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The Secret is Not in Trying to Win a Rigged Game, It's Walking Away From It

Political codependency escalating in this country. So many lost to the insane and rigged game of poltics. Lost to the political matrix once again.

I keep resorting to language from the psychology of addiction. Addicts and co-addicts so enmeshed in their dysfunctional dynamic that the capacity for sanity and empathy and recognition of a broader and real world is lost. And more and more they get sucked into the sick game, and pull those connected to them along ... down. So it is not just the frontline participants on the political, military and media front lines. The quicksand is big enough for more and more and more.

Bill Clinton said recently the Dems need more advertising. That is the answer. OY VEY!!!!! More game-playing by advertising to promote the toxic status quo of the Dems? I don't think so. Jon Stewart thinks a lot of it is about keeping the tone civil. That doesn't work with sociopaths, psychopaths, addicts, Jon. You play nice and they walk away with the store. And maybe even with the clothes that were on your back a second ago.

Melodie Beatty in her book Codependent No More claims that the secret of dealing with such a dynamic is not in trying to win. It is in "not playing." Detaching is a b*tch, though. And it has serious blowback. And serious frustration. Because one has to see and be strong enough to endure even more of the naked truth about just how many people are enthralled in denial, contributing to a broken system, and these denying people are conditioned to make the broken system move in its broken and destructive way.

So those willing to detach and call it ALL out become messengers ripe for ferocious targeting by the deniers hanging onto their denial for all they are worth. And the seeming guppies of denial turn to piranhas (I read that in an assertiveness book once, great metaphor) to protect the perpetrators who should be the targets of their rage. Freakshow anti-ethics. Or according to recovery psychology something called the Karpman Triangle. The perpetrator, rescuer, victim keep changing roles. We rescuers are demonized trying to save the citizenry against amoral Obama and Dems. Many of citizenry (Dems) leap forward to rescue Obama and Dem leaders, now seen as our victims. And we are now seen as the persecutors hurting not helping. Crazymaking rollercoaster rides. Emotional knot-making for all.

Talking to vastleft again about the insanity of the public option that did not really exist in terms of an actual, devised, workable system and structure and the confusion about it and the rhetorical gamesmanship about it helped block the sanity and humanitarianism of the expanded Medicare for all program idea and actual MOVEMENT with lots of sane people working hard. WTF? Whaaaa happened?

And the faux-pragmatic progressives HELPED the corporatists set humanity back with their political egos and THEIR profound lack of MORAL IMAGINATION and insane drive to punish those exhibiting theirs! And Obama and the political elite, the bubble people, won't acknowledge morality at all. It was amazing how they would not even acknowledge the sane, but non-corporate friendly plan. Their corporate handlers have made them such committed puppets and enemies of conscience and humanity. They won't acknowledge the people of conscience in this country. And they can count on the authoritarian following, the apathy, shallow celebrity titillation, craven media focus, etc. I mean Ray Bradbury (and so many others in their works through the years, Orwell, Heller, Vonnegut, Joseph Conrad, etc.) nailed it in Fahrenheit 451.

And here we are again. The faux-pragmatics calling out those of us to whom the idea of supporting and voting for "evil" nauseates -- and who are so healthily intuitive to do what is right, not fight the counter-intuition to vote for rat bastards for the greater good against the rabid rat bastards. But the messenger gets killed by those who believe the broken system is better than the specter of no system, of pissing off the specter of the looming monstrous punishing power brokers. Even though it is an evil, broken, machine that kills and punishes and is exploited by sociopathic power and greed-addicts. The Conscienceless.

I think of that Stockholm Syndrome phenomenon. When the hostages bond with their oppressors. Identify with them. Protect them.

People of conscience need to call out both the rat bastards and the rabid rat bastards. Not protect and enable the Dem rat bastards because they are not as rabid as Repubs and Teapartiers. Which makes them even worse. They have potential still to be rational, humane and sane. Or do they?

I keep trying to figure out how to get farther this time. I also keep trying to figure out why there isn't a bigger tent for the people of conscience. Why the health care single payer folks couldn't have a fire in their collective belly to end the illegal wars and support those people of conscience and vice versa. I mean, I am guessing they do, but how to channel that support formally and effectively? And the climate change folk, and the women's rights folk.

