By: Philip James Villamor (Many Thanks to Fyodor Mikailovich Dostoevsky)
Trumpeter (from Dictionary.com) – 4) A person who proclaims, commends, or extols something loudly or widely. And, interestingly, 5) Any of several large South American birds… related to the cranes and rails, having a loud, harsh, prolonged, cry.
Even this immediately recognizable plagiarism of ideas from Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor” must have a preface, although I am a poor hand at making one. Nonetheless, as in that incomparable poem, the story to be told here imagines heavenly powers interacting with mankind – albeit something short of the second coming – which allows for some insight into the motives or rationale of otherwise incomprehensible others. In this case, however, you will be spared the insight of characters discussing the merit of those arguments, partly because this is not the middle of a book where those characters’ personalities have already been established and mostly because this author lacks the commitment and actual talent to do so.
The action of the story to be told does not occur in the sixteenth century, where it was customary in poetry to bring down heavenly powers to earth, but in the twenty-first century, where the prospect of heavenly powers -let alone the Messiah- materializing on earth is so far from expected as to no longer merit a poet’s ponderings. Nonetheless, this story is told in the spirit of those sixteenth century tales and one notable nineteenth century one. In an effort to parallel that nineteenth century tale, as well as bring hope to the heart, the story is told as if what is being described is in the distant past and the days described are long behind us.
He came to the United States of America at a time quite different than that of the Catholic Crisis which Dostoevsky had observed in Spain. The prevailing perversion of many Americans was, making use of their democracy as a godly tool, purporting to protect their way of life they viewed as threatened by forces both from without and within by demonizing and pre-judging those forces. The forces being Bad Hombres who immigrate illegally to the country bringing with them crime and drug addiction (not to mention infidels from Muslim nations that want to kill all Americans), and loose laws by tolerant administrations that allowed for morally degenerate groups like homosexuals, transsexuals, and others to claim better or near equal footing in business and government relations.
And so, as different as the circumstances and nature of the institutions involved in the sixteenth and twenty-first centuries might be, the choice between security and happiness or complete freedom was still the conflict of the day. The difference, an important one to be sure, was that it was no longer one or a few members of an institution making the choice to take away freedom and provide security and happiness but the masses themselves proclaiming the virtues of this argument, hoping for and then electing a politician brazen enough to take on the task. Such was the situation when He came again.
And, behold, He came once more in a human shape similar to that in which He walked among men for thirty-three years twenty-one centuries ago. He came down to the hot pavements of the streets of Yuma, Arizona, the very same as which, on the day before, almost a hundred illegal immigrants had, Ad majorem Trump gloriam, been rustled up by a local town’s sheriff and deported back to Mexico. And, as luck – or fate – would have it, He came on a day that President Trump was to hold a rally at the local arena for the Trump faithful – those neglected, tried and true Americans who had for too long waited for a leader to bring law, order, and patriotism back to the United States of America. He came on a day when Donald Trump was locked and loaded, ready and willing to expound on how to Make America Great Again.
He came, at least in appearance, as an undocumented Mexican American, moving through the crowds of Trump supporters as comfortably as might a white representative of Breitbart News. He wore beat up jeans and a stained tee-shirt. His face was unshaven, with a week’s growth, and His hair was slightly disheveled, thick as if with dirt from recent labors. At first glance, one might assume that He had come straight from the fields, but the grace with which He moved through the crowd and the steady gaze of His eyes belied the aforementioned details. The masses parted for Him as he made His way from the back end of the arena towards the front, as the presence they felt was not that of a common field worker. He was unrecognizable, yet somehow entirely different from anyone with whom they had ever come into contact with, and many seemed to know exactly who He was…
One man reached out to touch him as He passed, and said to him “Forgive me, O Lord, for I have pre-judged so many, condemning them as evil just because they came from somewhere else.” He stopped and comforted the man, touching him on his shoulder, “Because you have repented your sins and professed your belief in me before others, your sins have been forgiven. Go forth and live righteously from this point forward.” Another young man, athletic and well quaffed, cried out, “I beat up a transsexual at school because I didn’t want him looking at me in the locker room.” Again, He paused and, with a look of love and understanding, forgave him, saying, “Your sins will be forgiven. But go now and seek the forgiveness of the one you have hurt.”
