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king donald

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Dear Mr President,

I think I understand the frustration you have been expressing about your job:

“I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing,” you said. “And I am very frustrated by it.”

This is the frustration of a man who believes he was born to be a king, but discovers he is just a president. That is, as you have said, “the saddest thing.” And I understand, because I know a little bit about kings; they’ve been the subject of my research. As a group I find them hard to like – they tend to be fat, arrogant, and slovenly, and to say things we wish they hadn’t said. Henry VIII, for example, is reported to have boasted of the license his position afforded him:

“I never spared a woman in my lust or a man in my anger.”

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A president, of course, would never make such a public confession of such a naked conception of power.

Richard III, in real life as on the stage, paid a price for his conduct later on. His naked corpse, thrown over a saddle, was paraded into Leicester and dumped into a hasty grave.

The popular view of monarchs is that they get whatever they want – vengeance against their enemies, for example. “Off with his head!” shouts Shakespeare’s Richard III (or Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen), and off goes the head. But Richard III, in real life as on the stage, paid a price for his conduct later on. His naked corpse, thrown over a saddle, was paraded into Leicester and dumped into a hasty grave.

Presidents, since they are chosen by the people and not by God (as kings always think) don’t get to shout, “Death penalty!” – because the people have instituted the rule of law in place of the rule of kings, and it will be a judge and a jury who will decide on life or death, not a president. And to return to the Red Queen again, presidents can’t shout, “Sentence first – verdict afterwards!” They have to wait for the trial.

Even kings feel frustration, of course. Do you remember Henry II, restrained and thwarted by Thomas Becket, crying out in the hearing of the sort that of knight (or Attorney General) that is always slinking around the court trying to please his master:

dan-embree-17

“Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”

You surely remember how that ended in murder, sainthood for the victim, and disgrace for the king.

Dan Embree

Received by the White House at 3:41 AM EST, 7 November 2017