Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

THE NEW NORMAL

          I knew something was very wrong when Easter and April Fool’s fell on the selfsame day–an omen that all is not well, anywhere. Nor did it take long to come to fruition, having begun only Nov. 8, 2016—the day the most unkind and misbegotten of leadership species acceded to the presidency of the free world.

          April Fool’s Day doesn’t go anywhere, it’s always smack-dab the very first of that month. Easter is another matter, which is why this year’s confusion was bound to happen, given enough time. Christianity had swept the world and the emperor Constantine joined in the fun but in his ignorance split the Empire by establishing a new capital named after himself. No harm was meant, it was just his way of trying to nail down Latin influence everywhere, but then came its unintended consequences, known thereafter as the Eastern and Western Churches.

          At first, everyone followed the Lunar Calendar in setting the date for Easter—the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (remember that). So far so good, but way later, the West changed to the Gregorian calendar, set a fixed date for the equinox, and now the two Churches have Easter falling as many as five weeks apart. But who cared, unless you lived either in Rome or Constantinople and took issue with what those other people were doing by celebrating Resurrection on the wrong day. Anyway, there you have it, and this year we had it on a day celebrating All Fools. Sort of a nasty confluence: Is it “He is Risen!” or “April Fool!” Apparently, to each his own.

          Now for the other joke—a president who hasn’t drained the swamp but has turned the world upside down. Before, I’ve likened him to Thomas Hobbe’s “Leviathan,” the “strongman” to whom lily-livered folk, in tense times, would trade their freedom for his promise of security. Then I thought of  Louis XIV, the “sun king” of France, big spender and thus creator of busted national budgets—and his palace of Versailles, the Mar-A-Lago of its day, where his groveling minions, from outside its windows, were allowed to watch him feast sumptuously on stuff they could only lay eyes on.  For this privilege they would keep Louis’ poll numbers up whilst he bankrupted the country and mortgaged its future.

          Trump is equal parts of those two, but there is another part, sort of an unholy trinity, if you will; a toxic mixture that all of us, sadly, are becoming heir to unless we can turn around this errant train known as the Trump presidency: I’m thinking Henry VIII of England, all ass-and-appetite, and abused of the notion that he should have anything he wanted–you know, the Silver Spoon Syndrome.  Ol’ Hank knew how to push the boundaries, as we well recall, even starting a new religion because he wanted to bed another woman, and got away with it. Radical as that may seem, Henry also had enough sense to know when to back off and on many occasions he did.

          Trump has no clue of that. For him it’s full steam ahead—everything for himself and the devil take the hindmost which, regrettably, is us. And that, we may predict, will be his doom. Every tyrant in the world, name any of them, ancient or near-past, appeared to be doing the Lord’s work until their Hubris took over with a vengeance. And to get real personal in this case, those of you who say “Let him do what he wants as long as my stock portfolio goes up,” better have another plan when Donald brings us all down.

          When that happens, there may be no resurrection, at least anytime soon thereafter, and the least problem with Easter will be the date it falls on.

          So what’s happening today is something we’ve seen before, though we’re much less students of the past than we should be. Still, we’d best heed the truism that those who don’t know history are doomed to its repetition.

          You know, Groundhog Day all over again. For now, it’s the new normal.


         

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