I took part of my lunch hour to call my New York Senators, Clinton & Schumer, and was taken aback by how careful the staffers were to not slip any hint of how their Senators were standing on the censure issue.
New York is pretty blue...heck, even upstate is getting bluer, and they can't take a stand?
My mind naturally turns to psychological explanations. And what I think is going on is Spousal Abuse Syndrome, Stockholm Syndrome, Learned Helplessness. The spineless Democrats are Abused Legislators.
I do a lot of ranting myself about how spineless and wimpy the Democrats are being. It reminds me of what a lot of people say about spousal abuse (I'm not being PC here, it does go both ways.)
Why don't the Democrats in Washington stand up? Is it because they are in that Post Traumatic Stress state where they don't think they can do any good? Has the defeats of the past few years put them in a state of depression and futility?
Must be. Learned helplessness was formulated in 1965, when Pavlovian experiements on dogs led to the discovery that at a certain point, mammalian organisms give up normal responses to stimulus when they have decided their actions are futile.
And that's what we have here. The Democrats have fallen prey to futility. They are puttering around the kitchen, preparing a dinner they don't even like in the hopes it will be acceptable and won't lead to further beatings. While the Republicans have gotten so far into the cycle they don't even bother with the flowers and apologies afterwards.
How can they get help?
They have to acknowledge they have a problem. This is a tough step for a proud Legislator. Their whole being is about Getting Things Done, and they are deluding themselves over the nice mac & cheese leading to permission to get new shoes for the children. They have to admit there's no pleasing their tormentor. They have to admit they can't be reasonable enough to meet unreasonable demands.
They have to realize they must leave the relationship. This is where the concerned relatives and friends (that's us!) come in. We can call them and email them and tell them this relationship is doomed, they have to leave, and if they do, if they decide they won't be abused anymore, we will take them in and help them get back their self-esteem.
Yes, it will be tough to admit to the nosy neighbors on the cable talk shows that they are no longer Working On The Marriage. That they aren't making the favorite dinners and picking up the dirty underwear anymore. They will get blamed by the nosy neighbors for not Being a Good Minority Party.
But often a battered spouse will take all kinds of abuse...until the batterer starts in on the children. Then they get the courage to leave.
And they have started in on the children! We, the people, have been beaten on enough: by Katrina, and Iraq, and taking the elderly's medicine away and taking the children's safety net away.
Tell them it's time to leave...for the children's sake.