Friday, April 13, 2018


In Greek mythology Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth in Crete. Having fallen out of grace with King Minos of Crete, Daedalus was imprisoned in a tower. With Icarus' complicity he hatched a plan to escape from Crete by means of wings that Daedalus constructed from feathers and wax. In preparation for the execution of their plan of escape Daedalus warns Icarus first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he neither fly too high or too low, so the sea's dampness would not clog his wings or the sun's heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father's instructions not to fly too near the sun. When the wax in his wings melted he fell out of the sky into the sea and drowned.

 Daedalus is to Icarus what the Republican Party is to Donald Trump... his daddy. The GOP finds itself in a place of potential political isolation given its cultivation of a labyrinth of bigotry aided by demographic gerrymandering. In desperation they have embraced this offspring of their own bigotry in hopes of escaping from the tower of isolation to which an ever-changing society has them relegated. 

All considered, Donald Trump's ascendance to the leadership of the Republican Party is in essence the ultimate expression of a politically incestuous relationship. Some have deemed the ongoing drama of his dismantling of Republican ideals as poetic justice. He is the chicken that the GOP hatched after seven years of roosting with their backward, obstructionist Tea Party cousins. 

The leaders of the Republican Party, such as they are, now find themselves in the awkward position of desperately wishing they had aborted this unfortunate hybrid of their own bigoted over-indulgence. They are now powerless in this regard, since to denounce him now would create the kind of inter-party schism that could very well result in the end the GOP as we know it. I am led here to take liberties with a line from a hymn by the English poet and hymnodist William Cowper,  a line inspired by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah's profound query: "Can a mother's tender care cease toward the child she bear?"... I ask:

Can the Grand Ole Party's tender care cease toward this bombastic hybrid of the bigoted conservatism that they have bred and cultivated?

We are witnessing what is without doubt a painful existential moment for the Republican Party. When they look at Trump's face, when they listen to the scurrilous bleatings emanating from his foul mouth, when they are forced to face the reality that his history as an amoral entity contradicts every principle they claim to hold dear; to say he is an embarrassment of major proportions would be an understatement. They would probably love to snuff out his political breath, or put a cork in his outrageous mouth, but it is too late. 

Short of breaking his proverbial wings with the blunt force of some kind of constitutional maneuver... the 25th Amendment comes to mind, they are helpless. Today's GOP is at the mercy of Trump's ignorance and bluster. They are left to cringe in embarrassment at his bombastic Tweets and his other half-literate utterings; and so they daily twist themselves into rhetorical pretzels in their attempts to account for his demonstrated idiocy. 

The GOP is now left to tend to its own self-inflicted wounds. the coming departure of  an apparently spineless Speaker Paul Ryan reveals the extent of the painful predicament they face.

For Trump's part, the true nature and potential of his ascendance is about to be revealed. The country and the world now waits with baited breath for the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The prospect of having his wings clipped by a Grand Ole Party that for the most part now regards him with unbridled disgust is one thing. Finding out that his rise to political prominence has largely been a function of the superficial nature of our political and media culture; and that he may well be the Trojan horse of a hostile foreign power will be quite another. We may yet find out why he appears so genuinely incredulous that he rose to the top of what was quite a political heap. 

Trump's proximity to the luster of the nation's highest office is apparently quite thrilling to him. He now occupies that sacred space. Like the son of Daedalus, he is all fired up about his rise to unexpected heights.  He had no problem negotiating his way through the GOP's grossly ill-conceived political labyrinth, but he is discovering, quite to his chagrin, that maintaining his ascendance in the hot lights of the nations scrutiny is quite another matter. Hell, he seems to be daily warming to the fact that he is woefully ill-equipped for the challenge he now faces.

Like Icarus, Donald Trump is discovering that flying too close to the sun with wings unsuitably engineered, has certain inherent risks. He employed a by any means necessary approach to rising above his fellow inmates in the institutional circumstance he found himself in. But now The Donald is discovering that the feathers enabling his political flight are fixed by wax... the wax of his Party's hypocrisy...the wax of a sensationalist media culture...the wax of his own gross unpreparedness...the wax of ignorance, hatred, and bigotry, that he so willingly exploits. 

His is quite a dilemma. The fate of Icarus more than likely awaits Trump. As he is always eager to remind us ... the election is over. The country now has to endure his unconventional approach to leadership.  He now stumbles forward,  egged on by the morally incoherent doting of his selected enablers - led by sycophants at Fox News. 

Some were led to expect more, but in characteristically Trumpian manner, we are being treated to... and unsettled by a remarkable lessening of the American Presidency with him occupying the Oval Office. He must now continuously face the unrelenting glare of public and media scrutiny, and it is now painfully obvious that he is woefully unprepared for the bright lights of a meaningful presidency. If Mr Bombastic is lucky he may land in another one of those TV reality dramas... much diminished of course, but with the ability to rehabilitate his unwieldy ego and his financial future. 

Icarus was not so lucky... he fell into the sea and drowned, leaving his father to bitterly lament his own craft. The coming departure of an unprecedented number of GOP congresspersons may be an indication of a catastrophe-in-the-making for the Republican Party. Beyond the anticipated meltdown of their leader, lets wait to see what lamentations proceed from their next autopsy.

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