Pay Close Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

America has become a monarchy, and no one has reported it.

Trump the 1st will give George the 3rd a run for his money but that’s not what worries me most. It’s the man who is taking the intelligence briefings meant for the President, while slowly and surely enabling his hyper-conservative, exclusionary worldview to prevail. Mike Pence has already insinuated himself beyond his constitutional role. When January 20th rolls around, he’ll have near total control, functioning as Prime Minister to Trump’s modern day version of the Mad King. Advisors and Cabinet Members will have free reign (and what a motley crew they are) ensuring us depths of corruption even Warren G. Harding could not achieve. And it’s all being set up right under our noses.


Here’s how the scam works. Consider a magic act. The key to a successful magic trick is misdirection—getting the audience to focus in one place while a switch occurs in another. As Trump gropes, bloviates, and tweets, drawing the attention of an addicted media and a gullible public, the Bannon/Pence agenda gains momentum.

Let’s be sure to consider the whole picture. We have someone who was NOT elected President acting like one. A man behind the curtain. You may recall that John Kasich was told that if he accepted the VP slot, he’d be in charge of “domestic and foreign policy.” Well, guess what, folks, our Prime Minister, Mike Pence, is certainly acting as though he accepted the same deal. Don’t get me started on Bannon, a 21st century Rasputin.

An Oxymoron if ever there was one

Pence bills himself as an Evangelical Catholic. Pay close attention to what this means. For millennia, the Catholic Church has existed, to varying degrees, by embracing ambiguity even though there are strictures and dogma that give the appearance of rigidity. What most Catholics appreciate is that there is a certain amount of latitude in all of this. Here is the obvious example that was in force until recently mitigated by Pope Francis: divorce is a sin, BUT if you pay, you can pretend your marriage never happened by getting an annulment. This sort of ambiguity provides a degree of  breathing room that allows Catholicism to take on different meanings for people even as they all call themselves Catholic. The “Evangelical Catholic” is a recent development that marries the history and tradition of the Catholic Church with a more rigid Evangelical Christian (read Religious Right) stance, eliminating any and all ambiguity—with no exceptions.

The world that Mike Pence envisions

Our Prime Minister is a man whose mind is made up. One need look no further than his disastrous stance on needle exchanges (please note he was willing to let people suffer and die in a major HIV outbreak until it had the potential to destroy his career) or his heinous religious freedom bill. Pence has all the certainty of a religious zealot with all the compassion of Josef Stalin. What Pence wants is a monosemous world order that accommodates his beliefs and no one else’s. Sound familiar? If you know one iota of history, it should.

Resistance is NOT futile

Our future King must have attention, and our future Prime Minister backs down only when exposed and threatened with personal ignominy. This presents an opportunity to exploit both weaknesses. Here’s a partial list of what we can do as Americans to turn things around:

Don’t give Trump the attention he craves. He’s a narcissist of the first water. When he tweets, ignore the sensation it creates. When he throws a “huuuuge” inauguration, join a protest march or, if you’re unable, watch I Love Lucy reruns. When he makes an appearance in your state, attend the protest. He monitors ratings, crowd sizes, and sales, and cannot bear being overshadowed. When his supporters become disillusioned (and they will—quickly), don’t say, ” I told you so.” Enlist them to work with you to make things right. When their outrage joins with yours, there’s nothing you won’t be able to accomplish together.

Put pressure on news agencies to report the real news. Much of this debacle comes down to the corporate takeover of the third estate. Don’t just sound off on Facebook and Twitter; you’re in an echo chamber where the algorithms see to it your message is seen only by likeminded people. Boycott advertisers that fund spurious “news” outlets—and tell them why. Make noise. And get balanced coverage from international news sources such as The BBC so you can see what’s actually happening.

Call out Pence and Bannon, not Trump. He’ll get jealous and paranoid that they are getting all the attention. Remember Trump learned the ropes from Roy Cohn, who believed all publicity is good publicity. Corporate News has enabled Trump because he was good for advertising revenue. Don’t aid and abet that travesty. Trump will self-destruct if he thinks he’s lost his audience.

Become active. Support groups that are trying to make a difference such as GLAD, and politicians who stand up, fight back, and piss of Trump—such as Elizabeth Warren. Support them with your donations, your presence, and your passion.

Don’t dwell on the past. Every day you spend paralyzed, sulking or bemoaning the country’s fate, is one more day the man behind the curtain progresses with his totalitarian vision. Make a difference and pay attention where it matters. Rip open that curtain and expose the small man working the levers before it’s too late. Remember, you can click your heels all you want, but you’re not going back to Kansas anytime soon.


A. C. Burch
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