There are so many fresh and not so fresh any more hells ... and we of course can not be fighting on every front. But we need each other collectively. Because so many of us get the travesty to humanity collectively on all of these fronts. But we need to form that effective and loud critical mass.

A lot of small choirs of conscience. How do we rally those with conscience into a focused voice? There is the theory of the 100 monkeys. Once the hundredth monkey gets the message of truth and reality, the entire monkey nation gets it. With Vietnam I think the hundredth monkey was actually Walter Cronkite. When he got it (being in the media helped for sure) the Vietnam War, so late in the game with so much devastation, lost traction. Though some never got it and came back with a vengeance as insane neocons. Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. Power mad.

We have a window of opportunity here in the next six is it weeks. I hoped we could make demands. But we have the colossal ego of Obama who only seems to know the art of hypocrisy and we piss him off now. Yeah, no drama Obama seems to only have strike back power when it comes to us. Go figure. He must protect his EGO on all of this and we will not enable his EGO. And Obama's vast enablers are fighting for his "brand" and their egos, too, I suppose. Can't admit to the con. Can't see the forest of humanity and are lost among the "team trees".

And then there are the insaniacs who are calling out an entirely different surreality which the media is dutifully filling the airwaves with as opposed to truth.

How can we do this so we don't replicate the silencing of our movement the way they silenced ... temporarily I know and good the Mad as Hell Docs are out again ... our single payer movement? How can we work even smarter this time, or do we just show up for truth and incrementally our ranks grow and with patience and serenity trust the truth will out but not according to our emotional clocks? The fight is huge for justice, and humanity being what it is ...

Pisses me off, though, the rat bastards and rabid rat bastards get another round of devastation of this country and the people of the world, their momentum keeps on keeping on! We're expected to eat the proverbial shit and smile? Or not. They are so remote from us to even care or notice us seriously. Only at election time do they wake up for a few seconds that we even exist. Forever grabbing and spending our tax dollars, mind you, but very rarely seriously representing our needs and our collective will. Just a little pr spin at election time and back to the amoral trough.

How can we hold our ground mostly from those we thought were our brother and sister progressives, but those now desperately trying to make people of conscience surrender their consciences and protect the toxic system, the US anti-empathy machine, make us STFU and surrender our wills? They are our enemy even more than the rat bastards and the rabid rat bastards, because they ambush and disappoint and confuse. The "Good Germans" of America we didn't assume would be. We illuminate their cowardism and denial to a great degree, threaten their collective ego perspective, and that pisses them off.

We need to brainstorm fast. We are not swilling rancid kool-aid here in terms of Obama and Dems. We need to make a plan. We have powerful enemies. With money. With power. With tv, press and radio. And yet "the emperor has no clothes." How can we get people to trust and not doubt what is before their own eyes. Has been for so very long. What is on those thousands of Wikileaks documents, say. How do we get people to finally get through the five stages of Obama grief to acceptance and SANITY????

What is the tipping point in what Maddow calls this "ethical freakshow of a universe"?

Coyotecreek, lambert, some of us see a NOTA movement (I had to google that word at first when it was presented in a comment to a recent blog I did -- "none of the above" ...h/t lambert, vastydeep, coyotecreek!!!) -- I got chills when I saw what it meant cuz I could easily visualize it as an imminent and growing grassroots movement, I visualized it on a vastleft T shirt, even), to give a place to rally these voices. We need a structure. It is a neck-sticking-out stance, too. Ripe for demonization. Letsgetitdone has written extensively about organizing a bloc of protesting voters. Hmmmmmm. We need to brainstorm.

Can we frame it so it includes the Greens or rogue and real liberal Dem legacy party people? How can we frame it? I have been chewing on it for a few days. Wanting to link up with some corrente people like coyotecreek (which we have done and will continue) and the vital and masterful lambert, juliawilliams (whose Green campaign we can maybe help with this), letsgetitdone, vastleft, Hugh, jawbone, madamab and others ... those who might be willing to throw in their profound talents to brainstorm a system. I told coyotecreek I would get back to her soon and I will. But this blog started out as a comment to lambert's Susie Madrak blog but kept growing.

