Donald Trump is apparently unaware of the cautionary tale of Icarus and Daedalus, or else believes it doesn’t apply to him – just like the norms, rules, and laws of society. According to the myth, Daedalus and his son, Icarus, had been imprisoned by King Minos on the island of Crete. Daedalus, a skilled inventor and engineer, came up with an ingenious plan to escape Crete by building wings from feathers and wax, thus enabling them to fly to freedom.
Before they began their journey, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, where the sun could melt the wax and cause the wings to fall apart. But Icarus, with the impulsiveness of youth, ultimately failed to heed his father’s warning and soared too close to the sun, causing the wax in his wings to melt, and Icarus plummeted to his death in the sea.
Decades ago, Fred Trump was a big deal in the real estate world in the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. His son, Donald, had far bigger ambitions. He set his sights on Manhattan. Fred warned Donald about being lured by the bright lights of the big city, essentially saying we’ve got a good thing going here, out of the limelight, so don’t blow it.
But the then-young Trump, headstrong and cocksure of himself, paid no heed and ventured into Manhattan, where he, in his mind, took the big city by storm, even under the hot glare of the Manhattan spotlight.
So he grew emboldened and set about making his mark on an even bigger stage – becoming a national figure, commenting regularly on political and social issues, and, under the tutelage of TV producer Mark Burnett, growing into a TV star (of “the BIGGEST HIT show” with “HUGE ratings”) and creating the fictional persona of a successful and decisive businessman.
He parlayed this into a political campaign that catapulted him further into the national spotlight, and implausibly (with some unsavory help from Russia, Julian Assange, and James Comey) the Presidency, the epicenter of media and public attention.
Trump relished the spotlight, continuing to hold “campaign rallies” long after the campaign was over, so he could bask in the adulation of a certain seedy segment of society. He became further emboldened by Republican Senate suck-ups, who twice refused to convict him in his impeachment trials, despite his obvious guilt. So, somewhat understandably, he thought he had escaped scot-free.
And yet, as Trump’s father warned, the harsher spotlight has brought increased scrutiny, not just of Trump’s recent political actions, but also his earlier — and heretofore, less public — actions at the Trump Organization. The indictment of the Trump Organization accuses it of conspiracy, falsifying business records, and criminal tax fraud, some of which goes back 15 years, or roughly ten years before Trump launched his presidential campaign.
Like Icarus, had Trump heeded his father’s advice — in this case, stayed in his comfortable corner of the NY real estate market — he would not face the prospect of plummeting to his demise, as the indictment of the Trump Organization foreshadows. And, as satisfying as Trump’s impending demise is, we would all have been better off had he never thrust his sleazy self onto the national stage.