In an abusive relationship, the only thing that matters to the abuser is the present. And by the “present,” I mean the pressure that is being applied in the present, toward whatever ends the abuser currently desires. Greed and self-centered demand are completely oriented to the present. Out of the picture are promises and obligations incurred in the past, and equally out of the picture are the consequences that are going to show up in the future. “Live for the present” is the mantra, not of an appealing romantic teacher of poetry, but of the classic thug in a wife-beater.
And the government of these United States is currently acting the part of an abusive live-in boyfriend, the kind who churlishly demands sex, cocaine, free cable and hot meals. The only thing more surprising than the chutzpah that demands in this way is the fact that there are people who acquiesce to it. In other words, as long as it works, there will be people who do it. Obligations from the past, whether express or implied, phhhhttt, gone. Constitution, legal precedent, cultural legacies, campaign promises . . . that was yesterday, this is now. As long as threats and bluster in the present work, then there will be threats and bluster in the present.
Equally out of consideration for these people are the consequences that will come home to roost in the future. Other politicians will have to lie for their supper then, and today’s politicians gracefully leave them to invent their own lies. Consequences? That’s so manana.
Now the only thing that works with this kind of abusive personality is to just say no. Argument won’t work, discussions won’t work, pointing to obligations signed and sealed won’t work, and multiplied sessions with gullible counselors won’t work. The only thing the abusive personality cares about is the thing it currently cares about, and the only way to communicate sense to such a personality is to withhold that thing. In this case, that thing is your tax money, and so that is what must be withheld. Withholding it in dribs and drabs won’t work because abusive live-in boyfriends know how to be sullen and explosive. They know how to beat you up. It has to happen on a scale that provides the abusive personality with no options at all.
No, what we need are just a handful Calvin’s lesser magistrates (state governors) to grant permission to the populace in their respective states to simply say no, as in, don’t send in that tax money. “It is my good pleasure to announce that this whole thing has become a racket, a rip-off, and I would appreciate it if you would join me in nullifying this unconstitutional and unconscionable tax. Thank you.”
What would happen next? Those who have dealt with abusive personalities know — we would be eyewitnesses to the biggest tantrum of all time. If we had our wits about us, we could time the whole thing for the Fourth of July, and save on the expenses for our municipal fireworks display.
What’s better than a colorful, abusive, live-in boyfriend? Oh, lots of things, but one that comes to mind is a colorful, abusive, ex-live-in boyfriend.