Kings, Cathedrals, Destroyers & Trump

My wife & I have just spent two weeks in the U.K., and I can’t help but notice the similarities between the authoritarian leaders of ole and the current president of the United States. You can see exhibits and read all about death in visits to English castles, manor houses and prisons. The kings’ and queens’ opponents – both human and institutional – were perpetually at risk.

Similarly, Mr. Trump and his supporters use death.

  • Death to a free press.
    • or at least to those outlets which express liberal or main-stream views.
  • Death to truth in government reports.
    • Especially anything which contradicts the administration’s views on climate change and its potential dangers.
  • Death to any rights not envisioned by the founding fathers, such as the right of a woman to control her own reproductive decisions.
    • That is the goal of President Trump’s chief legal advisors, members of the Federalist Society.
      • Specifically, “… that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
      • By “what the law is,” the Federalist Society means the laws as set out in the constitution, not subject to consideration of societal changes that have occurred since it and the amendments had been adopted.
    • Death to the social welfare state.
      • as envisioned by those who wish to cut their tax obligations to as low as possible, and believe that the state should not be in the business of retirement or disability income (Social Security), healthcare (Medicare and Medicaid), and other federally supported programs (too many to name).

How do authoritarian leaders behave? They are demanding. They don’t take advice well. They feel rules and social norms don’t apply to them. And if they happen to be the leaders of certain countries, they have their opponents killed.

And how do those who serve authoritarian leaders behave? They are overly complementary. They make happen what they think the leader wants. They sign nondisclosure agreements and say how wonderful it is to be fired by the president. Sorry, that’s the modern version. I meant to say that they act in a way to avoid losing their heads – literally and/or figuratively.

Examples abound.

  • Kim Hyok Chol, the chief North Korean delegate in the nuclear talks with the U.S., may have been executed recently since the talks have not produced the results desired by the country’s leader.
  • Lady Jane Grey, a niece of King Henry VIII and a pawn in the struggles for the throne in England, beheaded on February 12th, 1554, at the age of 16. She had been queen for 9 days the previous year.
  • Alexander Litvinenko, Alexander Perepilichnyy, and perhaps Boris Berezovsky – outspoken critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin or a material witness in a money laundering investigation involving powerful Russians – killed in their adopted homeland of the United Kingdom.

And sometimes there are “mistakes.” People who serve the authoritarian leader read commands into the utterances of the supreme leader. For example, because of Trump’s repeated attacks on former Senator John McCain, a member of the White House staff asked the Navy to obscure the USS John S. McCain, a destroyer named after the late senator’s father and grandfather, during Trump’s visit to Yokosuka Naval base in Japan. The Navy appears to have taken some steps to comply with the request.

It reminds one of King Henry II’s utterance in 1170, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest!” King Henry II and Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket had a difference of opinion on the separation of church and state and religious sanctuary for accused wrongdoers. Four knights read Henry’s exasperated utterance as a command, sailed from Normandy to England and hacked Becket to death on the steps of the altar at Canterbury Cathedral during a religious service.

God save us all from the utterances and tweets of authoritarian leaders and those who try to appease them.

About tonyj126

I'm a 50+ married man who always seems to have a large backlog of work to do, but also a lot of flexibility in my schedule. Much of the work I do is volunteer or taking care of extended family members. I suffer from, as my priest calls it, "the sin of self-sufficiency," which means I can figure out how to do most things myself, and consequently, reduce the need for community to solve problems. As a logical extention (at least to me), I find myself called to comtemplate the country's and the world's woes and offer my observations. I hope someone out there will find them useful.
This entry was posted in Make America Great Series, Musings, Religion, U.S. Politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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