By Bill Mefford
Just before donald trump was inaugurated I wrote a piece where I identified trump as the biblical figure Haman in the book of Esther. Briefly, the book begins as Haman becomes the number two man in the Assyrian Kingdom under King Ahaseurus. Haman was the bad guy in the story who easily earns the title. He is so narcissistic that upon his new appointment Haman has himself wheeled around the gate outside the palace so everyone could “celebrate” his ascension. Though only person refused to bow down, Haman became obsessed with him, a man named Mordecai.
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 serve no god but Yahweh, but regardless, the slight offense of one man refusing to bow so offended the narcissistic Haman that he decided he had to get even with Mordecai. Though Haman was enraged at Mordecai for his offense he didn’t have the guts to personally confront him. Because he was such a sheltered, isolated, rich, privileged snob he hired others to do for him what he was afraid of doing himself. Haman was mean, but he was a wimp. So he manipulates the king to issue an edict that would annihilate the Jews throughout the Assyrian kingdom.
Does Haman’s over-reaction to being offended and then thirst for vengeance remind you of anyone yet?
Let’s keep going.
In manipulating the king, Haman turns on the charm. He is never direct about what he wants; he is subtle, but effective. Haman never specifically asks the king to initiate a genocide and nothing is written down; there can be no paper trail. Haman never even 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. This is how mass murder is done.
Read the first four chapters of Esther. It’s all there.
Does this sound like anyone you know? You know any privileged snobs who bark and snarl from the isolated comfort of their large mindless followers, but then get their ass kicked in three straight debates when finally confronted by a women far smarter, for more prepared, 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?
Well, know that while trump as Haman has yet to issue any edicts calling for a genocide of any particular group, but trump has done and continues to do some horrible things to groups of people who he feels have slighted him in some imaginary way:
We still have a Muslim Ban in place, though it took him incompetent administration three tries to do it, that effectively prevents people from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country
Jared Kushner, trump’s loyal though more than slightly incompetent son-in-law, said recently that he does not hold to a two-state plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said he thinks that Palestinians are not capable of governing themselves
Under trump the DHS through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a zero tolerance policy in place and they are actively deporting undocumented people who pose absolutely no threat like pastors, teachers, the elderly, and community leaders. Calling the actions of the DHS and ICE state-sponsored terror is not an exaggeration; it is an accurate assessment of reality
Though terrorism experts agree that the greatest threat to safety and security is from right-wing domestic groups, the trump administration has stripped funding from groups that are fighting right-wing hate and terror groups that are closely connected with similar right-wing groups in Europe. This sends a frightening signal to these groups that the United States is now ok with their brand of hate-filled violence directed against religious and racial minorities
trump and Mitch McConnell continue to confirm judges through the Senate into lifetime positions in circuit courts that are incompetent and deeply racist in nature, many of whom refuse to state publicly that they believe the Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954 - that was decided unanimously by SCOTUS then and that desegregated schools - was correctly decided.
And on and on it goes. When I wrote the piece, His Name is Haman, about trump back in 2017, we had scant evidence that trump would do evil in the world. Now we have enormous evidence that he has done evil and will only continue to do evil in the world. 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 and to the delight of his mindless and often morally deficient base of supporters.
As I wrote back in 2017, I still say today:
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 maintain their right to choose, who want to ensure that people can marry whoever the hell they want, Haman is our opponent.
And the same question I asked then I ask now: we know trump is Haman, but the real question for us is who are we?
I pray we will continue to strive to be Mordecai and refuse to bow to Haman and his racist, dehumanizing agenda of state-sponsored terror.
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 resist the attack on women and their right to choose. To refuse to bow means we practice love and forgiveness while also not backing down from saying what we mean. To refuse to bow means we RESIST.
Mordecai’s refusal to bow was a revolutionary act and Haman understood it to be exactly that. Let us refuse to bow and let the revolution continue.