So many of us are hearing the call for people of conscience to act!!!

And there is a lot of percolating anger on a lot of sites.

God, am late for work. Gotta run. Forgive typos and bad grammar!

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Submitted by mike flugennock on

...I've always considered the relationship between the Donkeycrats and their "base" in terms of spousal abuse.

This stems from a remark reported widely by a Clinton White House flack in 1996, right about the time that Ralph Nader announced as the Green Party Presidential candidate. In so many words, said Clinton flack mouthed off that the Dems' Progressive base will support them "because they have no place else to go".

This reminded me of nothing if not the kind of mind-fuck language that abusive husbands use on their wives when they're making up their minds to leave to avoid the continued beating and threats of beating. In this situation, as I recall, the abusive husband, along with physical violence, also lays on heavy mind-fucking in an attempt to convince the battered wife that she has no one to support her, no one to turn to for help in escaping the abusive situation.

I thought at first that I was trivializing spousal abuse, until I mentioned this analogy to a friend's wife who, along with law, also majored in Womens' Studies; she totally agreed with this assessment as she, too, saw this pattern of abusive behavior emerging on the part of the Democratic Party towards its Leftie/Progressive base.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Mirroring with respect is something important that a good parent does for a child, a loving friend, spouse, relative, etc. does for a precious loved one.

To, instead of mirroring and responding to someone who one professes matters, give NO response, treat as INVISIBLE, is even worse than abusive treatment. It has to do with "response-ability". Does Obama REALLY have response-ability? I mean to the citizenry and the human beings of the world, not just the oligarchical puppet masters.

Obama looks forward to the future supposedly and he never looks to the left. Not much of a community organizer to ice out one segment of the national family.

Seeing the physicians asserting to be at the health reform table for single payer and having them so rudely treated, even arrested, and having Obama pretend they didn't even exist and repeatedly say they considered EVERY idea which is such serious BS. Not to even acknowledge there was an entire bloc of citizens who wanted something of value. Even if Obama had acknowledged he didn't agree, would have been exhibiting at least a modicum of respect. But to be treated as invisible?

Just as the media treats the "true left" (i like vast's expression) as if it is not there. How painful every time i hear "public option" seeming to be on the liberal vanguard when it was soooo not. Remember when frontline was it even ignored single payer on their documentary.

And when Obama and his cabal finally address the people of conscience on the left, their disdain and discomfort is painful to endure, the insult stings and angers.

Obama is president of all citizens. He seem to have bottomless patience for the bigots. But the moralists. Not so much.

And having the bigots talk of Obama like the ultimate liberal instead of the blue dog Dem he actually is, how crazymaking is that, also. Our liberalism might as well exist on Pluto (which is now not even a planet) it is given such collective denial or short, short shrift.

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

I'm all for a "third party progressive" vote !! NOTA if you don't have Greens or progressive parties on the ballot, and write-ins where you can (in MI the write-ins are not tabulated unless there is a "declared" candidate-and don't get me started on their ballot access laws). I have to say, though, that there are NO rogue progressive Dems, they all fall in line when they have to (see Kucinich), or they are allowed a "rogue" vote when it doesn't matter. It is exactly falling back into the enabler trap to think that anyone that's a member of either legacy party can break out of the mold, IMO. So, to create a strong progressive movement, we can work on the existing Green structure, their values (h/t vast) are very liberal and inclusive, they do not take corporate or pac funding, what's not to like about their platform? I do have a quibble with their lack of a unified, national organization, but we can work on that while we work to get more Greens elected.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I respect your take on this julia, especially. And going Green is showing us an alternate way. You are actually WALKING THE WALK! It inspires! Yes, my comment on the "rogue" or real liberal in legacy party. But it is dangerous to being a solid bloc protesting a party that has collectively betrayed so profoundly and for so long. $12 trillion gone from us. How many dead from the wars? Accepting Obama's breaking international and humane law. I guess I put that in because of Feingold, a rare mensch, who of all people does not deserve to lose his Senate seat. Damn. I hope he will make it. How ironic, the strongest voice of integrity in the Senate imho. He was the voice of sanity going after the Patriot Act when all about him were bowing down to the "terror" fear-mongering and ready to gut the constitution and then actually doing it.

