How many of you have ever been in an abusive relationship?
Do you currently adhere to a political party -- more than just voting, but actually adhering to one? You know what I’m talking about -- phone banking, making and distributing signs, public advocacy, maybe even more. Maybe you’re a precinct captain, one of the folks who “runs” a county-level political organization, or perhaps you’re involved at the state or even national levels.
If so, have you ever stopped to consider whether or not you’re actually part of an abusive relationship?
What defines an abusive relationship?
And the lies that go with it.
Let me guess -- you’re going to tell me that you believe that your relationship with your political party embodies what you believe in and how you live. That it embodies your values, your core expectations, and what you want from government.
Are you being honest with yourself or are you practicing co-dependency?
Are you going to tell me that your view of what is wholesome, good, and just includes diddling Congressional Pages? Perhaps it includes taking advantage of White House Interns and blue dresses with deposits of bodily fluids? Maybe it includes waging undeclared wars by proxy or reaching down the crotch of 90 year old Leukemia patients? Does it include passing laws without reading them first? Does it include shooting a US border patrol agent with a weapon that was intentionally allowed by a political appointee’s hire to walk out of a gun store for known felonious purpose? And does it include “justifying” all of these alleged “security” enhancements by first allowing a man with an alleged bomb in his pants to board an aircraft for the United States without a valid passport, and clearing that plane into US airspace knowing that there was a passenger on board that had not complied with basic, 30-year-old security procedures?
On the more-mundane side does it include making a promise to senior citizens that they can pay in 30 cents and yet get a dollar when they turn 65? That’s what Medicare has promised for the last 30 years. Does it include the more-recent payroll tax cut that did the same thing to Social Security, intentionally under-funding that program by about 30%, yet promising that all the money will be paid? Does it include both major parties' claim that we must have “fiscal sanity” in the intermediate term for the last five years sequentially, yet when the intermediate term arrives (five years hence) that day is always five years further off? In short, does your idea of wholesome and fair dealing include lying at each and every turn, denying arithmetic and literally screwing your children and grandchildren, simply because you can as they’re physically unable to revolt?
If you’re a Libertarian does it include running political candidates that are claimed to have 2, 3, 5, 10 or even 20% of the vote in support and yet when the polls come in it’s always 1% or less? Do you accept that these are “mistakes” when these same claims and outcomes occur in every election for 40 years running? Do you believe that one can be against initiation of force but at the same time be for “free trade” that allows multinational corporations to initiate force against people who don’t look like you? Do you believe that the government at the same time has no role in consensual adult relationships but it has a right to define what “marriage” is? Do you claim to believe in free enterprise while at the same time being perfectly ok with counterfeiting when it comes to our nation’s currency? Will you sit quietly while candidates and party officials tell you that “nobody committed any crimes” when 2 million or more of your fellow citizens are displaced from their homes and millions lose their jobs due to fraud, scheme and scam?
Do you not recognize the parallels between abusive relationships when they come in the form of a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband and other organizations?
All co-dependent and destructive interpersonal relationships among adults rely on all parties involved being a nominally-willing participant. The abused woman is a pure victim the first time she is hit and the man a criminal ass. But when she goes back after the first assault she’s made a choice -- she’s bought into a lie. You’ve heard it all: “He loves me” -- “He won’t do it again” -- “He’ll stop drinking if I’m strong enough to stick with him.”
There are those who argue that the analogy doesn’t hold as political groups are organizations, not singular people. Those folks are grasping at straws; what is a cult but an organization of people? Yet cult behavior exhibits the same dynamic; there is some sort of hierarchy and structure, those who are “in charge” and those who are not. The leadership sets rules and expects obedience. Abuse comes from the top down, yet dissent from the bottom is squelched by whatever means are available. Those who try to depart are told they’ll never amount to anything, that they “need” the cult, and if that doesn’t work sometimes the cult will even go so far as to try to physically intimidate or threaten the departing individuals and occasionally they make good on the threats.
Is this any different than the abused spouse, really?
Think long and hard ladies and gentlemen. Political parties and groups will try to tell you that you must choose between evils, and of course they are the lesser of them, as if there is no other option. But there are other options -- you can refuse to participate entirely or you can go off and form a new group among those of you who refuse to be abused.
The woman in an abusive relationship or the person in a cult may not recognize that they are the victim of abuse but this does not change the objective view of what is going on. Your time, effort, personal well-being and sometimes wealth are being siphoned off for the benefit of others -- and to your detriment.
Today is a day for reflection and to give thanks for that which we have, for many do not.
But it is also a day to reflect on the relationships we have in our lives, whether they be personal, professional or political, and determine which of those are truly complimentary and mutually beneficial and which are, in fact, co-dependent and abusive.
As we move toward the New Year let us all strive to make that determination and to rid ourselves of those relationships that fit in the latter category; we will all individually be better people, and as a society we will find collective benefit through this process as well.
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