In red America, families form adults;
in blue America, adults form families.
Chiasmus (key-ASS-mus), the criss-cross figure. From the Greek letter X.
The red states that work hardest to defend marriage, on the other hand, do the worst job of practicing it. That’s because their people marry younger. The younger the couple, the more doomed the marriage.
National Journal writer Jonathan Rauch uses a deft chiasmus to describe the national marriage gap. Use a chiasmus when you want to portray a difference as a mirror image. Rauch could have written: “In red America, people reach maturity when they marry. In blue America, people tend marry when they’re old enough to hold jobs and raise families.” Instead, he held a mirror up to one of America’s least-discussed scandals.
But then, maybe you don’t think a high divorce rate is scandalous. Maybe marriages are supposed to be serial. Seventeen-year-old Bristol Palin says she’ll marry her baby daddy, and conservatives cheer. Then they break up, and who cares?
To put it in a chiasmus: In the blue states, reality dictates values. In the red states, values dictate reality.