I was sorry that Tasini lost the primary against Rangel in NYC. Yes, most of the constituents polled iirc said they assumed Rangel had committed at least part of the corruption he has been accused of. But he was their "beloved" crook. Wow. There you go. The cronyism of the NY pols and the constituency and of course the media that went amoral, too... loyalty and cronyism over integrity. Over earnest change that Tasini offered. And the big pols got points apparently by courageously circling the wagons around Rangel. Cronyism quid pro quo. No chance of draining the swamp of corruption they proved to me at least out of their limited capacity for self-motivation. No chance of Dem "tough love" for integrity. Cronyism. Codependency!!!

Tasini really was pushing for the workers. Raising the minimum wage. Empowering unions. He was ready to take on the status quo. And against the war-mongerers. The banksters. But Rangel's "folk hero" familiarity with the voters, even though the publicity had turned negative from his shenanigans and revelations of how much corporate lobby money he has received (4th most in Congress), did not matter, especially when endorsed by the Dem pol machine. And some empathy for his plight. And he is a larger than life, expansive personality. And also he is an African American who has been such a celebrated and successful role model for so many decades, that would be hard to let go of for his fans.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Even the Working Families Party branch of the Dem party which should have gone for Tasini even if the official party honored cronyism and loyalty over integrity went for Rangel. I think that was my ultimate tipping point to NOTA thinking. Tasini was hoping to be a voice of integrity ready to engage with the broken system. And that door of opportunity slammed shut. The people voted against their self interest ... yet again ... lemmings led by the personality over substance corporate-friendly and owned media. It is a liberal district. But Rangel's brand won. And if and when he is asked to leave, having lost his chair position already, apparently Rangel will play "kingmaker" for his successor. So it will be a Rangel clone. Like Schumer selected Gillibrand, someone who will let him be her puppet master imho. Be a team player. Gillibrand is willing to get behind whatever opportunity required stance the most voters want to hear. A lot like Obama.

Also, of course, the $ required for beating the drum with advertising. Tasini lacked that. I don't need to share my faraway view and assumptions of his challenges. You are still in the game so to speak, wrestling with them yourself. Our Ms. Smith Goes To Washington!!!! :) julia, i know you are busy busy busy but I would love to hear more of your adventures when you have time. And I hope we all can help you in these precious last weeks.

Cyn's picture
Submitted by Cyn on

and I am finding it infinitely easier to "detach" as I don't think we have a snowballs chance in hell to change anything. But, maybe I'm just jaded.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

1. Unlike some, I view my "job" as blogger as being honest, not being "savvy" nor "pragmatic" nor "effective." With that in mind, I think it's perfectly OK to be a complete skeptic about the, um, hope for change.

2. Things change. As Yoda says, "always in motion is the future," and as the proverb says, "this too shall pass." What's impossible today may be possible tomorrow, or some new avenue worth pursuing may materialize.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

One of the things that annoys me about the lefty blogosphere is that they are ensconced in their delusions of exceptionalism. This is the most important time in the history of the universe. That sort of view leads invariably to an Obama historically historic awesomely awesome candidacy. It also helps perpetuate the legacy party two-step game.

Yeah, shit's fucked up. But history is full of really bad times. Times I feel were much scarier than today.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

weren't really mainlining the hopium.

They just knew what side their tribe was buttered on and didn't give two shits that:

* Abetting Obama's coronation helped propel the Overton window far to the right in a natural lefty change year
* All manner of abuse was visited on people who believed in fair play
* HCR (and developments in most other key political-economic issues) would be crooked, substantially retrograde, and at best a Potemkin "victory"

ms_xeno's picture
Submitted by ms_xeno on

At this point, all my IRL energy goes to just trying to keep a roof over my head and deal with health issues, frankly. There will be no marches and no organizing for me, at least for a while. (Add to that the well-founded fear of having one's good will steered one more time into some Democrat's "butterfly net," as Marisacat likes to put it, and well...)

