8, 2012 in Opinion

Smart Bombs: Marriage isn’t working out

By The Spokesman-Review

It just isn’t working out. The differences are irreconcilable. It’s time to call it quits on this failed social experiment.

Despite the efforts of well-meaning people, the institution of marriage has been torn asunder. The guilty parties meant well, but the pairing of men with women may not be natural. The data certainly suggest this.

If it were natural, would every other marriage end in divorce? Would there be an increase in single-parent households? Would a dwindling number of American households contain a father, mother and children? Shouldn’t government pull the plug on a program with such a dismal record?

We’re told God created marriage, but He couldn’t have had this in mind.

We know the factors for successful marriages, but we don’t have the resolve to codify them. If we were serious about the sanctity of marriage and the government’s role in preserving it, we would’ve adopted several intrusive laws by now:

First, you must be at least 26 years old before getting married. Couples younger than this divorce at a much higher rate.

Second, both people must have a college degree. A diploma correlates strongly with marital longevity.

Third, you must have enough cash socked away to avoid arguments over money, which is the leading cause of divorce.

Fourth, premarital counseling is mandatory, as is regular church attendance. But note that religious couples who are inconsistent pew sitters are more apt to split than atheists and agnostics. So forced marches to sermons are essential.

Fifth, outlaw divorce.

Sixth, don’t let gay couples marry. There are no data for this, but shouldn’t we block them from marriage out of compassion? They’ll thank us later and perhaps proclaim: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

So, there you have it. A six-step plan to preserving the sanctity of marriage. Sure, it might give small-government folks some ulcers. They might believe that it’s wrong for government to choose who can marry and who can’t.

And they’d be right.

DOESN’T ADD UP. Not to state the obvious, but divorce is the greatest threat to marriage. And many public moralists on this issue have split with their spouses. Massachusetts was the first state to adopt gay marriage. It has the lowest divorce rate in the country. The District of Columbia has the second-lowest rate. Gay and lesbian couples can get hitched there, too.

So if gay marriage is a threat to the institution, what’s taking so long for the numbers to bear this out?

FEAR ITSELF. So I was driving my daughter to school the other day and apologizing for making her late. She replied, “Don’t worry. They’re open ’til 3.”

Clearly, I’ve done a miserable job instilling fear and anxiety in this young lady. Must be her indifference to politics at such a young age. Or, perhaps, she thought of the consequences and wondered, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Be a nice position for everyone to take, as they head for another political meltdown.

I’ve voted in nine presidential contests, and in each of them the consequences were deemed stark . Reagan will drop the Big One! Clinton will wreck the economy! Bush will destroy the environment! Obama will hatch his Marxist plot!

Liberals say they will move to Canada. Conservatives say they will take back America. Their extreme predictions never come true, but that doesn’t stop them. Home of the brave? No, land of the incessant worrywarts.

Politics in this country is increasingly filtered through the presidential prism. The fear is that this lone person will ruin the nation or rescue it. Relax; the Founding Fathers have this covered. The reason they established a system of checks and balances is to ensure that one person doesn’t have such power.

Remember this, so you can temper your positive and negative expectations.

Think of the most radical single change promulgated by a president in your lifetime. Did he do it alone? With no public support? Did the other branches of government never weigh in? Did the nation survive?

This constant state of fear doesn’t speak well of our country or ourselves. Electing a president is important, but it’s not an emergency. We still have it within our power to be happy and successful regardless of who wins.

So try to keep things in perspective. Even if your candidate doesn’t win, the country will still be open. And you’ll still be free to freak out.

Associate Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at garyc@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter @GaryCrooks.

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