06:59:02 am on
Thursday 25 Jul 2024

Not a Hovering Harlequin
AJ Robinson

One of my favourite films is The King’s Speech. I love docudramas, such as The King’s Speech. I’m a lifelong Anglophile and the actors performed well, in this film.

To his family, George VI was known as Bertie.

The King’s Speech tells the story of the lifelong struggle of King George VI aka Price Albert until his coronation, with stammering. The film took liberties with historical events and facts to make the story flow, but is reasonably correct. Lionel Logue, a speech therapist from Australia, did coach the future king, helping him give one of the most difficult speeches of all time (above).

Albert or Bertie, as he was known to his family, was not supposed to be king. He was second in line for the throne behind his brother, David, who was to be coronated as King Edward VIII following the death of their father, George V. Alas, rather sickly Albert had to step up for the good of country and its people.

David qua Edward loved Wallace Simpson, a twice divorced American. The royal family would not allow such a travesty, divorced and American disqualified Simpson as queen. In the 1930s, such a scandal could bring down the government.

(There are rumours, circulating to this day, that David, soon to be King Edward VIII, was a Nazi sympathiser. The evidence is scant. Wallace Simpson was a ready beard.)

Today, who could care less. This is a different time. Charles, married to a divorcee, will become King. Trump has been married trice.

David abdicated, Albert became King George VI and then came one of the most difficult events of his life: World War II. Following Germany’s invasion of Poland, England and France declared war against Germany. It fell to Albert to inform the nation and the empire.

Lionel Logue was right there, with Albert, as King George VI, to help him through. In that speech, Albert laid out the facts to the British Empire: they were now at war, for the second time in a generation; it was going to be tough; it was not going to be something they easily or quickly dealt with; many would suffer and some would die.

The speech assured the UK that victory would be theirs. It stands as one of the greatest speeches of the Twentieth Century, delivered by a man with a stammer. That is how a leader sounds; that is what a leader does; he or she rises to the occasion.

Roosevelt, when delivering his Day of Infamy speech the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, spoke of the hard road ahead, just as he did at his first inauguration address when he talked of fear being the only thing Americans had to fear. When Kennedy spoke during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he laid everything out and made it clear Americans were facing potential dangers.

A good leader is honest and has integrity.

Again, this is what a leader does. He or she doesn’t sugar coat, yet she or he doesn’t stoke fear. He or she is as honest with his or her people, as is possible.

Contrast the speeches of George VI, FDR and John Kennedy with the recent words of The Great Orange. He, at first, dismissed the coronavirus as a hoax, then claimed he was on top of it and after that said anyone who wanted a test could get one.

Trump boasted five million Americans would receive tests and then said he never said it. When pressed on the fact that back when there were fifteen cases in the USA, he said the number would soon drop to zero; now he says he said the number of cases will drop to zero, someday. I don’t recall him putting it that way.

What Trump did do was encourage use of an untested medicine. He recently said the death toll would stay under sixty thousand. At last count, we’re well over that; more than 82,000 as of this writing and growing fast. How soon before he denies ever saying the death toll would not exceed 60,000?

Then there are the instances of him contradicting himself. At first, China was doing an excellent job and being perfectly transparent. Now, he now says China created covid-19 deliberately.

He said he had the absolute authority to open the nation and then said it was up to the governors. He tweets that people should liberate Michigan and other states, while chiding Georgia for doing just that. Armed white men storm the Michigan state house and he calls them good people.

Gee, where have we heard that before? Would Trump say that if they were Black or Hispanic? I think not.

trump suggested injecting disinfectant to cure victims of covid-19 or shining bright lights inside their bodies. Some Americans believed their President and ended up in the hospital because they drank bleach and other cleansers. His reaction was that he bears no responsibility, as he was being sarcastic.

Trump spews a continuous line of lies and has since day one of this pandemic and, yet, no one calls him on any of his lies. His minions believe every word he says, even when he contradicts himself. This is a true example of Doublespeak right out of 1984 and people continue to die.

My own extended family has seen loses and that is why I feel true rage and hate for this man and all who follow him. I am not a man who hates easily. Put another way, I’m not a good Trumpster.

If Trump were not so dangerous, he might be best characterised as a harlequin. The harlequin is a hovering servant role in Italian commedia dell'arte. The checker-costumed character tries to undermine his master for its own benefit.

Trump lies to Americans. His goal is to enrich himself and his family, literally. Alas, his lies have led to unnecessary deaths in America, his ostensibly master, which disqualifies him from the largely comedic role of an incompetent trickster.

Trump will lie and people will die.

Where will this end? I don’t know, but one thing is certain: many more people will die. Trump will lie. No one will do anything about it. I wonder what history will say about this era. Here’s a certainty: whatever is written about this time in American history, it will not be good.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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