Behind the walls of the white castle, with sharpshooters poised on the roof and armed guards patrolling the grounds to quickly dispense with dangers from the outside, murmurs echo through the hallways and stairwells: “How is he today?” “Do we dare approach him?” What’s known behind the thick white walls is that the real danger is not from the outside world but from the man on the throne…or more accurately, the man in his bed devouring cheeseburgers and watching television.

Madness is unpredictable. It rages and spews invectives. It can also charm and cajole, only to turn vicious at a moment’s notice. It holds others hostage, often from fear, but also because those who serve a mad king have agendas of their own and they naively believe they can wrestle assurances for their futures from the despot by lavishing praise upon him. Praise that is, of course, the main currency of his narrow world.

Like King Lear, shredded by his madness, Donald Trump is obsessed with loyalty, and enraged when it isn’t forthcoming. Like Lear his “inconstant starts” keep everyone around him off-balance. And like Lear, he is convinced others are out to get him, whether it’s through investigations or poison to his food. King Lear cried out, “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” In Donald Trump’s vernacular, that would read, “I’m, like, totally innocent. This is a witch hunt!”

That’s where the similarities between Lear and Trump end. King Lear ultimately tried to address his sins, to seek absolution. He was mad, but not monstrous. There is something deeply dark and cruel in Donald Trump’s disregard for other human beings, in his glee over mocking a disabled person, in how he speaks about women, in his rabid obsession with destroying the environment, in his willingness to praise white supremacists. Someone doesn’t have to be intelligent to be a monster; they just have to see cruelty as an aphrodisiac.

I don’t know how monsters come to be — if they are born or if they evolve from life events that weave a dark tangle around them. A tangle that ultimately consumes them. But I do know how monsters are enabled. They’re enabled by people who say, ‘Oh, not to worry, someone will keep them in check,’ or ‘They’ll never go that far. We’ll be fine.’

In the white castle on the hill, a mad king roams the halls believing he can do whatever he wants in the land he sees as his. He can be as monstrous as he wants and no one will stop him. But in the most archetypal fairy tales, the darkest figures are no match for those who believe light can always conquer darkness. There are millions of us who cherish this country, this earth, and who believe that our purpose for being is to inspire, not destroy. We’re greater than the dark agenda of one mad king, if only we could believe that about ourselves.

10 Responses to THE MAD KING TRUMP

  1. Jody Hoelle says:

    This is brilliant in its imagery. “A mad king roams the halls believing he can do whatever he wants”. Powerful and tragic. Thanks Patti. Jody Hoelle

  2. Rodney Wilson says:

    These are perilous days. I appreciate every voice that seeks to bring back the light.

  3. Judy Radin says:

    Powerful writing,

  4. Wayne Kurzeja says:

    Thanks Patty again you were on point but that doesn’t make it any less frightening for all of us.

  5. Daryl Morris says:

    The use of “White Castle” is brilliant. They are famous for their greasy hamburgers!

  6. David Marks says:

    No Shakespearean comparison will ever hold up to history, Patti, but your slight of hand comparison makes very much sense. That old saying: be afraid, be very afraid, rings true here, for whether the villain remains or leaves, we have an evil one in waiting. Pence is a misogynist, one who lacks tolerance, is anti Planned Parenthood buffoon, and to me, that matters, and far worse. He is, however, by all standards, sane, whereas Trump is a lunatic. I love your column, and it rings so true. I think if I worked on the WH lawn, I’d run for cover. Not from Trump, only, but from the aura he spreads all over our richest land. Thank you, Patti.

  7. Patricia Webb says:

    Brilliant! Wish I could share this.

  8. I really think it’s time for you and Ron jr. to issue a joint Public statement decrying Trump’s comparison to your father. Your father was an entirely decent man. He loved your mother and put no one down. The atrocity that is the current president must face massive resistance from all of us, but especially from people like you and your brother. Your good hearts and brilliance are evident with everything you say and write.

  9. Eric Little says:

    Egos, not armies, destroy empires.
    –Yusuf in Marco Polo.

  10. Ken W. Brown says:

    “Something wicked this way comes”.
    A madman, wild animal, spoiled child and a despot are most dangerous when backed into a corner realizing there is no way out for them.
    I fear that moment.
    Ty Patti!

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