I Hereby Order…

How tempting to wave a magic wand, to order a decree to make things go the way you want.

I hereby order:

  • The elimination of fossil fuel use by 2020
  • Universal access to quality healthcare
  • An end to hunger and malnutrition
  • Respect for all people regardless of religion, race, nationality, heritage, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability and intelligence.

The increasingly erratic behavior from Donald Trump has played out over the past week in one sensational news article after the next.

  • The U.S. wants to buy Greenland
  • The prime minister of Denmark is ‘nasty’
  • “I’m the chosen one”
  • “I’m the King of Israel, the second coming of God”
  • “I hereby order our great American companies to immediately start looking for an alternative to China”

I can’t be sure about his King of Israel claim, but clearly, he thinks he’s the King of the United States. On Friday, President Trump appeared on the third-floor balcony of his castle, unrolled his parchment scroll and made his proclamation. The lords and ladies and American CEOs all bowed and made it so.

OK, I don’t blame Trump. I want to be the King of America too. Our political system is a disaster. Like Solomon’s baby, we have somehow split our nation equally in two. Us against them, them against us. I’m a socialist, you’re a fascist. Snowflake/Deplorable.

How tempting to wave a magic wand, to order a decree to make things go the way you want. So easy to do when you believe God has ordained your role. I live in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Surrounding my town is a national park. The various farms, forests and fields where the pivotal battle of the American Civil War was fought are all protected now by the federal government. This land is deemed ‘hallowed ground.’ An enduring shrine to death. The roads through the park are lined with monuments, 1,328 of them. They are markers and memorials commemorating the various battalions and brigades that fought and died during the battle.

The 33rd New York Infantry: Wounded, 56; Died, 42; Missing, 14. These tallies are found everywhere, every twenty to forty yards, large marble tombstones, each ornately carved, celebrating war. The battlefield is a cemetery. There is no judgment. Confederate and Union armies are treated alike. On this battlefield, both sides are right, both sides are just. A common memorial is an avenging angel. Armed with a sword, winged, arising from the crumpled body of a slain soldier, God and heaven making this death count, a pissed-off spirit sounding a call for revenge.

This is what I envision is going on in Donald Trump’s head. God is with him. He can’t be wrong because God has ordained him to rule the world. About fifteen years ago, I read the Left Behind book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. From Wikipedia: Left Behind tells the story of the end times (set in the contemporary era), in which true believers in Christ have been “raptured” (taken instantly to heaven), leaving the world shattered and chaotic. Right, not exactly what you’d expect on the reading list of a non-Christian agnostic, but really, it’s literally post-apocalyptic, which is my favorite literary genre.

In this story, a popular politician named Nicolae Carpathia makes sweeping changes to the world order over just a few years’ time. He rules by decree, and everyone in the world sheepishly follows along. This, it seems, is what Trump expects. His decades as a CEO of ruthless businesses have taught him that he can treat anyone however he pleases and that person will kowtow to his every wish—he expects this from the press, American CEOs, other world leaders, even entire nations. Trump is a playground bully gone global. A narcissist, a tyrant, a deluded man hell-bent on destroying the world.

In the Left Behind books, Carpathia turns out to be the anti-Christ. I’m not making any comparisons here… just sayin’.

Previously Published on jeffcann.com