Trump Agonistes: (Or Let’s Gouge His Eyes Out for His Own Good)

trump-agonistes

Hubris has consumed Donald Trump, devoured him from the tips of his toes to the top of that bleached, brittle confection he considers hair.

It’s blatantly obvious that even if Trump’s minions and Putin’s lackeys didn’t directly collude in election manipulation, Trump’s close association with Paul Manafort and the host of mobsters, oligarchs, and convicted felons linked to him guarantees that Trump’s businesses are steeped in corruption.[1] If you think this mere conjecture, I suggest you check out Adam Khan on Twitter. He has been unraveling in great detail the byzantine entanglements of those connections and providing documents to support his arguments. For example, according to Khan, son-in-law Kushner’s is in hock “$4+ billion to foreign investors, pushing Russian expansion, Israeli settlements, [. . .].” No telling what secrets of the hoary deep Trump’s income taxes hold.

Allow me to don my dark glasses and engage in some Tiresias-like prophesizing: in the next four years, those returns are bound to surface, whether through investigation or IRS leakage — or some underling facing slammer time squealing — and Mr. Big Shot is going to find himself in a world of shit.

Why would anyone so compromised expose himself to the super scrutiny that comes with running for president?[2]

ύβρις – hubris.

I’ve spent the last 30 years studying its effects on such worthies as Antigone, Kreon, Oedipus, Macbeth, Caesar/Brutus, Milton’s Satan, the Mayor of Casterbridge among others.

Indeed, if Trump doesn’t get a presidential pardon from Pence, he will fit nicely into Aristotle’s tragic formula of the protagonist plummeting from Olympus high to hades low because of a fatal flaw, in Trump’s case, excessive pride.

And as far as Trump’s “soul” is concerned, karmic comeuppance would be the very best thing that could happen to him. Stripped bare of the false grandiosity in which he’s wrapped himself, he would have to face nakedly the existential truth of his true vulnerability.

At the end of Oedipus Rex, we stand in awe of the fallen king because he has gained insight by gouging out his eyes and exiling himself to the desert where he will come to terms with what it really means to be human. He is, in Coleridge’s phrase, “a sadder but wiser man.”

How sad – pathetic is the word — it must be to be Trump, to be addicted to the adulation of the blaring resentment-filled rubes who attend his rallies, to take such deep umbrage at the slightest of slights, to be so utterly benighted.

Of course, it’s doubtful that Trump will undergo an anagnorisis – the tragic recognition of his guilt – but how cool would it be if he could.

It would truly make him great, a true hero. I can see him now, humbled, his head shaved, a real man instead of a manikin, tapping a stick on the hard ground of reality.


[1] Trump’s empire isn’t centralized but consists of several disparate LLCs.

[2] I think Trump ran as a publicity stunt and never really believed he could win. Hence the total lack of planning for his transition.

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