Trumping Hamilton, November 2016


Today, the lamed old leader partied, medaled  

all his celebrated friends and causes.

______________


There will be a new leader just now, his visage 

familiar round the world, and hair grotesque,

Calling to my mind the young boy's test

For candidates: Is that a Mount Rushmore face?


The colours, complexion, aggrandized claims

Appear more suited to the canyon,

Grand as his ego, at sunset when the orange

Glare masks his--though he might fancy it 

too small a canvas.


Embarrassed by optimistic grandeur

We disincline to mountains, stone

For monumental memories now

Preferring to mark leaders past

In the present dysfunction of our airports, roads

And centres for spying out our fears.


While story tellers insist the homeland is

Inadequate for spirit, ethos, remembrance

Too far, too empty, too peopled with

Clinging flyover folk, best disregarded

Amid the disarray now in the time

of the Republic Of their Betters.


Myths are created in the Empire of the Arts

Icons honored for the correctness of their thoughts:

Proclaim then the Commonwealth of Celebrity

Bemedal and sanctify the favoured righteous few,

Contrive a minority discordant score

To lyricize the first apostle of the state

Limit, exclude the mass deplorable,

Reassure the good and great 

Retain their faith, their rightful place.


And whistle passing Trinity's old yard

As the trump sounds, announces

The Burr-ing of Hamilton's Republic.


About This:

The news tells me that Obama today gave the Medal of Freedom to Ellen Degeneris for her "bravery" in making a wealthy celebrity of herself by talking publicly about her private sexuality. And while he was at it, gave the same medal to a pot pouri of America's equally wealthy and politically correct celebrities.

Meanwhile, I was having a discussion about whether Trump looks presidential, and I recalled my son's long ago test for candidates: Is that a Mount Rushmore Face?

And I thought how America is mostly now embarrassed by Mt R., preferring to honour their great in symbols closer to their lives and concerns: JFK airport, the Eisenhower and Reagan Highways, the Bush CIA Centre for Intelligence.

And how Obamaism has elevated the celebrity class, and a few favoured minorities, to become the new nobility of the society. A trend perhaps best illustrated in the grossly expensive and highly exclusive Broadway play Hamilton, which employs celebrated minority culture (rap and hip hop) to tell the story of the greatest of the founders of the Republic, Alexander Hamilton, who was murdered by then Vice President Aaron Burr, and is buried in Trinity Churchyard in Manhattan.

And how these trends and their consequences explain in part the political cataclysm of November 8.

 © Philip Knight 2018