By Bill Mefford
Tuesday night while listening to President Obama’s farewell address I was lamenting that we as a country will not be able to hear from a President for another four years. Yes, I have vehemently disagreed with President Obama on things like his over-reliance on deportations – even to the point of committing civil disobedience twice to urge an end to such a barbaric practice. But I also recognize that because of the vote of the Electoral College, donald trump will be the 45th president of the United States and the status of the office will be greatly undermined and eroded by his complete lack of leadership and basic human compassion or empathy.
Because of his narcissism, his racism, his misogyny; because of his utter incapacity for self-reflection, or to accept basic facts or to learn by seeking information that does not already exist within his exceedingly narrow intellectual framework (his hands are the only thing small about this guy); because of his affluence and out-of-touch, sheltered, isolated lifestyle; because of his bullying and complete disrespect for everyone that does not kiss his ass, I have never been able to capitalize his name. I will never refer to him with the title the Electoral College has unfairly ascribed to him. I will not respect him. Simply put, he is Not My President.
But even before he began his joke of a campaign that has duped millions, donald trump has always seemed familiar to me. donald trump has always felt like the guy I knew in every grade who was totally annoying, a complete and utter jack ass. But even more, donald trump is a historical figure; a biblical figure even. It wasn’t until I was watching President Obama give his memorable farewell address that I realized who donald trump is. donald trump is Haman.
Haman became the number two man in the Assyrian Kingdom under King Ahaseurus in the book of Esther. Haman was the bad guy in the story who easily earns the title. He is nasty and mean and completely self-centered. He is so narcissistic that upon his new appointment Haman decides to organize his own love fest and so he has himself wheeled around the gate outside the palace so everyone could “celebrate” his ascension. Like all institutional bureaucrats, all the king’s servants at the city gate bowed down in homage to Haman for his promotion, except for one person.
Mordecai, a Jew who had earlier in the book uncovered a plot to assassinate the king and turned in the conspirators to the authorities, refused to bow down to Haman. We don’t know why exactly. I think it is because he took seriously the command to have no others gods other than Yahweh, but regardless, the slight of offense of one man refusing to bow so offended the narcissistic Haman that he decided to work his connections to the king to coerce him to issue an edict that would annihilate the Jews throughout the Assyrian kingdom.
Does Haman’s manipulation and over-reaction remind you of anyone yet?
Let’s keep going.
Haman was enraged at Mordecai for his offense but he was also such an isolated, rich, effete, snob that he considered it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai personally. Haman was mean, but he was a wimp. He was never good in conflict with someone else when they were in the room. He worked his evil magic when the other person left. So, the effete snob that he is, he uses his elitist connections to the king to manipulate him into issuing an edict that will bring about devastation for the Jews.
Haman knows how to work his audience into hatred towards a specific group of people, especially when his audience is the king. Haman never directly asks the king to initiate a genocide. He never attacks them directly, he simply uses half-truths, innuendos, and sly racist inferences to draw the king in and to dehumanize and make Jews into the “other,” marginalized to the point of being non-human.
Haman is a racist and narcissist who is so easily offended by the slight of one man that he is willing to abuse his power to lash out and bully those he has decided are less than human. Haman is so blinded by his racism that he refuses to accept facts in favor of made up myths that undergird his inherent bias and prejudice. Haman is privileged and abuses his position of affluence and privilege to benefit only himself and to attack those who simply disagree with him, though who have never lifted a finger against him.
Read the first four chapters of Esther. It’s all there.
Does this sound like anyone you know? You know any effete snobs who bark and snarl from the comfort of their large crowds but then get their ass kicked in three straight debates when finally confronted by a women far smarter and more composed than he ever could hope to be? You know someone who likes, genuinely enjoys, mocking people because of their disability? Who demonizes entire groups of people? Who plays upon the deepest and darkest of fears and then mocks those who lift up hopes so that we might aspire to be greater than what we are? Does this ring a bell for you?
It sure as hell does for me. Yes, donald trump is Haman. And it is important that we name those we oppose. We need to know the people and we need to name the people who are set against us. And make no mistake, for those of us who want refugees to be welcomed into our country, who want a broken immigration system made whole in a humane and compassionate way, who want to drastically reduce the number of people imprisoned, who want all people to be able to earn a livable wage at a job that upholds their basic integrity, who want to radically slow down global warming, who want to get big money out of politics, who want to really reduce gun violence, who want to respect the rights and integrity of women and girls, who want to ensure that people can marry whoever the hell they want, President-Elect Haman is our opponent.
donald trump is Haman and from now on that is what I am calling him. I will even capitalize it.
But let’s be for real now, the question that will define us for the next four years is not who trump is because we know he is Haman. The real question for us now is who are we?
donald trump is Haman, a thin-skinned, racist, narcissist more concerned for his own comfort and convenience than the welfare of others, easily given to bullying and dehumanizing others, all for the sake of his own benefit.
The real question is if we will be Mordecai and refuse to bow to Haman and his racist, narcissistic agenda. To refuse to bow means that we will fight his every proposal as diligently as we can. To refuse to bow means we will respect Muslims and people of other cultures and value their presence and contributions in our society. To refuse to bow means we will take undocumented immigrants into our homes and into our places of worship and provide sanctuary. To refuse to bow means that we tell the truth, no matter if it costs us friendships, better appointments, higher pay, or even if it costs us our reputation and others their comfort – we will tell the truth to the Liar-in-Chief and everyone we know. To refuse to bow means we will practice hospitality to all people no matter what they believe (including conservatives), while at the same time we will fight and advocate like hell for those directly impacted by President-Elect Haman’s policies.
Mordecai’s refusal to bow was a revolutionary act and Haman understood it to be exactly that. It is time for us to be revolutionaries.
We know who Haman is. But who is willing to be Mordecai? Are we willing to refuse to bow?
Let the revolution begin.