But I treasure anyone willing and able to give the Dems and their co-rulers the finger; anyone willing and able to do so proudly right now. There is so much wrong with these people and their apologists and hangers-on. Anyone's skepticism, transformed into even a NOTA vote or what-have-you, feels like a huge step up from where we were a couple of years back.

Even tiny crumbs can be savored, when a person's gone so long without even that much.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

like Marisacat's metaphor ...

I feel like there is some serious build-up of outrage happening ... and suspect the establishment is frantically trying to pull the plug on the internet because of it. The ripples are going out and you added yours! And it matters to all of us. No matter how often they can be afforded ... they validate and enlighten and spread the strength of our existence and identity and entitlement as citizens. There is a network of people with souls who can break the "matrices" of the sell-outs and the psychopathic patriarchs who control them.

ms_xeno's picture
Submitted by ms_xeno on

Likewise, I'm sure. :)

Submitted by libbyliberal on

... does make a difference ... I pray. Those ripples of independent and moral thought.

It does all seem like kabuki, giving the illusion of "democracy" to the very myopic, but the country behind the curtain has been profoundly criminal in so many dimensions. This is not as "good as it gets". Reading about "imperial barbarism" is chilling, and that is our present government's recipe for progress at the top levels of power? Power and domination and exploitation and violence?

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

That's why I left the party. Boxer, Kucinich, Murray, Brown . . . the list goes on and on for Dems who I trusted who fell right in line with Obama's normaliztion of Republican policies.

Submitted by Hugh on

Every advance has cost great effort. It took as much courage for a Mugwump to renounce his party allegiance in 1884 as it does now for a man to denounce both national parties as dens of thieves. It took as much hard thinking some years ago for the leaders of the Reform Democrats to cut loose from Tammany Hall as it does now for the Independent to see that there is in all our politics only one machine, held together by all the bosses and their heelers, and that the whole thing must be attacked at once.

How gradual has been the process of emancipation from intellectual bondage! How inevitably people are limited by the terms in which they think! A generation of men has been consumed by the shibboleth "reform within the party," —a generation of educated and right-minded men, who accomplished in their day much good, and left the country better than they found it, but are floating to-day like hulks in the trough of the sea of politics, because all their mind and all their energy were exhausted in discovering certain superficial evils and in fighting them. Their analysis of political elements left the deeper causes mysterious. They did not see mere human nature. They still treated Republicanism and Democracy—empty superstitions—as ideas, and they handled with reverence the bones of bogus saints, and the whole apparatus of clap-trap by which they had been governed.

I will always be grateful to whoever it was who first steered me to John Jay Chapman's Practical Agitation, published in 1900. He nailed our current political scene as well as his own.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

elsewhere on this site. I keep thinking of the Sons (and daughters) of Liberty long ago. Who made so much happen, in spite of the hearts of darkness existing back then, too. The tree of liberty was watered with blood. What is that quote about comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable? Then I always turn to that Margaret Mead quote about a small group of committed people making the difference.

EVIL is LIVE backwards. Necrophilia vs. Biophilia. Contraction vs. Expansion. Protection vs. Exploration. We need a paradigm shift as they say from the patriarchal competition and power at all costs to the humanist dimension of partnership and cooperation. Win/win. Golden rule basics. End the war on empathy in this country and internationally.

Faux-Christians solidly behind torture. Dear God!

Time to open the floodgates for massive wave of truth to power!

Submitted by jawbone on

Just...awesome. And I don't use the word lightly.

(I thought I'd posted this earlier; hope it's not doubled, that missing things is joining with forgetting things....)

Submitted by libbyliberal on

That means so much to me.

(Maybe I had the courage to unleash since I thought I was writing a comment with such limited time and so much came pouring out of me. Believe me, it means so much to have it resonate with others like you for whom I have so much respect and appreciation! You know, when I was having trouble replying at and accessing corrente today, I had a grandiose paranoia that my NOTA advocacy had brought down the looming angry powers of control "out there"! I feel we have to take advantage of our first amendment right as loudly as possible before there is a craven attempt to yank that away on this slippery slope of fascism!)