I Should Have Changed That Stupid Lock

As the weeks since Obama’s inauguration have unfolded, I’ve watched the “Grand Old Party” vacillate between tantrums worthy of a toddler and crotchety crank-fests that rival the curmudgeonly old neighbor who just wants you off their lawn!! (By which, of course, I intend no general insult to toddlers or elders, most of whom possess infinitely better manners and more wisdom than the RNC).

There have been many comparisons drawn between the last eight years and a bad relationship.

Just google “Breaking up is hard to do” Republicans -- it will net you a whole bunch of stuff (interestingly, much of it from conservatives who are sick of, or feel dumped by, the GOP).

Know what, though?

The longer I look at the metaphor, the more apt it appears.

First of all – our national relationship with Pat (yes, let’s call hir “Pat”*) . . .
. . . the relationship with Pat was never really good.

You knew it. All your friends knew it.

Maybe some of them even tried to warn you, at first.

France would try to casually work something into the conversation like:

“You know who Pat reminds me of a little bit? Chris. Didn’t you date Chris right before you went bankrupt? You know . . . . after your breakdown?”

Or maybe you were invited to dinner at Denmark’s house, and they “accidentally” left an old newspaper clipping on the kitchen counter -- about that time when Pat had to resign, because the boss found out that Pat had hired some guys posing as plumbers to break into the hotel room of a romantic rival?

As time passed, though, your friends gave up hope, and one by one, just sort of drifted away.

They stopped coming to potlucks, or they would leave suddenly with an unconvincing: “Whoa!!! -- Look at the time!” . . . . . . whenever Pat tried to organize one of those pre-emptive wars that were gonna be “Soooooooo Awesome!”

Behind your back, your old buddies shook their heads and opined that some day, you’d come to your senses.

And you ask yourself now –

“Why did I stay?”

Well, it was all about the security, wasn’t it?

I mean, that was Pat’s mantra, after all: “I’ll protect you! I’m the only one who can protect you!”

Every so often, you’d look over and think: “You know, I’m not even attracted to Pat. I don’t know if I was ever really attracted to Pat . . . . ”, and maybe you’d say something that sorta-kinda sounded like break-up talk -- and your “sweetie” would get all shifty-eyed and sullen and change the subject.

“Did you hear that report on the radio this morning? Statistics show that the world is 99.87% more dangerous than it was eight years ago – did you know that?”

And then Pat would just stare at you -- in that creepy way – that way that always freaked you out.

When Pat tapped your phone and put a key-logger on your computer, it was all about “protecting” you -- and hey, if you weren’t trying to hook up with someone else, why would you even be worried about Pat knowing who you were calling and what websites you were surfing -- right? Right!?!?!

Often (oh, soooo very often) -- you’d think: “How did I end up with this person?”

To this day, you’re still parsing that.

Face it: You’re going to need therapy -- lots of therapy.

But it all came to a head when you found the credit card statements.

Turns out those little pre-emptive war parties Pat had been throwing? They weren’t actually about protecting you at all – it was a front so that your significant other could line the pockets of those sleazeball friends that were always hanging around and eating your food and watching CSI on your big-screen.

When you saw that $9 billion went to Chris (Chris? Really!? Chris, of all people!?) – that was it.

Pat had claimed the $9 billion just got “lost” somewhere.


It didn’t take long to pack -- you didn’t have much left.

Pat had taken all your educational programs and infrastructure to the Goodwill a long time ago, claiming they just cluttered up the house, and you weren’t going to need them anyway, because Pat and the Magical Self-Regulating Free Market![tm] were going to be with you forever, and provide every little thing you would ever need.

When you drove away in your beater car (Pat kept the gold-plated jet, of course), that’s when the reality started to sink in for everyone.

Your old friends were delighted about the break-up, of course -- but Pat?

Pat just didn’t know how to quit you.

First, the phone calls: “You’ll regret this! Who’s gonna keep you safe!!??>>!111!!!??!” – by now, though, this canard was just background noise to you. You started letting Pat’s calls go to voice-mail every time.

Then it was: “But -- we were meant to be together!”

There were the cards, and letters, and mass-emailers, and youtube videos, and shock-jocks, and pundits, and ads.

Who can forget the night when all Pat’s sleaze-ball friends showed up on your front lawn, chanting: “Center Right Nation! Center Right Nation! Center Right Nation . . . ”?

And then, Pat -- going on all those talk shows, insisting that you were “perfect for each other”, and going on and on about how you just don’t know your own mind, and this new asshole that you’re dating?– “ZOMG! What till you find out who this ‘Alex-person’ really is – are you gonna be sorry!!!”

And the tantrums.

Oh. My. God. -- The Tantrums.

Pat screaming that the credit card bills had nothing to do any pre-emptive war parties.

What pre-emptive war parties? What torture? Zuh? Are you crazy? Never happened -- you need help!”

Pat blaming your financial meltdown on your previous ex- -- and when you tried to make a plan to get back on track with your money?

All Pat would say was: “No.”

“No, No, No, NO, NOOOOO!!!!”

Like a two-year old who just learned the word.

Followed by:
“I’m saying ‘No’ because I have Principles[tm]! . . . . . and Alex is a big fat liberal muslim SOCIALIST, anyway! -- So there!!!!”

You wanted to know how many laws the sleazeball friends (and Pat) had broken while they were partying.

Pat told you that telling you would be dangerous . . . . . dangerous for you . . . . . . (and again with that creepy stare – followed by another emphatic “No!”, just for good measure, lest you forget that Pat had Principles![tm]).

You could almost come to a state of compassion when the whole Now-I-Dress-Just-Like-Alex-No-Really-I’m-Hip thing started -- because when Pat tosses around phrases like “urban/suburban hiphop” and “bling-bling” around, it’s just . . . . sad, really.

Pathetic, and desperate, and tragically, tragically sad.

(And a little scary, to be perfectly honest.)

So, after a long day dealing with the ex-, you come home, exhausted, to Alex – dear, dear Alex -- always sympathetic, always calm (a great dancer) -- but then you find yourself wondering:
“Is Alex really that cute, or is Alex just . . . . way cuter than Pat?”

You wonder how much of your attraction is rebound, and how much is real.

And sometimes you wonder whether Alex is really listening to you or not – Alex can get that distracted look, where the nods are in all the right places, but you’re just not sure . . .

And then you wonder whether that’s all just projection – unfortunate fallout of your “Pat-Damage”.

Because now, when Alex does something simple and nice like bringing you a snack while you are paying bills, you eye the plate just a wee bit suspiciously -- and that's when you realize just how bad it really was with Pat.

You click the close button on the disastrous spreadsheet. You get a beer and cuddle up on the sofa with Alex to watch Dancing with the Stars -- after you put the post-it on the computer . . . . . .

. . . . . .reminding you to make an appointment with that therapist tomorrow.

(*Note on non-gendered language choice: I think that it would be extremely difficult for anyone to fault me if I referenced the clusterfuck of the past eight years as a simple “bad boyfriend” corollary, given the GOP’s overwhelmingly cisgendered-white-christian-male slant – but I will let my progressive tendencies prevail and refrain from maligning all men by associating them with the Republican Party – because that would be -- you know . . . . mean.)

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