Stepping on Zeus’s last nerve

Dear President Trump,

I decided not to overly freight yesterday’s letter, but I did notice another key parallel between the saga of you and the myth of King Sisyphus. Maybe you did too – it is, after all, rather glaring. Remember the bit from Wikipedia describing King S?

“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.”

Clearly this character was loathed and feared and used his power in disgusting, destructive ways. In short, he was a sick f*ck. He was also someone who made a lot of people a lot of money through his promotion of navigation and commerce, which were of course inextricably linked then as now, albeit in somewhat different ways. So we’ve got a Greek anti-hero who took pleasure in killing foreigners, was deceptive, greedy, and arrogant and who was given untold numbers of passes because he made others boatloads of money. Sounds familiar, right? I know I covered this to some extent yesterday but I needed it to set up the heretofore, unmentioned parallel.

Here it comes….

In a reasonably moral universe it would have been all these horrible misdeeds that put King S in Zeus’s crosshairs, right? Right. However, this is clearly some other type of universe, so nope, not even. Whoever wrote this particular Greek myth clearly understood that fairness and righteousness are not considered when weighing the fates of powerful men who transgress, but who manage to keep the calf fatted. No, it was Sisyphus’s hubris in having held himself out to be cleverer than Zeus himself that was his undoing, it was this that consigned him to boulder rolling for all of eternity.

Just because it helps underscore the point, I’m going to tell you briefly about a jerk supervisor at Allied Security JFK I learned about in listening to a podcast for work (‘LaDonna’ from May 25th, 2018, This American Life). The supervisor was a guy named Kevin who called himself a ‘Russian badass’ (of course – not to cast aspersions on Russian people, but in this situation vis-a-vis you, it’s fitting). So Kevin made life for the Allied security guards working under him as miserable as he could in unimaginably shitty ways. LaDonna, one of those guards, bravely confronted him, told his supervisor what was happening, filed formal complaints, went up the chain as she was supposed to. And so did lots of other people. None of those complaints seem to have been kept (the higher ups interviewed or quoted in the podcast disavowed any knowledge of them). Kevin was eventually fired – for stealing water. His toxic mismanagement was not what got him fired; it was stealing from the Boss Man that did him in.

So what’s it going to take for you? Who do you need to cross to finally wear out your welcome? Is McConnell going to lose patience with you or find that you’ve become more of a liability than a help to his/their cause? The Mercers? The Koch? Vladimir? Clearly it’s not going to be your crimes against humanity, democracy, or the planet that will result in you being consigned to some form of rock pounding – if that were the case it would have happened long ago, long before you got anywhere near the White House. Nope, you are going to have to step on our Zeus’s last nerve. Let’s hope you’re getting close – we really can’t survive much more of you.

May we be safe until you finally piss off the wrong person.
May we all be willing to hold our leaders accountable for the things that really matter.
May our health and well-being not be at risk because you just haven’t pushed things quite far enough.
May you not start a war.

Tracy Simpson

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