The Republican Party Is Like a Battered Woman

The Republican Party Is Like a Battered Woman

The GOP is in a cycle of abuse with Trump. It's weird. He crosses boundaries again and again, and each one is a red line they say they're done if he crosses it, then they make excuses for him and pretend everything is normal. Meanwhile the government is dysfunctional and nothing gets done.

If you go on a date with someone and it’s the first date and they beat you, call you names, and treat you like crap, you’re not going to go out with them again.  That’s not how abusive relationships work; it never starts out being abusive.  It always starts as something sweet.  There’s a prospect so beautiful, so amazing, and yet it seems so unattainable, and here this person makes you feel like you can have it all.  Makes you feel special.  But when you look back, and it’s always in hindsight, all the clues are there.  A word dropped, a snide remark made against someone else that you could ignore because you weren’t the target, maybe some blame thrown at their ex.  A little lie told.  But you will do better; you’re not their enemy, and they’ve got no reason to lie to you.  And gosh, control of the House and the Senate, and the White House, and the Supreme Court.  You can’t stop dreaming of the possibilities.  And after eight years under Obama and things looking like Hillary was a forgone conclusion.  You don’t feel like you deserve this after that Bush guy you were dating, and here is this great guy promising a border wall that you won’t even have to pay for, comprehensive tax reform, immigration reform, abortion ban, all manner of conservative policy agendas will be in the works, surely.  All your wildest fantasies will come true.

Things are great.

Then, he crosses a boundary.

As with most abusive relationships, the first blow isn’t physical; maybe he says something hurtful and explains why it’s your fault.  Before you met him you’d always said to yourself if some man ever attacked the first amendment you would break up with him.  You deserve respect.  But the prospect is still there, and it’s so beautiful.  You don’t think you’ll ever have a chance like this again.  All those promises and it looks so good!  It’s better to forgive.  “He’s new to politics,” you say.  “We need to protect our country from radical Islamic terror,” you say.  It won’t happen again.

The funny thing about abuse is that it’s not always abusive.  In fact most of the time, your partner is not being abusive at all.  There’s a cycle.  There’s abuse, followed by remorse, then a honeymoon period in which everything is nice and beautiful until they punch you in the face again.

And again.  He crosses that red line only to promise all those beautiful dreams, and you keep making excuses for him as he crosses one red line after another, after another.

You told yourself if he didn’t put his business interests into a blind trust you wouldn’t tolerate that.  But he still has his ex in his contacts.  “As long as he’s not using his position for financial gain,” you say.  But then he goes and upsells his hotels at every chance.  He’s still sleeping with his ex because you are allowing him to continue sleeping with his ex.

But he’s such a great guy, and look at those dreams and possibilities.

You told yourself when he fired James Comey that he’d gone too far.  That was months ago.  “He had the right to do that; that was within his rights,” you say.

You told yourself that when he betrayed you, told your secrets to other countries, and invited your enemy’s ambassador into his home, that was the final straw.  Clearly, there’s room for more straws.

You told yourself if he so much as tried to fire Robert Mueller, that would be the end of it.  And yet here you are, still clamoring for that dream of possibilities.

Another red line crossed, another round of excuses you make for him.

How many boundaries does he need to cross before you see the dysfunction?  Wake up.  All those dreams are an illusion.  Always were.  You pine over them until you get that dream tax bill and you hang on to that as it represents some semblance of a lost relationship that never was.  But when you look back, what did you really accomplish?  What has actually been done?

You are in an abusive relationship.  You never thought you’d be here, but here you are.  He continues to dangle dreams before you and he continues to cross your boundaries.  He continues to act inappropriately, and you continue to make excuses for him.

But you are dying.  Little by little, it’s killing you.  Maybe one day you will wake up.  Maybe you will begin to see the kind of relationship you’re in for what it truly is: abusive and dysfunctional.  Maybe you will accept the truth before the 2018 midterm elections.  Maybe.  Until then, I hope you enjoy the bruises.

Michael Patrick Lewis is a teacher, and bestselling author of Edge Of God, and Preferred Rewards which is free to download for now.  You can also find him on Twitter @fakeMikeLewis.

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