A recent cartoon by Maddie Dai in the New Yorker Magazine depicted a man dressed as a Knight, holding a sword, while reclining on a therapist’s couch. The caption read, “There was a time—back before people found out that dragons were made up—when I would’ve gotten a hell of a lot more respect for being a dragon slayer.”
I realized this was a perfect illustration of the Trump phenomenon—belief in myths and imaginary dangerous creatures and a charlatan claiming he can slay such beasts to garner the admiration (or votes) of those who believe such nonsense.
Dragons are wonderful creatures for books, movies, and storytelling, but when turned into real threats requiring us to put our faith in both their reality and the necessity for a “hero” to confront them, we border on the abyss of insanity.
Mr. Trump in his time in the public light has created many dragons—hordes of rapists and murderers surging over the border, Muslims, Q-Anon complicit politicians, deep state actors, and the latest and most dangerous of them all, voter fraud.
That each Trump dragon is no more real than the one slain by the legendary Saint George matters little. They are dragons needing vanquishing and Mr. Trump with his mighty sword of prevarication is the only one capable of slaying them.
There is one thing you must give Saint Trump credit for, his powers of persuasion to convince millions of the reality of what is complete fabrication. In his battle with the dragon of voter fraud, fought on the battlefield in the courts, Mr. Trump suffered defeat after defeat when the dragon was shown to be a myth, yet the myth lives on.
When Mr. Trump whipped his hordes of dragon-fearing followers into a frenzy and sent them to the lair of the Dragon itself, the US Capitol, once again they were defeated, not by a fire-breathing dragon but by truth.
Myths are persistent things, like the concept of white supremacy. They are based on tales dreamt up in the minds of those who need an enemy to explain their own inadequacies. Trump’s dragons may be real in his mind. They may be real in the minds of his followers. But they are not real. They are a child’s story run amuck. And, like an out-of-control child, those who embrace such myths need be sent to their room until they regain their senses.
In Mr. Trump’s case, that will be a long, long, long time coming. Maybe he should try to convince us the flying monkey army has been unleashed by the witch, give us a new myth to fear.
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