Donald Trump's Shakespearean Muse

Donald Trump's Shakespearean Muse

Man, I really should have paid better attention in high school English.
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Like many of my peers, I have been endlessly and perversely entertained by the antics of Donald Trump this election season. Donny Small-Hands has always had a ridiculous public persona, but recently he has swung for the fences in not only offending people, but also bringing hate speech onto the world stage. Because he is such a strange enigma, everyone's been looking for an analogue to explain Trump and his rise in terms we can wrap our head around.

So far, the classic move has been a comparison to Adolf Hitler. While that is apt at times, Hitler also holds a unique status as the worst individual in our shared consciousness. To say, "Trump Is Hitler" is to say, "Trump is a monster I cannot ever understand", and end the thought process there.

Personally, I think we need to view Trump through the lens of a less stigmatized character in order to understand how he got to be the GOP frontrunner. That someone is, of course, Prince Hal from Shakespeare's King Henry IV Part I.

For those of who haven't read or seen this play (which is understandable; Henry V is a lot sexier), the basic plot is pretty simple: there's a storm of rebellion brewing in England against the King, and revolution seems like it will break out any minute. Meanwhile, the King's strange son, Prince Hal, spends his time hanging with the cleverest barflys you'll ever meet, shirking his duties in the name of good times. To put it simply, he's not someone you'd want at your family picnic, let alone the guy who should be next in line to the throne.

At first, the prince's rash actions seem to be just juvenile rebellion, Hal's way of pissing off his dad. But in the second scene of the first act, Shakespeare reveals that there's something more sinister lurking underneath the surface. Here's a link to the text if you'd like to read it, but John Gielgud plays the character best in Orson Welles' Chimes At Midnight:


Because Chimes is Welles' conglomeration of Henry IV Part I and Part II, we actually see a lot of Prince Hal palling around with Falstaff, played by Welles himself. It's all fun and games because, well, why not? But if you skip to 4 and a half minutes in, you get to see a dull sociopathic glint in the eyes of the future king. This man has been working hard to "make offence a skill", but it's all been because he wants to look better in comparison "when this loose behavior I throw off."

"Hal rightly recognizes the value of being seen as fresh and new", writes Jennifer Drouin, and I'm inclined to think Trump saw that same value last week when he chose to change his campaign strategy. "I will be so presidential," Trump said on NBC's Today Show, "you will be so bored." In another interview with the Wall Street Journal, he noted that he will be "more effective and more disciplined" in the future.

Trump knows that, if his campaign continues the way it has, he may win the GOP nomination but never the bipartisan vote (to our credit, 65% of Americans surveyed still view him as unfavorable.) I predict that these recent statements are Trump's way of beginning the turn to moderate that we've all seen coming for months.

What Trump may not have accounted for is, the stakes are a lot higher for him than they were for Prince Hal.

By constantly saying "what we all want to say", Trump has not only become popular, but made hate socially acceptable. "Make America Great Again" is not just a radical statement anymore; it's a figurehead for racists, misogynists, and bigots of all denominations to rally around and make that which is not Great into the Other. Even if the man does swing back and "imitate the sun" on a personal and political level, the effects of his early campaign will never fade away.

Like many of his business decisions, it appears Trump has gambled big and lost. And we're the one's who will be paying for it.

Cover Image Credit: Ronald Grant Archive

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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