“The mark of the beast”

Dear President Trump,

A new friend sent me a snippet from the book “Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters” by David Kipen. Even though it will add to my character count, I’m going to replicate it. First though, you need some context. The book is set up so it goes day-by-day starting with January 1st and Kipen includes a small handful of different writings that were written on whichever day it is any time from 1542 to 2018. He chose entries that reveal something about LA, made him laugh, ticked him off, or choked him up.

Here’s the quote:

American Fascism will get nowhere without a dictator. Somewhere he exists; somewhere in the murky valleys of politics lurks the American Hitler. Soon or late, he will appear. Let us pray that when he comes, he will have the mark of the beast set on his brow, so we shall know him.
Philip Dunne, 1936

I’m pretty sure my friend’s implying that you are our American Hitler. This may well be, but I always had the impression that Hitler was intelligent and came up with his horrific schemes himself. He definitely needed other smart people to execute the logistics of those schemes, but I’ve never had the sense that there was a puppet master pulling his strings. This, of course, is in sharp contrast to my sense of you, though you did emerge from the murkiest political valley possible, you have clear dictatorial aspirations, and you wear your hair so it always covers your brow….

I spent a silly amount of time today doing a crash course on what “the mark of the beast” means. I must have read six or seven different websites, and honestly, I didn’t learn very much. It all seems like so much gobbledygook (which is an awesome onomatopoeia!). The most scholarly site about it that I found included this comment: “what enables us to discern true prophets from false ones is……to evaluate them by their moral character” (from Zondervan Academics by Craig Keener), which is maybe a bit of a tangent, but felt to me like it had your name all over it.

I wish I could tell you something useful about prescient Philip Dunne, but aside from the fact that he was a politically active screenwriter and movie director, I couldn’t find much. Be that as it may, I’m glad he wrote what he wrote in 1936, that Kipen included it in his book, that my friend saw it, and that she thought to share it with me.

May we be safe from evil-doers.
May we be willing eschew false prophets.
May we take care of our moral compasses so we are not vulnerable to their wiles.
May our actions have integrity so we may be at peace with ourselves.

Tracy Simpson

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