Friday, November 25, 2016

Trump and Messala: A Comparison

For those of you too young to remember the chariot race in the 1959 Ben Hur, in which the hero, Judah Ben-Hur, is betrayed by his best friend, Messala, there's always the 2016 version, but I'll always love the original Ben-Hur as underdog, winning even though Messala's chariot, with blades attached to the hubs, destroys a number of fine charioteers. Fitting out a chariot with these blades was definitely not sporting, but allowed. You're not sorry when Messala dies a lingering death. He's always been a smooth-talking backstabber. Besides, he beats his horses unmercifully before horsewhipping Ben-Hur, in a segment even the Roman spectators boo. (Never mind that in real life, Ben Hur, the handsome Charlton Heston became the NRA's best buddy, and Messala, the steamily masculine Stephen Boyd, cozied up to the Scientologists. Heston and Boyd were such great actors).
The scene makes me think of the Republican president-elect. His activities skirt the legalities in such invisible or suppressed ways that you'd think he was merely "not sporting." In today's New York Times, I read that President-elect Donald J. Trump has already built a wall — not on the border with Mexico, but on the border of his exclusive golf course in northeastern Scotland, blocking the sea view of local residents who refused to sell their homes. All this wall-building appears to be mildly on the side of legality, and local residents aren't pleased.
What a red herring, New York Times. Why not go after the bigger stories? Who's going to investigate the FBI? Who's going to go after Trump's taxes? His shady business dealings? Who's going to let the women at least continue to tell their stories instead of being frightened into silence? Is there a Charlotte Corday around who might tiptoe into Trump's bath? In my dreams she's Melania, and in gratitude, a Statue of Melania gets erected in New York Harbor. I hear myself whispering: Go, girl, go. He's not too nice to you and the kid, is he?

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