Trump as Caesar: Another View

This morning I had an appointment between Annapolis and Baltimore, and everyone over there was all abuzz about the shooting in Alexandria an hour or so earlier.  On the ride back to the Shore, I listened to several radio stations to piece together what had transpired.

Interestingly, updates on the shooting were intermingled with debates about a current production of Julius Caesar which is running in Central Park.  This version of Shakespeare’s timeless (and timely) classic has created a firestorm of criticism because Caesar is portrayed as President Trump.  Apparently someone bootlegged a recording of the assassination scene and posted it online, which has caused an uproar.  Some are even saying that the public performances in New York City made it inevitable that something like this morning’s shooting would happen.

While I can certainly understand why people would be disturbed by the nightly staging of our President’s assassination, I have to say that the real message being sent is exactly the opposite of what many might think.

Consider, first of all, that this play is classified as a tragedy.  The audience is never intended to laud Caesar’s murder.  Second, the conspirators kill Caesar in an attempt to protect the republic, but it backfires.  The nation erupts in war, close friends continue to betray and kill one another, and all of Caesar’s killers are dead within a few short years–many of them by suicide.  Third, in today’s political climate we like to make everything black and white, but the characters in Julius Caesar are nowhere near so simplistic.  They don’t even share the same motives with one another. And finally, the end result is exactly the opposite of what Caesar’s assassins intended and much worse than what they tried to prevent: the republic is destroyed and is replaced by centuries of powerful dictatorships.

So if you wanted to show contempt for President Trump or try to incite violence against him, portraying him as Julius Caesar would be counterproductive.  The message of this play–which, by the way, is more social than political–is that you can’t protect a democracy by using undemocratic means.  In other words, if you detest your leader and the direction he is leading your country, murdering him multiplies rather than reduces the chaos.  If we want to draw a political message from this production, it should be that presenting Julius Caesar as Donald Trump is a warning to fringe leftists that politically motivated violence is doomed to hurt rather than help their cause.

Should sponsors of the play in Central Park be shunned?  Should we be outraged that the sitting President of the United States is depicted as a slain dictator?  Has art crossed the line into political taboo?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But one thing is clear: no one benefits from thoughtless, reactionary diatribe.  We would do well to pay attention to the message of Julius Caesar, as it is every bit as relevant today as it was in Shakespeare’s time.

(By the way, if Trump is compared to Caesar, that should not concern us nearly as much as this question: Who today would be our Mark Antony?  He was the one that Brutus & Co. really had to worry about!)

Published in: on June 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Weirdest Headline of the Day

Yankees win protection against terrorism — but what did you lose?

Apparently the folks who bring us the latest breaking news over at want me to be upset because I can’t sue the Yankees in the event of a terrorist attack.  They want me to be concerned that the latest legal trend is professional sports teams gaining protection from lawsuits stemming from terrorism.  Even if al-Qaeda did blow me up while I was taking in an Orioles game, I’m not so sure the O’s would be to blame for that.  Sorry, msnbc, but somehow I’m not really feeling like I lost anything here.  Except for maybe the opportunity for a frivolous lawsuit. Wow, this McDonald’s coffee is way too hot….

Published in: on August 21, 2012 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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One of These Things is Not Like the Other…

Looking up Sunfest and found this blurb about Kenny Rogers:

“Having recorded more than 65 albums, which have sold over 120 million records worldwide during his 52 years in show business, Kenny Rogers is an American icon in the same league as The Beatles, Elton John and Elvis Presley.”

Got a good laugh out of that one!  First, this is the first and last time we’ll ever seen Kenny Rogers grouped in the same company as the Beatles and Elvis.  I mean, come on…  Second, of the three “American icons” listed, only one of them is American!

Still laughing….

Published in: on August 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

One Step Closer to the U.S.S.A.

I’ll never be one to fight for the rights of tobacco companies, but if this is upheld in court, our capitalist democracy is officially over.

Published in: on August 17, 2011 at 11:36 am  Comments (2)  
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How Much Cash You Got On Hand?

Interesting idea!  Some company (I can’t remember who–found it online) decided to create a graphic to try to help us grasp the size of our national debt, which is nearly 15 trillion bucks.  I can’t understand that number, but this graphic helped me and might help you, too.

The truck, football field, and Statue of Liberty are to give us perspective on size.  The big block is a massive stack of $100 bills totaling 15 trillion dollars.  Check it out:

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Unbelievable, yet true: not for the faint of heart.

