Anyone who has been through a divorce knows this: It’s a death in the family. It’s a painful death, and when children are involved, it’s a death for them, too.
When there are children, the death just keeps happening throughout their lives as they try to navigate the birthdays, the holidays, and the other big moments, creating an emotional state of grieving that seems to last a lifetime. Because kids want their parents together — they just do.
But in politics, divorce is fair game. It’s a moral flaw. It’s fodder, and there is no escaping it. Especially if your last name is Palin; there’s nothing like Palin to sell clicks on a website, and try as we may, even Must Read Alaska cannot avert its eyes from the news of this pending divorce.
What Todd and Sarah Palin have been through in their marriage, no one really knows. They’ve had good times, rocky times, and tragedy, much played out in the public eye and some of it of their own making. As with almost all couples, what the world sees and what the world thinks it knows is not the whole story. Not even close.
Craig Medred broke the story on his news site CraigMedred.news. He updated it hours later with information that indicated a court clerk may have fudged a bit by allowing the Palin divorce to be filed by their initials only, while the rest of the divorcing public must file using their full names. That is a small sin, perhaps, but annoying to everyday Alaskans who tsk at such privilege. Rules should be applied evenly and Alaska royalty should not get special treatment. Their lawyer should have advised them better.
Todd filed on a Friday, hoping perhaps to stay out of the limelight. No such luck. Sarah Palin is the favorite punching bag for the liberal media, and she gives it back in spades, typically. She seems to have thrived on the battle with the “lame stream media,” as she has been known to call it.
Living in the spotlight is hard on a marriage, and harder on a divorce. If they get it right, they’ll remain friends, and they are the type of people who can get it right, even while breaking up the camp and going separate ways.
For now, the real sin committed is by those who throw stones at a marriage that has fascinated the world, a marriage that has simply ended sadly. The sin is committed by those who drag the children into it and use them as a battering ram against their parents.
In the beginning, the two were high school sweethearts who eloped in August of 1988 after Sarah finished college and had started a career in sports reporting. The first of their five children was born the following April. She ran for city council of Wasilla, and started a political career that eventually led to a nomination for the vice presidency of the United States. Todd was seemingly always Todd, the sportsman, the businessman, the steady husband coping with the churn of fame and fortune of his wife, who was governor, television star, author, and icon.
In the end, the years and the realities of All Things Palin wore down the love.
The end of the marriage isn’t the end, however. The couple has children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, parents, sisters, and brothers. These are ties that bind forever, especially around holidays, birthdays, and those big life events, such as birth and death.
You never know … Todd and Sarah could get back together someday. Couples do. But for now, there’s been a death in the family, and plenty of heartache to go around, and some voyeuristic handwringing: Even the beautiful people, it turns out, don’t really live charmed lives.
As for the news cycle, there’s the 24 hours when this is grist for the mill, and then we’ll all be off to another piece of salacious fascination — until the Palins do something else that captures us once again. Because we cannot get enough of them, can we?