Perhaps the outcome would have been different if His words and interactions had not begun to be broadcast to those in the stadium. But, as was the case most everywhere in the twenty-first century, a reporter and video crew were on the scene (a local news representative having secured an agreement to broadcast from the crowd up on to the giant screens surrounding the venue while the masses waited for President Trump to arrive). It was almost time for Trump’s entrance when He entered the arena. And as the music played to signal Trump’s arrival, which was when the broadcasting from the floor was to stop, He passed by the news reporter and video crew who – like all the others around them – could not turn away from the spectacle they were witnessing.
President Trump, standing offstage ready to enter to cheers, was waiting for the distraction to pass before coming on stage to receive his expected applause. More and more heads turned to the screens broadcasting the strange situation, and Trump knew that something had to be done. As He moved closer to the front of the venue, feeling His presence, and not wanting to know what he himself might say should they suddenly come face to face, Trump signaled to the Secret Service in the audience that they should take Him from the crowd and bring him backstage. Bumping into the news crew as they seized Him, the broadcast immediately ceased, and, after some direction from Trump and his crew, jubilant music was playing again, and the crowd slowly began looking toward the stage for what would happen next. Having felt His presence himself, President Trump decided that his speech would need to wait while he questioned Him as to why He had come. Trump decided to send his Vice President to the Podium so as not to have the crowd overthinking what they had just witnessed while waiting for a longer time.
He headed back down the hallway and down some stairs toward the room that the Secret Service indicated they had placed Him in. He stopped to look through the window of the door for a moment before entering, trying to convince himself that his first instincts about what he had witnessed were wrong. Then, he slowly opened the door and approached the table where He was sitting, His hands cuffed together with plastic ties…
“Are you…?” he began, then added at once, “Don’t speak, be quiet. Why should I listen to you, anyway? I can’t say that I know what you’ll say, but I know that what I have done is right and with good reason. Never mind what you might have to say about forgiveness, or kindness – people need to be protected from those who might hurt them and they shouldn’t have to be nice to those who are sinners. I’m on my way to making that possible…. Why have you come to hinder me? You have come to hinder me, but do you know what will come of you tomorrow?” He sits calmly, not attempting a response, aware that He will not be allowed one.
“I don’t know who you are and don’t care to know. Tomorrow I will have you put on a bus and shipped off to Mexico. And the very people who today swooned for you and begged for your forgiveness, tomorrow they will thank me for making them feel a little safer. And yes, they’ll love me for making this judgement for them, for being strong enough to realize that we can’t just let everyone enjoy freedom who desires it.” Trump turned back toward the door leading to the awaiting crowds, evidently searching for what to say next. “Fake News!” he declared, “Tomorrow this will be reported as a publicity stunt that the liberal democrats cooked up to disturb an otherwise perfect occasion… Fake News is all you are.”
Trump continued his diatribe, “Once they are so open to all and accepting of everyone, will you be there to ensure they aren’t stabbed or raped by these illegal immigrants that you would protect? Maybe you would even let the radical Islamic terrorists come as well…” Trump waited, baiting – he thought – his captive, but to no avail. He looked at Trump compassionately and appeared, possibly, ready to calmly respond to the questions that had come His way. This only further enraged His captor, who took it as the condescending attitude of the liberal media and politicians who characterize his narrow views as uneducated.
