| The codependent relationship is one of the human condition's oldest and saddest stories: on one side is an abuser, a reckless bull in a china shop acting in a willfully irresponsible fashion to maximize his/her own self-interest, even as they badmouth their significant other to all their friends and acquaintances, blaming the other party for all their problems. On the other is the codependent victim, the martyr trying to keep it all together, to make the relationship work, to pick up the pieces, take care of the kids and grandparents and pay the bills in spite of the predations of the abuser.
I say codependent "victim", however, only out of a sense of empathy. Because in reality, a codependent martyr chooses that path. It takes two to tango, and the abuser in the relationship knows it. Most often, the codependent "victim" in this relationship justifies his/her behavior by believing in the nobility of their own martyrdom: they are the responsible ones, the ones preventing disaster, the ones who are "doing the right thing", even if they get no praise for doing so.
The problem is that such codependent martyrs are wrong. There is no nobility in codependency with a maniac. There is only stupidity, the enabling of the abuser, and the abetting of the abuser's destructive behavior.
The relationship between the two parties in Sacramento is just such a relationship. The sociopathic Yacht Party has absolutely no interest in making things work. The kids can go hungry, the aged can lack care, the mortgage can go unpaid, the bills can be overdue, the debt can be crushing, and they don't care. They would rather pass no budget than a sensible one, performing the political equivalent of paying for champagne while leaving no money for diapers. Especially because they know that Democrats will cave and make things work out, lest the house literally fall down about the family's head. So long as their wealthy contributors get to party on and keep getting richer, the world will continue to turn in their little universe.
The Democratic Party, meanwhile, takes its lumps and trails behind this reckless abuser, trying to patch holes wherever possible, and take the best deal this reckless psychopath has to offer. It supports horrible compromises in the hopes of living to fight another day, hoping that something will change. That the other party in this relationship will change someday, that things will just work out, that tomorrow will be a sunnier day. There is no long-term plan, because politically the motto of the California Democratic Party is "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof". And make no mistake: because of the predations of the GOP, the day is almost always chock full of evil. Worse yet, endemic to this perpetual martyrdom is a sense of perverse nobility: a notion that we are the good guys, because we ride to the rescue to fix what they screw up. We are the noble mother willing to give up the baby than see it cut in half.
But where there is no vision, the people perish. It is time that Democrats acquired a long-term vision. It is long past time to do away with the soft martyrdom of momentary expediency, and initiate divorce proceedings from the abuser. It is time to let voters know the truth. It is time to fight back politically, rather than focus continually on the policy of the moment, because at this point there is little left to lose.
Tomorrow a large number of Republicans will vote against a horrible budget that they themselves demanded, and which gives them nearly everything their reckless minority demanded. A budget resulting from Democrats' desire to see any sort of budget passed in the face of Republican insouciance unrivaled since the days of Marie Antoinette.
And Democrats will likely vote for a budget destructive to everything we hold dear, because we're the party that does the right thing, the ones keeping it all together, the martyrs and codependents without whom the world could not function. In so doing, Republicans will be able to wreck the place, steal all the money, shortchange the young and the poor, and lay all the blame on Democrats to boot.
The time has come to say enough. The time has come to put aside the needs of the moment, and focus on a long-term plan. Stopping the IOUs sooner rather than later isn't worth years of political pain, and a jeering GOP blaming Democrats for every budgetary cut while coming off scot free. There is no nobility in a martyrdom that abets revolting political perversity.
If Democrats have any vision and sense, they will vote against this atrocious budget. If it still passes, then more Democrats will be able to say that they took a stand. If it fails, then we have the opportunity to force more GOP legislators to vote for the budget of their making.
And no matter the ultimate result of this budget fiasco, it is time to focus all of our resources on eliminating the 2/3 rule, and on massive reforms to the State Constitution. Because there is a third choice in Solomon's judgment: to take back the baby that is rightfully ours by majority rule, and get a restraining order on the false mother. The longer we wait, taking pride in the martyrdom of our own codependency while waiting for the next shoe to drop, the more the citizens of our State will suffer needlessly at the hands of the abuser we continue to enable.