Wednesday, May 30, 2018

With A Nod To Douglas Adams ...

There has been a lot of hyperbole associated with trump ... the biggest, baddest, best, most amazing, least racist, least misogynist, most intelligent, most incredible negotiator, who will all by himself fix everything and make America great again.
At least, that's what he says. Others hold different opinions. There are those who think he is the ultimate savior, come to rescue us from ... what, exactly? (It's never really specified; it's usually a bunch of whining about how Obama ruined everything, but with a marked lack of specifics). And there are those who think he is the embodiment of our doom, the engine that will drive us all into extinction.

I wanted to take a closer look at this phenomenon, so I did a little studying of the Book of Revelations. I found some interesting passages I thought I'd share with y'all ...

Rev 9:13 - 14 - "13: The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14: It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.'"
This refers to the release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. It also refers to the river Euphrates, which runs through present-day Iraq and Syria, also known as the Levant (the name of the region before the creation of the Iraqi and Syrian nation-states).

The current situation in Iraq and Syria matches this description. Hundreds are dying every day -- from disease, from missile attacks, chemical attacks, starvation -- all at the hands of their own leader, Bashar al-Assad. Unfortunately, the quirks of the geopolitics in that region put the United States, as the de facto "good guys," in a bit of a bind: Assad is killing his own people, which is a bad thing, but he is also aligned against ISIS, which is a good thing, but he is working with Russia, which is a bad thing, but it might help us get Russia to the table to negotiate a unified strategy for peace in the region, which is a good thing ...

Then along comes trump, barging in and pushing his weight about, making demands and offering solutions that really aren't, and generally making things worse (in all honesty, all of these moves are probably meant to be diversions away from whatever shady scheme he has cooked up to line his pockets). Now, it is highly unlikely that this sort of disruptive behavior is intentional; quite frankly, I don't think he has the intellect or enough interest to do these things by design.

Rev 9:15 - "And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind."This would imply that the Apocalypse was held at bay until the election of trump, which makes sense. Everything about the man is about sowing disruption and chaos. From upending the norms of campaigning, to using childish insults as a tool of diplomacy, his whole modus operandi is based around keeping everyone around him off-balance.

It is not at all a stretch to think that he is here because of his talent for chaos, not despite it.

Rev 13:3-5 - "3: One of the [seven] heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4: People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, 'Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?' 5: The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months."
So let's unpack this one. Granted, trump himself does not have multiple heads -- that we know of -- but in an allegorical sense it could be argued that the seven heads in question are representative of the inner cabal of trump: trump himself, Steve Bannon, KellyAnne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, and Steven Miller. The dragon in the text is representative of the Republican Party. The "fatal wound" could refer to the "Access Hollywood" tape, the various women who came forward accusing him of sexual assault, Stormy Daniels ... all of these things are things which would have sunk any other candidate -- or President -- but for some reason he emerges unscathed.

As far as "people worshiping the dragon," this could speak to the slavish devotion of trump's supporters to Republican orthodoxy, even as it changes on a daily -- hourly -- basis based on trump's tweets. In fact, since January 20, 2017, the sole identifying characteristic of GOP orthodoxy is "destroy everything Obama did."

Verse 5 refers to "proud words and blasphemies." Is there any better way to describe the semi-literate ramblings of donald trump? Everything he says is either a sheer braggadocio or an outright lie (claiming that he saw "thousands cheering" on the Jersey shore of the Hudson when the twin towers came down, for example).

It is here also that the text refers to the beast (trump) exercising its authority for forty two months. "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" reference aside, this could indicate that he will be removed from office -- through impeachment, resignation, or more violent means (and wouldn't that be a kick in the grapes to the NRA?) -- in either May of 2020 (42 months from Election Day) or July of 2020 (42 months from Inauguration Day). It definitely points to a single term.

Rev 13:7 - "It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation."
We only have to look at the current state of affairs. From trump bullying other world leaders and demanding they accommodate him to his childish rants against the press (except for Fox News, of course) one gets a picture of a man who thinks the entire world is here solely to bow to his will.

We also have to acknowledge the reality that, in some ways, he's not wrong. Being the sole remaining superpower (although Vladimir Putin is definitely making a run for the title), the United States does have a lot of global authority and influence and, as President, trump is the embodiment of that power. One could argue that, by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, he has sparked a regional conflict that will end up eradicating Israel.

Yes, Israel is a nuclear power. However, by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal (which was working), trump has essentially handed the bomb to Iran. This shift in global dynamics could lead to an armed conflict between Israel and Iran. It would not be confined to the two of them, however. The Palestinians would be siding with Iran, while Israel would have on its side the United States. Once the US gets involved, it becomes a completely different ballgame, and we could conceivably end up with a global conflict pitting the United States, India, Israel, Japan, and the United Kingdom against Iran, China, Pakistan, North Korea, and Mexico, with Russia trying to stay neutral (believe it or not) in the hopes of picking up the "superpower" mantle after the smoke clears.

Rev 13:11-14 - "11: Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12: It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13: And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14: Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived."
This refers to either Mike Pence or Rudy Giuliani ... probably Pence, given that it specifies the second beast acting as a proxy for the first, which is a constitutional duty of the Vice-President in certain circumstances.

Another reason that Pence fills the bill, is that he has been a near-fanatical supporter of trump from the beginning. During the Vice-Presidential debate against Tim Kaine, Pence was asked about trump's comments that Mexicans were rapists. Pence replied, "He never said that" despite there being a video recording of trump saying those exact words ... and, for some reason, people believed him.

Maybe it was his smooth, NPR-sounding voice.

Regardless, these verses speak to a "backup" demon. The line "It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon" could refer to Pence's mild-mannered, bland demeanor (the lamb), combined with his fiercely partisan GOP rhetoric (the dragon, previously identified as an allegory for the Republican Party). The reference to making "the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed" refers to Pence's (somewhat effective) efforts to boost trump's poll numbers (the worship) after the "Access Hollywood" tape was released (the fatal wound that turned out to be anything but ... see above).

So was trump's presidency predicted in the Book of Revelations? Hard to say. Partisans on both sides will give their obvious opinions (Democrats will instantly say "Of course he is!" and start making the sign of the cross, while trump supporters will shriek something about "libtards" then demand to know why Hillary isn't being investigated for something), but for those in the middle it is not quite so cut-and-dried.

Then again, in today's polarized atmosphere, "the middle" is minuscule -- that is, if it even exists any longer.

I gotta lie down.

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