“You are just like all the rest,” continued Trump, “You think I don’t know, that I’m somehow uneducated about human nature… I’ve got a very high IQ actually. I’m, like, a really smart person.” Standing next to his captive, he continued… “I would cite my degree in Economics from the Wharton school of Business, top of my class, in fact, but that won’t impress you as much as my undergraduate studies I think.” He began pacing in front of his captive. “Two years at Fordham University… Two years listening to driveling, liberal arts focused folks preach to me about Christian humanism, and leadership in a global society.” Trump sneered as he finished the phrase – global society. “Not even you can promise them a global society, can you? With all your let you be you and forgiveness and understanding crap!”
“And you see that I’m not trying to, that I’m creating a protected place that you never thought to – wouldn’t be tempted to create, even when you had the chance. Mankind wants to be led. They want someone to lead them, and they need borders and laws for that to happen. Me, I don’t even want to lead them all, just the U.S.A. Let the radical Islamic terrorists die in their area of the world. I don’t even want to conquer those stupid, barbaric countries…. There have been so many worse leaders than myself whose only goal was to take over more land and make those people follow their rules. I’m really a great guy if you think about it.” He chuckled, evidently pleased with himself, given where his lecture had taken him.
“And so what if I don’t let on that I’m okay with them being gay or transsexual, or if I don’t make them feel like it’s okay to go ahead and have an abortion. All things you agree with I’d say, right? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, you’ll say. Yeah, Yeah, so no one is without sin and then no one gets to make any rules or hold anyone accountable for anything. Yes, the more I talk about it, the more I’m quite comfortable sending you off to Mexico. If it is you, then you’ve chosen to leave us without the rule of law, to hope for peace but with none of the tools to accomplish it. You did not choose to give us unlimited resources to be healthy and happy or, at least, not all of us. I certainly found a way, as my success shows… and I would again. Anyway, they’ve elected me to help them find some of that health and happiness too.”
“And, since you are not evidently up to presenting them with miracles anymore – just a teaser, I guess, before you called it off and demanded outright belief for no tangible reward, then I will awe them with what is truly possible. Yes, they will love the wall I build, that Mexico builds for us, I mean. And if we need to obliterate one or two diabolical dictators, a nuke here or there as an example, that will get their attention too. And the United States will be better for it in the end, I assure you. They will love me for defending them, and for removing the evil that would otherwise be trying to kill them. The minority groups here will love me, the churches will love me…” And with that, Trump looked to the door to observe that he still had two Secret Service officers outside. He had convinced himself, which is all that mattered at this point, and could think of nothing more to say.
When President Trump stopped speaking, he was a foot away from the door to the outside hallway, but not quite ready to open it. He waited some time for his Prisoner to respond to him. He noted that the Prisoner had listened intently, always with an annoyingly gentle look on his face. Trump did not wish for Him to say anything, but wondered if He would. The Prisoner suddenly rose from the table and approached President Trump in silence… Before he could reach him, however, Trump opened the door and instructed one of the Secret Service agents waiting there, “Take him to the sheriffs in the parking lot and tell them to have him on the bus of illegals that are being deported tonight.” As the agent led the Prisoner away, Trump shouted after Him, “Go, and come no more…. Never come here again!” The Prisoner walked away in silence.
Trump quickly tweeted out an explanation for his late start, “Sorry folks, the crooked media tried to hijack our rally…. Fake News again! The show will go on.” Within minutes Trump was back at the doorway to the stage he had left half an hour earlier. His Vice President, wrapping things up, announced that a former college football player and now decorated army soldier would be singing the National Anthem before President Trump would take the stage. As the young man began to sing, President Trump stepped out proudly from the darkness of the doorway to hold his hand over his heart. He basked in the aura of patriotism that he could now feel all around him. He thought of his prisoner walking silently away. The memory of his own oratory, which his prisoner would not contradict, glowed in his heart and President Trump, smiling as smugly as ever, believed he had notched one more win.
Philip Villamor is an Administrator for an Educational Institution in Orange County. He has a B.A degree in Political Science (UCSB) and a M.A. degree in Educational Leadership (SDSU).
Image: Composite image: Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona, 2016, by Gage Skidmore “painted” in the style of Ilya Repin’s by the deepart.io algorithm.