11 January 2021

Riding the Tiger: 2021 and Trump's Dismount

In his inaugural address, John Kennedy used the line, "those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside."

Riding the tiger is an apt phrase to describe an abuse of power. The good thing is that anyone coming after you risks getting destroyed. The bad thing is that if you try to dismount from the tiger, you risk getting destroyed.

Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi are two of the more recent rulers who lost their life shortly after losing power. Benito Mussolini first popularized the term fascist and after ruling with an iron hand was killed by a mob as Italy fell to Allied forces.

Julius Caesar was famously assassinated by senators defending the Roman Republic from coming under the rule of a tyrant. Julius died violently but so did the centuries-old Republic, giving way to a Roman Empire that would be ruled by a series of emperors, each adopting the title Caesar.

Trump is desperate to hang onto power. All indications are that he's broken a series of laws both before taking office and once in office, his inciting a mob to attack the legislative branch as it finalized the democratic vote for his opponent only the most recent and egregious of these violations. He's been riding the tiger, from the time he first insulted former prisoner of war John McCain ("I like heroes who weren't captured," said the man with bone spurs) to his order to the Proud Boys to, "stand by," to thousands of petty and major lies and insults to law, propriety and friends and foes. Out of office, he will have to refinance hundreds of millions in debt, and likely faces a series of legal challenges that could mean endless trials with criminal and civil consequences. Desperate, he would have happily toppled the republic to avoid all that.

He's had quite the ride on this tiger. The dismount is going to be a spectacle.

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