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By Jove! Trump as disrupter in chief

 “Jupiter of Smyrna”:  Sky god Zeus – Jupiter or Jove in Roman mythology – wielding his thunderbolt at the Musée du Louvre in a marble statue (circa 250) restored in 1686 by Pierre Granier. Photograph by Marie Lan-Nguyen.

“Jupiter of Smyrna”:  Sky god Zeus – Jupiter or Jove in Roman mythology – wielding his thunderbolt at the Musée du Louvre in a marble statue (circa 250) restored in 1686 by Pierre Granier. Photograph by Marie Lan-Nguyen.

God created the world in seven days, the Bible tells us.

It took President Donald Trump only 14 to destroy it.

“Destroy” may be too strong a word. “Disturb,” “disrupt” are better choices. In one of the greatest games men play, politics, he is the lord of misrule, tweeting and executive-ordering us into a new world that may or may not be brave; terrifying the already traumatized “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and insulting world leaders – with the exception of boy crush Vladimir “Rootin’ Tootin’” Putin – in equal stead.

Australians, refugees, refugees in Australia – is there anyone who has not been blasted by Trumpet? If New Jersey’s blustery governor, Chris Christie was, in the words of The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, “the Neptune of the Jersey shore,” Trump is our Jupiter or Jove, wielding those verbal and executive thunderbolts willy-nilly.

It’s a question of style rather than substance, the how rather than the why, the Australian-born Danielle Pletka – vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute – said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Trump is only saying and doing what others are thinking and wish to be done, she said.

Well, not quite. In the latest stream of executive orders, there were to be sure the expected ones that favor industry over the environment. But there are also those that give a decided advantage to Wall Street by loosening its regulations and absenting brokers from fiduciary responsibilities to their clients. How does that rein in Wall Street and help Main Street, as he promised to do on the campaign trail?

We get it, we get it: If the Street is allowed to do its thing, then investors will benefit and have more money to spend in the economy. In theory. But other factors drive the market – global politics and natural up-and-down cycles, among them. With fewer checks and balances, unscrupulous speculators are left to thrive and prey on the very people Trump swore to protect and defend.

So it is not just a question of style but substance. And when the style and the substance project hate, look out. “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword,” Pletka also said on “Meet the Press,” echoing the words of Jesus (Matthew 26:52) and the earlier ones of Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon”: “By the sword you did your work and by the sword you will die.”

Violent protests at the University of California at Berkeley forced the cancelled appearance of Milo Yiannopolis, senior editor of the alt-right Breibart News, which prompted Trump – whose assistant and chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is Breibart’s former chair – to threaten to withdraw federal funds from the university. The university’s rational was that it could not guarantee the safety of the guest speaker or the listeners.

How much better it would be if we could listen to one another with respect and a true desire for dialogue.

It is a two-way street, but I fear we have already driven past the point of no return.