For all that crap they give you, my African kinsmen, Americans too practice that art of polygamy you have perfected. But the people of these United States of America have fancy phrases for that misogynistic, family-breaking custom.

When men of this “one nation under God” take a second wife, they are said to have “an affair.” I don’t know about you, but “having an affair” sounds like something men should be doing – like the good men in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I didn’t think about this before I wrote the last sentence, but in away, having a family affair isn’t very different from working for the government ministry. Just like the ambassador and the minister of foreign affairs, you are your family’s liaison to affairs outside the home.

Like a government foreign minister (secretary of state in this “God is on our side” land), you travel to faraway lands to negotiate matters relating to your family. But unlike the foreign minister who might talk to, say, Saudi Arabia to reduce oil prices to keep drivers “happy,” you don’t have the best interests of your family at heart. You negotiate for harmful things like HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, or crabs (pubic lice). You also bring stepsiblings to compete for the little your family has. And if you have a little money saved, a sexual harassment lawsuit might ensue. Or in this gun-slinging country of questionable mental health, she might shoot you in the head if you don’t to leave your wife, as you promised.

When poor American men and men without power practice polygamy, it is not called “an affair.” It is “cheating.” President Bill Clinton, Sen. John Edwards, Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Stanford of South Carolina and funnyman David Letterman had affairs. Joe, the guy you work with down at the shipping warehouse, Tyrone, the guy who cuts your hair, and Miguel, the cable guy, cheated on their wives.

Like “he had an affair,” “he cheated on his wife” is a euphemism. Admitting that, “I cheated on my wife” makes you feel less guilty of shattering lives, for it sounds like you were only dishonest during a card game with your buddies.

Now here, my African brothers, is where American polygamy differs from the kind we practice: most American women and children aren’t heavily dependent on their husbands for bread and water. Even those who do rely on men, they can go to court and have the judge order the family’s foreign affairs minister to pay child and spousal support. There is no way to escape it, as they will garnish your earnings, and I’m not talking about embellishing your minimum wage with basil and mint leaves.