Since the beginning of the Obama presidency, conservative legislators in the US Congress have developed a certain pattern in their attacks on the president. First, they sabotage, block, and decry every initiative he attempts and every legislation or appointment he puts forth. They then complain loudly and bitterly that he is ineffective. We have seen this pattern unfold in every area of policy over the past five plus years. In recent days, it has emerged, yet again, over the crisis at the border, and is more flagrant than ever.
After weeks of vitriolic ranting about Obama not containing the current influx of minors at the Southern border, Congress has refused to even consider the president’s proposed legislation to deal with the issue. When the House was unable to pass even its own, right wing-agenda-fueled legislation, Speaker John Boehner said that the president should act on his own to deal with the matter. Astonishingly, this comment came one day after Boehner’s caucus had sued the president for acting on his own on a minor tweak of an equally politicized and entangled issue – the Affordable Care Act.
Eventually, the House GOP actually gathered together to pass an extremely ill-considered bill on the border crisis that would be dead on arrival in the Senate, and sure to earn a veto if it ever made it to the president’s desk. Their actions were, once again, transparently about political posturing and not about actually dealing with a very real crisis.
Sadly, today’s GOP has devolved into a pattern reminiscent of that found in all toxically abusive relationships. In these interactions, there is an obsession in the abuser with belittling, attacking, and disempowering the designated victim, hoping to break him or her down into an impotent, easily-controlled mockery. Interestingly, after President Obama’s initial attempts at placating his rabid political opposition, the president has increasingly refused to play the game on the Republicans’ terms.
In the Drama Triangle first described by Stephen Karpman in 1968, there are three roles often morphing from one to another and then back again, that emerge in dysfunctional interactions: the Victim, the Persecutor, and the Rescuer. Republican politicians and the right-wing media are extraordinarily adept at framing everything in terms of perceived victimization, which easily transmutes into the justifiable rage of the perpetrator. In their all-consuming narrative of grievance, the Right sees itself as victimized by the government which wants to take their money (taxes), their freedom, and their guns. They feel victimized by the president, as well as his supporters, seen as mostly minorities in this rendering, who want to take away their country, discriminate against “White Christians”, and live on government handouts paid for by “real” Americans. They see themselves as seriously harmed by the “homosexual agenda” and maliciously manipulated by the “global warming conspiracy”. The list goes on and on, with each issue inevitably articulated in the same framework of victimization, and leading inexorably to the seemingly legitimized, rage-filled fury of the perpetrator.
The path away from this unhealthy pattern of the Drama Triangle is two-fold. The first part consists of the cultivation of appropriate boundaries: developing respect for those with whom we disagree; discontinuing mind-reading assumptions about the motives and character of others; fostering an ability to discuss differences without all-consuming, personal attacks or overinflated fears; and graciously tolerating that the world will not always bend to our will.
The second requirement in getting off the Drama Triangle merry-go-round is that the Victim, an essentially powerless role if embraced, must take responsibility for him or herself, no longer depending on the Perpetrator for vengeance or the Rescuer to take control. When President Obama tells the GOP that if they won’t act, he will, he is essentially refusing the Victim role, and the powerlessness that goes with it, and taking responsibility himself for getting the job done. Given the pathological dysfunction in today’s government, this is truly an exceptionally salubrious effort.
The word coming out of the White House after Congress’ dereliction of duty with regard to the border crisis is that President Obama will handle the issue through executive order. This will no doubt give the GOP apoplexy when the details are known, but it seems at present the only way out of the current critical situation. As has been mentioned numerous times on this site, the president is coming out of a two-month period of inordinate criticism for his policies and very low approval ratings, due to the Saturn station sesquiquadrate his Venus (1Cancer47) culminating on August 3. The separation of this aspect suggests some relief from the constant barrage, at least in the short term. Also of significance at present is the tertiary progressed Sun conjunction to Mars (20Aquarius13) and semisquare Uranus (5Aries14) in the Inaugural chart from July 24 through August 24, suggesting a more aggressive stance by the administration and willingness for more unilateral action.
Likely unrelated to the border issue, there is an indication of difficulties during the second half of August that will upset a number of people due to some kind of dramatic event, possibly a superstorm or serious accident or a random act of violence. Saturn will make its final crossing sesquiquadrate US Venus (3Cancer06) and square to Obama’s Ascendant (18Aquairus03) from August 12 through September 1. The precipitating circumstances for this distress may well occur at some point from August 21 through August 25, during the Mars quincunx to Uranus (August 21 through 23) or the Mars conjunction with Saturn (August 23 to August 25), with all five days being a time of greatly increased tension.
If I were to suggest a time for President Obama to announce his plan regarding the border crisis, I would point to early on the morning after Labor Day. Jupiter will be moving towards its first crossing conjunct his Sun at that time, exact from September 7 through September 12. This would give the new policy a few days of positive attention before the last Saturn crossing opposite Inaugural Moon (19Taurus38) and square Inaugural Mars (20Aquarius13), with a combined impact from September 9 through September 28. These latter aspects seem likely to rekindle GOP attacks on the president.
On the whole, the president seems likely to fare better in September and October 2014 than he has over the past two months during the stress of the Saturn station. But the overwhelming turmoil in the world is not likely to abate any time soon. The extremely destabilizing volatility of the Uranus/Pluto square, directly impacting so many charts of today’s major players, will continue with us and likely intensify from October 2014 through March 2015, as these two planetary powerhouses continue to stir up all manner of transformation across the globe, much of it violent and enormously disruptive.
As for the Republicans, it is not anticipated that they will diminish their endless attacks in the coming months. They may well gain more seats in the November election, although it is hard to see how the next Congress could do more than the current one to thwart the president at every turn as he continues his struggle to navigate the dangerous waters of today’s world. It would be nice if Americans would pay careful attention.