Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sibling squabbles

Yesterday's Washington Post reported that Cindy McCain has two half-sisters, one of whom is upset that Mrs. McCain talks about herself as an only child. Then, Vanity Fair in Italy broke news that Senator Obama has a half brother who lives in poverty in Kenya.

The implication in both cases seems to be that we should blame the famous half siblings for something, but is that really fair? Who knows what bad blood has passed between Mrs. McCain and her half sister, but I would guess that the half sister's rage is really toward her father who abruptly and without explanation cut her and her children out of an inheritance they apparently expected. Senator Obama has only met his half brother twice. Neither of them ever lived with their half siblings.

I blogged some time ago on the distinctions that children of divorce often make between family relationships. It's not surprising to me that Mrs. McCain and Senator Obama feel disconnected from people who share a parent and little else with them. Mrs. McCain's half sister expressed anger at hearing the Senator's wife describe herself as an "only child," and if she said she was the only child of her father, I can understand the half sister's dismay; but what if she said she was the only child of her father and mother? Another story altogether.

Ah, the complications that divorce brings into our lives!

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