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm  Comments (1)  

March for Life 2011

Yesterday I went to my first March for Life in D.C.  It was a pretty awesome experience which really deepened my appreciation for three groups of people:

(1) Catholics.  A local Catholic Church, Saint John Neumann’s in Ocean Pines, invited me to go to the march with them.  They chartered a bus and let everyone ride free.  I was impressed with that.  I was even more impressed with how warm and welcoming they were.  Usually my experiences with Catholics are with ex-Catholics who have fled from Catholicism, so I didn’t know what to expect.  What I encountered was a group of friendly people who bent over backwards to make me feel at home among them.  Sure, we’ve got some irreconcilable theological differences, but they also showed a genuine interest in Mennonite theology, doctrine, and practice, which I thought was pretty cool.  (Plus it was their bus, so it’s not like I was going to stand up and shout, “Well, actually….”)  It was kind of weird waking up this morning with Hail Marys running through my head like a power ballad leftover from the ’80s, but at least it was educational.

One of the things that really stood out to me was the community on the bus.  People were constantly passing around goodies and sharing everything with one another.  Pretzels, water, Gatorade, homemade cookies, wristbands, fliers, rings, M&Ms (plain and peanut)… it just went on and on.  I’m convinced that if we’d gotten stuck on the side of the road, someone would have opened their bag and pulled out a pot roast.

As much as I enjoyed spending time with the Catholics on the bus, I was absolutely floored when I got to the actually rally and saw an endless sea of Catholics filling the mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument.  (I don’t know how many people were there; last year’s tally was estimated between 250,000 – 400,000.)  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I guess I thought I’d see a lot more Christian groups other than Catholics.  I’m sure there were Protestants there (like the handful from our bus), but the thousands of signs with church names on them all appeared to be Catholic.  It gave me a deeply disturbing thought: What if the Catholics were not so passionate about this critical issue?  WHERE IS THE REST OF THE CHURCH?????

(2) Old people.  Usually this term is thrown around derisively and dismissively in our society.  I can no longer see it that way.  When I refer to old people, I mean it as a term of respect.  I don’t know how many people were on our bus–I’d estimate maybe 40 or 50.  Three of them were younger than me.  Nearly everyone else was in their 60s or 70s, and there were even several in their 80s.  And these were people who met at 7:00 a.m. to go on a three-hour bus ride, stand outside in 20-degree weather for three hours or so, walk around D.C. in a massive crowd, and then ride another three hours back.  What I’m saying, folks, is these guys are troopers.  Most of them are too old to even have had a legal abortion since Roe v. Wade.  But they’re putting their beliefs into action.  That’s what I respect so much: They’re actually DOING something!  It’s like when I go to our recycling center each week.  I’ve seen someone my age or younger just a couple times.  Usually it’s the older folks.  Why are younger people talking about the environment but not showing up to do something as simple as recycle?  Whenever I think of old people, I’ll no longer picture retired folks sitting around drinking tea and reading the newspaper and grumbling about “young people these days.”  Instead, what will come to mind are a sturdy group of dedicated people with such deep conviction that they’re doing what “young people these days” should be doing.  What was my generation doing?  I have no idea.  Probably stuff that seems urgent but is possibly quite meaningless once we look at it from beyond the end of our own noses.  Older people have a perspective that helps them see what truly matters.  And when they do something about it, especially something very inconvenient and uncomfortable, I have a profound respect for them.

(3) Politicians.  Well, some of them.  Don’t worry, I haven’t gone over the deep end.  I have to admit I’m still just as jaded and cynical as ever.  Well, almost.  Three dozen politicians stepped to the microphone yesterday in front of a countless multitude and publicly identified themselves with the pro-life movement, an association which is surprisingly controversial (it’s mind-blowing to think that opposing the killing of children is controversial, yet that’s how perverse our society is).  These were not spinsters visiting a midweek women’s Bible study at the height of election season to try to garner votes with a charming smile.  This is a group of largely freshmen representatives who are riding into the Beltway with a resounding victory at the polls just two months ago.  They were quoting Scripture and speaking bluntly.  Of course that doesn’t mean I bought into all their promises and friended them all on Facebook, but it was pretty cool to see that hey, maybe there are a few people with conviction sitting in that dome of corruption that looms over the capital city.

Next year I look forward to going on my second Catholic field trip!

Published in: on January 25, 2011 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Link to Article About the Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center

I know I haven’t blogged about this yet, but if you live locally, you’ve probably heard that the new Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center in Berlin is now open!  What an enormous miracle!

Click here to read the most recent article about the center.

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Final Four(-Year-Old)

Every year our whole family fills out brackets for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.  After the first round, my four-year-old nephew, Kevin, is kicking butt and taking names!  He has a clear lead in the pool.  He even predicted 13th-seeded Murray State’s upset over #4 Vanderbilt, a buzzer beater. Uncanny.

Next year I’m consulting Kevin before making my picks.  Or maybe I’ll consult his baby brother.

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  

SonRise West OC

A little update on the new satellite church campus coming soon to West Ocean City:

It’s going to be called SonRise Church West OC.  Pastor Kyle McDaniel, the executive pastor at SonRise, will be leading the ministry there and preaching weekly.

They’re going to be located near Waterman’s, across the street from WaWa.  I’ll keep posting updates, including a link to their website, when I find out more.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment