For those who enjoy the (occasionally ironic) symmetry of well-written fiction, there’s sometimes nothing quite like current events. The idea of coming full circle in the Voyage and Return motif of the alleged Seven Basic Plots used for novels has been given wings from Homer to Twain to Conrad to Anthony Burgess. But the circle never entirely returns to its original point of origin, when we stop to think about it. It usually comes with a lesson attached or wisdom learned or even life-altering consequences — and here’s hoping that the full circle traversed by the child-raping, murdering monster whose mother gave him the name Donald Trump is no different.
Our story began where it has apparently ended, in the unbridled provocation of racial hatred. Donald Trump did what no Republican ever did, he took the inherent bigotry of the far right out of its “law and order” closet and paraded it around auditoriums and press conferences and debates across America, and enough voters shared his bigotry and loved him for it that they made him president of the United States. Had he bothered to study the bible he so insouciantly holds aloft for photo ops and claims to love better than “The Art of the Deal,” he might have noticed something about a parable concerning perishing by the same sword one lives by.
It was a mistake he finally took too far. These days Trump is trying desperately to shove his bigotry back into the Republican “Law and Order” closet, because he senses that he’s finished. And he may be right.
Life doesn’t merely imitate art, sometimes it does it with a vengeance. Donald Trump’s Voyage and Return plot may very well end in handcuffs. Before you insist that it can’t happen because it’s never happened before, stop and reflect that 2020 may be known as the year of things happening that also can’t happen, and it’s barely half over. Impeachment, worldwide pestilence, riots and racial strife, Constitutional crises, all in a single year … you get the idea. If that’s Act I of 2020 I’m reluctant to ask what happens in Act II.
Back to the lovely image of Trump in bracelets. Here’s something else to think about: imagine a United States Attorney General named Kamala Harris. Then imagine a time when she was district attorney for the city of San Francisco. Harris inherited a dismal conviction rate of 50% from her predecessor. By the time she was finished she left office with a stunning 76% conviction rate. She had something going into the position that Donald Trump lacked: experience and a real aptitude for her job. Imagine what she can and will do with the job of America’s top cop. While we’re on the subject, I wouldn’t want to be America’s former top cop when she takes that helm, either.
If you’re worried about who will take Senator Harris’ place in a Senate that desperately needs Democrats, fear not. The Seventeenth Amendment empowers state governors to fill vacancies in such instances, and the governor of California of record by the time Harris is tapped for the job of AG will be Democrat Gavin Newsom. Better hands one cannot imagine.
Nothing says good fiction like great irony, and that Harris is both a woman and a woman of color gives renewed meaning to the plot device called Nemesis. Nemesis is the goddess of retribution. Donald Trump is a man of so many fears it’s difficult to keep track of them all, but his fear of powerful women of color is particularly prominent. It stands to reason that Donald Trump’s racial hatred will be the sword he finally perishes by, and who better to wield that sword than the formidable Kamala Harris? And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.