In one of those serendipitous moments I treasure, such as when a book that contains much of what I need to know about a topic practically falls off the library shelves into my lap without me consciously looking for it, the new President of the United States was elected around the same time as the release of the latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One. This co-incidence provoked a popular association of Trump with the leader of the dark side in that epic cosmic narrative, Darth Vader.
One of the problems for me in this analogy (and there are several, not least of which is that Vader has a presence Trump could never in a million light years muster) is that Darth Vader, like Lucifer, was once an angel, or as we Star Wars aficionados like to call such beings, a Jedi knight. Vader lost his way and chose the dark side, a decision that precipitated him right out of the good graces of heaven, or, if you’d rather, the select community of Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Force.
In other words, Vader began his career as a good guy and stumbled. I can find no evidence anywhere of Donald Trump ever having been a good guy, or ever having been in a state of grace from which to fall.
There are early signs that the Force is beginning to rebel against the evil Trumpian empire in the form of the US judiciary. On Friday judges in two states, Washington and California, issued temporary restraining orders against the continuing enactment of Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration, otherwise known as the “Muslim ban.” Here is the text of one of those orders. Quite a startling read: how often is one likely to see restraining orders against the President of the United States? Perhaps frequently, in this administration.
Oh, my lord. Serendipity (or the Force) strikes again. My auto correct changed the United States into the Untied States. WTAF.
Trump has responded relatively mildly on Twitter, which is where presidential business, foreign and domestic, is conducted in these times:
We quite rightly mocked former President George W Bush for reducing complex affairs to a simplistic binary of good and evil. We argued for nuance, for the moral significance of detail, and against the immature demands of “you’re either with us, or against us.” Back then in the good old days, the Force still had wriggle room.
However, one of the more unfortunate changes rung by the ascension to power of Empire Trump is the successful diminishment of nuance to the status of complete irrelevance, rendering useless our arguments against simplistic perspectives. Nobody in power gives a wookie’s butt about the details of anything, and nuance is for losers:
Trump has (temporarily one hopes) achieved Bush’s goal: to divide the world into those for us and those against us, and to embed those divisions into implacable concepts of good and evil. We are now living in a Star Wars movie. The Empire has struck back, and it has knocked us silly.
The other disturbing difference between Vader and Trump is that in Vader one always senses the possibility, however small, of redemption. One senses no such possibility in Trump.
There’s a scarcity of Jedi knights, the Force is fading, and I can’t find my light sabres. (This is not a metaphor. There were two in this house, and they’ve vanished.) A woman’s place is in the Resistance, and the Princess’s words resonate as never before:
Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!