Leave the unelected ones out of it.
Many of us – most of us, if you believe the statistics – have been through it. It is sad. It is painful. It is like death without dying, almost.
And the last thing anyone needs, when going through a marital split, is to have the whole world watching.
But make no mistake: the whole world is indeed watching. Justin and Sophie Trudeau’s simultaneous and identically-worded statement, announcing their separation after almost two decades together, rocketed around the globe within minutes,
Top story on CNN World: “Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie are separating.” ABC News: “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau separating from wife, Sophie.” The BBC: Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie to separate.”
Everyone has read the statement, by now, but this part should be seen and remembered: “As always, we remain a close family with deep love and respect for each other and for everything we have built and will continue to build…For the well-being of our children, we ask that you respect our and their privacy.”
And the children, here, are not politicians. They are not high-powered bureaucrats. They are just kids – all under the age of 15.
Their father stirs up strong emotions, pro or con. After nearly a decade in power, he (understandably, predictably) has made decisions that are controversial. Sometimes, his decisions – as we all saw during the Ottawa occupation last year – produce very, very strong reactions.
But the folks who hate Trudeau still shouldn’t go after his kids or Sophie. They are not elected people. They do not wield great power. They are just people, now dealing with something that is always sad without limit.
So, we need to heed those words at the end: “We ask that you respect our and their privacy.”
There will those who ignore that, of course. The Internet is already surging with wild conspiracy theories and cruel speculation. None of it will be repeated here.
And, yes, in the days ahead there will discussion – hopefully moderate and respectful – about the political ramifications of Justin Trudeau, single Dad, leading his Liberal Party into another electoral battle. Will he do that? Can he do that? Should he do that?
All of that, and more, will be discussed and debated, from coast to coast.
But for now, this is just one of many, many separations happening in Canada – most of which lead to the 50,000-odd divorces that happen every year. Out 100,000 or so marriages that take place every year in this country. Half end.
For those of us who have been though it, the Trudeau announcement conjures up memories of near-limitless despair and misery. Even if you dislike Justin Trudeau, you have to give him that much: today is one of the worst days there can be. On that, trust those of us who have gone through it.
So, let’s leave them alone on this day, and leave the political speculation to another day. There will be lots of time for that.
Today, instead, let’s give them the privacy that they asked for.
And that they deserve.