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Donald Trump and the Murder in the Cathedral

Good blog post about Trump's culpability in the attempted insurrection.


At first glance, it may seem that the brutal murder of Thomas à Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, by four of King Henry II of England’s knights on December 29, 1170 has nothing to do with the siege of the United States Capitol building by Trump supporters 851 years later on January 6, 2021. Yet the bloody tale of the “murder in the cathedral” offers a unilateral truth about just how dangerous a leader’s words can be, whether their intent is malicious or not. It’s a story about personal responsibility — or, rather, the abdication of it and the consequences of any leader’s words.


According to the monk Edward Grim, a witness to the Archbishop’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral, King Henry said, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric!” Others have reported that Henry said, “Will none of these lazy insignificant persons, whom I maintain, deliver me from this turbulent priest?” or, more directly stated in a later dramatization, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”


Absolutists, dictators, and mob bosses have long used direction via indirection as a way to keep their hands clean while others do their dirty work. For example, Hitler apologists and Holocaust deniers have argued for decades that as there is no known written directive from Hitler ordering the murder of all European Jews, Hitler could not have known about the mass murders committed under cover of invasion, or of the heinous machinations finalized at the January 20, 1942 Wannsee Conference. To them, Hitler is therefore a victim of malicious lies, the one innocent amidst all the carnage.


The blood on the floor of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 is no less red than the blood that was splattered across the floor of Canterbury Cathedral on December 29, 1170, save for one crucial difference: Donald Trump is not a king, not an absolute monarch, not the dictator he so wishes to be. He is beholden to the laws of a representative democracy, and must be held accountable.

Posted by LudwigPastorius | Thu Feb 11, 2021, 01:07 PM (0 replies)
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