This article, by Maggie Gallagher, a scholar at the Institute for American Values, is in response to an unsigned editorial in the New York Times called “The Divorce Debate.” Gallagher opposes the views of the editorial and tries to answer the question: “What, if anything, can we do about the fact that at least half of our marriages fail?”
I was very turned-off by this article. First, it starts off with what the author thinks should be a shared assumption; the assumption stated that divorce is harmful for children. Not everyone believes that. She goes on by asking, “What……can we do?” Gallagher continues with her article by putting down other states because of their divorce stipulations. She says that they are not working. Yes, she did back that statement up with information from Judith Wallerstein’s book, Second Chance, and statistics from the Journal of Marriage and Family, but they were buried between the many instances in which she shared the views of her opposition.
The way she recognized the reasoning behind the “speedy spouse disposal” or “delayed backlash” was a nice touch. Unfortunately, Gallagher was so involved with trying to show the other side of things, she forgot to give the reasoning behind her own ideas. Through the entire article, she used negative words or phrases to express her feelings on divorce; they include: harmful, delayed backlash, speedy spouse removal, eliminating, marital wrongdoing, dissolve a marriage, bitter conflict, unhappy marriages, bleak times, punishments, messy and irrelevant, and torment. However, she never once suggested a solution for the problem of divorce. How can one argue with the ideas of others, if that person has no argument of their own?
After reading this article, I am pretty confident that the author has not personally been through a divorce of her own. This alone, could cause me to question her. I feel that a more personal article involving some of her own experiences would have been more convincing. I know that she was writing with a logical approach, but I believe an emotional one would have been better. Divorce is a topic that touches every person in so many different ways. If this article would have reached to the heart, it would have been more persuasive.
Though I am unhappy with the way the topic was approached, I am sure that the essay was not quickly written. Their was a lot of research involved in this article. Gallagher explained how different states came up with different solutions for divorce. She discussed the no-fault divorce and the waiting period before a divorce. Her statistic was a great bonus.
Divorce is certainly a great topic for debate as we head into the new millennium. There are many assumptions made about divorce, both shared and unshared. Some people believe that divorce is always a bad thing, no matter what the situation. Others
believe it’s a matter of what is best for the children (if there are any). Gallagher challenges the assumption that “no-fault will…….remake divorce into a kinder, gentler institution.
I believe that divorce is not necessarily the issue. The real question is, “How do we make marriages work?”