Sisyphous & POTUS parallels

Dear President Trump,

This morning it was so cold and clear that I was able to see Pleiades if I didn’t try too hard and sort of softened my gaze. I’d never bothered to wonder much about the name of the constellation until this morning, having been content knowing it referenced “The Seven Sisters.” Of course I knew it wasn’t referencing the handful of US women’s colleges founded when women were not admitted to other colleges and universities so I figured it was tied to Greek or Roman mythology and this morning my hunch was confirmed. This is what Google tells us about the naming of the constellation (and really, how Greek mythology was fashioned to fit the constellation):

“Pleiades in Greek mythology, (were) the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid Pleione: Maia, Electra, Taygete, Celaeno, Alcyone, Sterope, and Merope. They all had children by gods (except Merope, who married Sisyphus).”

It’s nice that the daughters’ mother’s name was used for the constellation, kind of surprising, but nice. I also think it’s funny that the entry matter-of-factly says that all but Merope had children fathered by gods and that Merope, well, she married Sisyphus (what sort of home life was that, do you think?).

Do you know the deal with this Sisyphus character? He was King of Ephyra and apparently was a nasty, self-aggrandizing dude who was prone to deceit and trickery. He also defied death a couple of times and thought he could outsmart Zeus. Zeus, however, had the last laugh by making Sis roll a huge boulder up a mountainside every day only to have it roll down again when he reached the top – over and over in an endless loop. So maybe Merope had the best deal in the end since she knew how Sisyphus was occupied day in and day out while her sisters probably had to put up with husbands who were out taking full advantage of their “god” status.

I had no idea that sighting Pleiades in the early morning sky would lead me to an ancient Greek myth that is incredibly relevant to today’s headlines (truly, I didn’t have any conscious awareness of the fabled Merope + Sisyphus union or the details of the Sisyphus story), but here we are. I also want to say that not everything is about you or comes back to you, but perhaps the bigger message that can be extracted here is that throughout history we have had men (and a sprinkling of women) who have thought themselves cleverer and far more special than the lowly plebeians surrounding them and thus have felt it their god-given right to fleece and abuse said plebeians. Furthermore, an awful lot of those self-aggrandizing, deceitful jerks really aren’t all that clever and their feigned specialness only derives from their immorality. Plus, it sure seems like most all of them are eventually caught and punished – witness your current predicament.

I just checked Wikipedia to see how Sisyphus handled the boulder deal and came across these choice bits:

“King Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce but was avaricious and deceitful. He also killed travellers and guests, a violation of xenia, which fell under Zeus’s domain. He took pleasure in these killings because they allowed him to maintain his iron-fisted rule.”

Shit – have you been studying Greek mythology or is it Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller? Dang if you aren’t the spitting image of Sisyphus. I know boulder rolling isn’t a realistic punishment these days, but I sure hope you are pounding rocks soon. I hear there are some good options in Siberia.

May we be safe from you, our Sisyphian POTUS.
May we all be willing to hold you to account.
May we understand that a country cannot be healthy when it is under an evil spell.
May you not start a war.

Tracy Simpson

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