Those of us who've been through divorce know the signs of trouble. Tolerance of each other's eccentricities turns into extreme annoyance. Short-hand references and shared jokes become verbal bludgeons turned against each other. Friends begin choosing sides. And the kids suffer.
In the aftermath of President Barack Obama's robust victory over Mitt Romney this week, "Red" Texas has been showing the signs of a spouse wanting a trial separation. The term "secession" has been bandied about. Folks have sighed loudly on their facebook pages about re-doubling their prayer efforts to protect us all from the folly of the nation's decision. Many of us who supported the President woke up the morning after election day a few "friends" lighter.
One Republican official referred to his fellow Texans who voted for the President as "maggots' and actually called for Texas to divorce (amicably, he added) from the US. Wait a minute: who says that they get to keep our state? Amicable might be a stretch.
Many of my out-of-state conservative friends and friends-of-friends have threatened to move here to Texas and just ditch their home states, since clearly "we" get it. Meanwhile, liberals that live here, in the bluer areas of the state, respond defensively to the idea that we're all right-wingers.
No one is happy in Texas right now.
If Red Texas could easily depart the Union without losing money, face and lives - amicably - I actually think they'd try it. Conservatives here aren't just disappointed - they are in despair, depressed and feeling tied to someone that doesn't meet their needs. But that someone brings home the bacon- in defense contracts, federal funding and national security- so leaving is more fun to talk about than to actually do.
Rick Perry, the head of our dysfunctional Texas family, has made it clear that he will not be yielding one inch in the battle with an Obama administration. For example, he has declared that Medicaid will not be expanded in his state, the kids who will lose coverage be damned. Perry may not be able to bring himself all the way to divorce from the union, but he is asserting our independence from the federal government, at great cost to Texas families.
It's a confusing and emotional time to be a liberal in Texas. Almost every day, I see or hear something that gives me pause.
Yesterday, it was a facebook posting from a friend extolling all the fun things about being a Texan - calling folks "sugar", drinking a 'Coke' even when it's a Pepsi, wearing boots with a business suit. Readers were urged to "like" the post if we loved being Texan. My finger hovered over the button; I do like all of those fun things, and much of the loving, easy spirit here. But do I love Texas right now when it so patently no longer loves me? I'm not sure.
Today, is a crisp, windy day, dirt-red tinging the blue, blue sky and American flags snapping proudly from lawn after lawn in honor of Veterans Day. As we drove by on our way to breakfast, I pointed a flag out to my husband that was not hanging correctly. "Look" I said "the wind is so strong, it flipped that one clean upside down!" I was horrified to learn that it wasn't the wind that put the flag upside down. Apparently, the Tea Party has decided that it'd be a good idea to fly flags upside down in the "distress" position following the President's re-election. What a win-win for them: they can self-righteously proclaim that they are supporting veterans while simultaneously sticking their thumbs in the Commander in Chief's eye. Brilliant.
As an adopted daughter of Texas, I hope that my "parents" - my country and my beloved adopted home state- can work things out. But if they can't, I know which parent I'm going with.