Christianity teaches you that there’s no Resurrection without the Passion – no triumph without the suffering of the cross.
But then, Jesus never met President Donald J. Trumpet.
On Easter Sunday – which celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus, the central feast of Christianity, when God’s love for man conquered the grave – it was all doom and gloom from El Presidente as he once again proclaimed DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that buttresses those who came here illegally through no fault of their own, dead; and blamed two of his favorite whipping boys for it, Mexico and the Democrats.
On Easter Monday, as the first family hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, the markets tumbled on worries of a trade war that Trump started. It’s true that presidents can only affect the markets’ upward swing to an extent. But they can and do affect its downward movement. On the night Trump was elected, I predicted the market would crash right then. Instead it climbed steadily through 2017. I was wrong and I was happy to be wrong. I think Trump’s a lousy president, but I have no desire to see him fail. For one, it’s bad for the rest of us. For another, Vice President Mike Pence – a religious fanatic disguised as a more centered personality – would be worse.
Now, however, I’m beginning to feel like Cassandra – the Trojan prophetess doomed never to be believed. The market plunged today partly on the Trump tariffs, which are only going to hurt the farmers and manufacturers he swore to help. Then there are the tax cuts that are no aid to the middle class, not to mention the constant mercurial picking of winners and losers – among countries and cabinet members, industries and individuals – that is too much for the stock market and the psyche, for which uncertainty is poison.
Today, I read a piece in The New York Times about dealing with a tyrannical leader that described Alexander the Great shortsightedly as a “murderous warmonger.” I won’t get into the complexities of Alexander’s charismatic combination of cruelty and compassion here. Nor can I do justice in this post to the long sequence of events in Greco-Persian animosity that led Alexander to take an army of 35,000 Macedonians (roughly the size of the New York City Police Department) against a Persian force of a quarter of a million men. What I can say is what Alexander told his men: They had him. No matter what.
And what of Trump? Well, you can’t say that we have him no matter what. What you can say is that he couldn’t lead a group of ants out of a paper bag at a Fourth of July picnic.
He offers no comfort, no hope – in short, no leadership.