Early on, in abusive relationships, the abuser begins the process of stripping away the self-confidence of his victim. Over and over, until she (or he) begins to believe what the abuser tells her: that she needs him, she cannot do it on her own and if she tried, she would fail and he would not be there to take her back. She may want to leave, but these thoughts run through her head.
After awhile, instead of the idea of freedom giving her hope, it fills her with fear. In her world, it might be bad, but, occasionally, she can see he cares. At least, she tells herself, she knows what to expect and, maybe things will get better. She chooses the known over the unknown; she is imprisoned by the fear of freedom.
Reflecting on this last election, I see many similarities to the described situation. America's poor circumstances have gone on for so long, we did not believe better days were possible for us.
We had a distinct choice, four more years of the same stagnant economy or a chance at growth and prosperity. For many, that possibility seemed too good to be true.
They said "the math didn't work," without acknowledging that many people aren't able to find work. Household incomes are down, and more women and minorities live in poverty than four years ago.
I don't know if the road not taken would have been one to prosperity, but our economy has grown so little in four years, even if we went backward, we wouldn't have far to make up.
Instead, we chose the familiar. After all, in his speeches, the president seems to care. Things aren't great, but they're not so bad. Maybe things will get better.
Freedom was just too much to hope for.