The huge and timeless stuff, the stuff of myth, is always there beneath the surface of today’s particulars, but like volcanoes or a rosebush, is ignored until the next time it erupts. And so it is in history, or in current events. (Same subject, different vantage point.) From time to time someone extreme, or let’s just say “remarkable,” comes bopping down the pike. They change the game for all of us, establishing new limits, high or low, by which we must then navigate, sometimes for centuries. 

Nobody’s never heard of Donald Trump. He clearly knows instinctively what every ad man knows: There’s no such thing as bad publicity. I’m not among his devotees, as you will know if you have read this rustic rag before. But there is no ignoring that he hates being ignored. He’s huge. So big that even we who think of Donald as a miscreant cannot deny his massive influence. 

I’ve never much liked discipline, and often chafe against the rules. When I was a much younger man, for lack of other skills – or maybe any skills at all – I taught for several years in several schools. A classroom teacher, willy-nilly, represents authority. You learn that bad behavior, if not neutered in the bud, can quickly permeate the whole damn class. The standard corrective for teachers is simply to be (or at least to act) tough. And yet I’ve always loved the spirit – or say creativity – of those who nibble at the rules.

One momentary rebel in my class was Heather Wood, who, even then, was tall and statuesque. One morning, entering the room, before the class had settled down, and wearing fancy knee-high boots of which she seemed quite proud, she calmly climbed up on her chair and then, from there, onto her desk, where she just simply stood. She wished to be, it seems to me, a Statuette of Liberty. (“We’ve never been told not to stand on our desks – so, I will.”) And then, after a couple minutes, still without saying a word, she calmly descended and sat in her seat. It was a brief heroic act which I will not forget. (Though when I mentioned it to her a couple months ago, after some 20 years or so, she had no memory of it at all, and wondered if my memory was flawed.)

OK, then, back to Donald Trump – The Modern Minotaur – whose constant message seems to be: “None of Your Rules Apply to Me.” And, further, doth imply: “Concern with checks and balances, tradition, precedent or truth is simply maudlin silliness. There’s millions of disgruntled sheep who take me as their guiding light – more even than the leftist swine who think that I’m The Prince of Night.”

Why do I even mention this? I’m worried for the future safety of society. Do you recall the ancient adage: Monkey See, Monkey Do? (Are you aware that the word primate still applies to you?) The danger, Reader Dear, is this: When some ambitious psychopath just farts at decency, it stimulates the billion little pathogens out there, who, bored with waiting in the wings, and seeing what he gets away with based on The Big Lie, are hungry, antsy, and impatient to give it a try. We’re threatened with a vast pandemic now, more dangerous than Omicron can be, when copycats like Bolsonaro, Kari, Marjorie and Matt – along with Greasy Rudy and small, wormlike Lindsay Graham, will wag their crooked tongues and hawk their sick, corrosive lies, and see it as success if true democracy just dies.