The marriage counseling visit, Republicans, and It ain't de'jĂ vu.
Have you ever had that feeling, that sense that what you're witnessing just sort of reminds you of something? Not an exact mirror image, but . . . just . . . something, sort of.
I've been experiencing that for a while, when I hear Republicans talking about . . . Now, it's talking about anything.
I'm one of the 50% of American adults who are divorced. Or, is that, 50% of all marriages now end that way? Regardless which is which, it doesn't matter. It's the sense of the ending that forms the analogy here.
My ex and I, just before we were ex's, visited a marriage "counselor." (The noun is in quotation marks because there wasn't any counseling going on.) As immediately as the three of us sat down, the tirade of hurtled grievances was loosed upon me. Be aware that I am not suggesting my wife had none that were valid. It's impossible to be in a relationship for 15 years without experiencing bumps in the road. So sure, I was guilty of perpetrating my share of trespasses. And she'd have felt justified in taking some umbrage. But neither is that my point: conveying the analogy between the session at the marriage counselor and what the GOP has been up to, and how the Democrats and the president should respond.
For about a half hour I sat, saying nothing, wondering whether there was going to be some constructive end to all of it. Finally I said that, if she was truly interested in trying to work toward some resolution of the issues, I was all for it. With two wonderful sons, a house, a functioning business that was to that moment yet in the black, and one and a half decades of lives spent together, a great deal was at stake. But I was not going to sit and play the compliant poor soul target of verbal assaults, and then write the check . . .. As in the Johnny Cash song, "But it ain't me babe, No, no, no, it ain't me babe, it ain't me babe. It ain't me you're lookin' for . . . babe."
For a full eight years, from the Bush administration and the enough was way too much of the Republican congress, the nation was fĂȘted to the same refrain: "Elections have consequences." And to a large extent, most of us responded, however much the putrefaction of that truth raked our esophagus's painfully raw, "Yeah, that's right enough." Even as our souls were roiling over contempt for what was transpiring, what was being done in our name, we acknowledged the nation had spoken on behalf of the infamous Republican policies and perfidy.
By 2006 it was clear the Bush administration and the GOP had trespassed every norm of decency and fiscal prudence. The executive branch had become the insatiable fox in the henhouse, the Republican House and the Republican Senate had schemed to rent gaping holes in the chicken wire enclosure, then turned away, refusing to monitor the carnage. And the 2006 mid-term election clearly showed righteous anger was building coast to coast to a roar.
If 2006 was a shout, the general election of November, 2008 was a din. "Get" and "out!" were cacophonous screams preceded and interjected frequently by the most prosaic, four-letter profane adjectives, adverbs and gerunds; all to add whatever emphasis a retching population is capable of.
It was not a message subject to misinterpretation.
When at noon January 20th that Senator Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, he genuinely offered to the Republicans in the House, in the Senate, in the radio airwaves, and across the land his hand in friendship. Nowhere was heard from the administration the stale refrain "elections have consequences." Obama was now president, and he fully intended to fill that role. But he was not going to lord it over the vanquished. It wasn't his style, especially given he had been left by the Republicans a mess of such global dimensions that had not plagued any incoming president since Herbert Hoover.