WE ALWAYS BURN THE MAN
“All supposed exterior signs of danger that a bull gives, such as pawing the ground, threatening with his horns, or bellowing are forms of bluffing…The truly brave bull gives no warning before he charges except the fixing of his eye on the enemy, the raising of the crest of muscle in his neck, the twitching of an ear, and, as he charges, the lifting of his tail.” – Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
There are many faces of Donald Trump. His mirthless smirk telegraphs that he is full of the guile that lives in the recesses of the soul of an evil man. The apparent carnal delight he takes in the sadistic arts sends a chill down the spines of even the most callous among us. He paws at the ground, he bellows, and now, finally, we see him stripped of his horns – the moment when all façade falls away, and we see him for his essential self: a dying beast, sapped of his power, a hologram that flickers between time-frame images: – from that of a petulant boy – to that of a prancing adolescent playboy – to that of a petty thief using play money to grift his way to the top of the tabloids.
He has been ennobled by his followers because of the degree to which he appears to have mastered the dark arts of cruelty, corruption, and greed. But now, even his zealots see his puerile bluffing for what it is – and the show’s over. It won’t be picked up for another season. As we gather our belongings, and the threat of End-Times evanesces, we silently decamp to our next venue. We’re America; we have laws; we are decent.
Our rituals are born of ancient traditions; they carry the murmurings of a very distant past – they are the archetypes of the collective consciousness of Homo sapiens. Our rituals form the base of all religions, and as they travel through time, wondrous stories are woven to warn the future of the past.
This past 2 ½ years has been one of those stories. Among Donald Trump’s countless descriptors, there is an unusual aspect of his personality that bears discussion at this moment. This often-dismissed aspect of Trump’s character is the surpassing delight he takes in crafting conflict. For him, chaos is the mechanism he employs to build the architecture of anarchy. His objective is not to establish a new world order; it is to reduce world order to chaos. And his method is to pilfer in small ways that lead to the power to plunder on far grander stages. He sees Vladimir Putin plunder the resources of Russia to become the world’s wealthiest man, and he asks, “Why not me?” Putin dangles ownership in one of the pilfered Russian industries, Rosneft, and Trump asks, “What position in this deal will lifting sanctions get me?” He launders money for the Russian mob through his real estate empire and asks for only a “taste”, all the while knowing that soon they’ll be eagerly laundering his plunder. Oil deal for an arctic oil exploration partnership between ExxonMobil and Rosneft – a parade of American cabinet secretaries is a phone call away; trouble with a recalcitrant Ukraine; Putin asks – Trump delivers.
And why can we not tear ourselves away from this spectacle? I see the source for our fascination lying in the ancient mythology of our Abrahamic traditions – in the strange idea of an End Time – a time of great conflict when the world ends and a messiah – a hero much like the Greek Theseus – saves us from our own fascination with evil. It’s only a whisper in the ear of our modern world. But as the gentle feather touch of fate plays with our dreams, we are starting to see the prophesy unfold once again as the biosphere degrades, the world warms, and the Doomsday Clock tells us it’s 2 minutes to midnight.
Donald Trump is not an engineer of a new social organizing structure that is based upon fascism and corruption; he is not a Daedalus, the master builder of the Cretan labyrinth of ancient Greece. In our allegory, that engineering feat of the Labyrinth would have fallen to America’s Founders who so meticulously crafted the founding documents intended as the guardrails of a rebellious people seeking freedom from tyranny and freedoms to exercise the creative impulse that so famously characterizes American culture. Our sense of individuality coupled with limitless possibilities.
No, Trump is not Daedalus the engineer. Donald Trump is the Minotaur for which the labyrinth was built to imprison him within. The walls of civilization are there to protect us from the depredations of a soulless monster, of disorder, of the casual cruelty of our worst impulses – of what Abraham Lincoln described as “this gradual and steady debauching of public opinion”. And as the structure of the ancient Cretan labyrinth was conceived to keep an angry half bull/half man chimera from escaping, our Constitution is there to keep Donald Trump imprisoned within its walls – not to keep invaders out. As Lincoln spoke with such crystal clarity in 1858:
“It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny. All of those may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.” Abraham Lincoln – 1858, Edwardsville, Ill
Don’t let The Trump Regime and his Republican collaborators, “blow out the moral lights around us”.
Deborah Long is a Principal at Development Management Group, Inc. and founder of several non-profit charitable organizations. If you find her perspectives interesting, provocative, or controversial, follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/debby.long.98499?ref=br_rs
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