National Commentary

The Madman on The Balcony

This week in the history of humankind.

How can it be explained? A new plague hits that a madman in the White House decided was not something to take action against but whose paranoia led him to see it as a personal threat to his rule.

Now, the White House is contaminated. The plague has zeroed in on it, threatening the lives of everyone therein. It is rife in those corridors.

The madman sees it as a badge of honor. Gasping for breath against its assault on his aging respiratory system, he stands on the White House balcony like Evita, not singing but gasping for air.

He has had the benefit of the most extraordinary medical attention on the planet, yet his message to his people is to be like him and “tough it out.” “Don’t let it dominate your life,” he says, speaking to the fields of the dead, the over 200,000 who’ve died from this in America in just six months.

“Those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad.”

The American poet Longfellow has the ancient Greek titan Prometheus announce this verdict in a work, “The Masque of Pandora,” in 1875. It derives from a similar phrase by Sophacles in “Antigone” from ancient Greece.

“Evil appears as good in the minds of those the gods lead to destruction,” Sophacles wrote.

So, is it America the gods are intent to destroy now? Have we so violated the paths of righteousness that at the hands of our commander-in-chief we are now being subjected to sheer madness as a prelude to our destruction?

This is the twitterverse in which mad things happen, bombs are sent off, retaliations are swift and for most of us, we have no idea what’d happened. A flash of light, a terrible noise and then, like the ending of “The Sopranos” — nothing.

We’ve died, you see. Like so many before us, senselessly but we don’t know that because we’re dead.

But for many of us, looking at a madman saluting on the White House balcony waist deep in coronavirus, the signal of our death has been given. This is not going to end well, my friends.

But here, as with all great tragedies, the awful outcome lies with the foreshadowing, because that is where we’re being told what’s to come, in the hours before the pitch black, and where the chance still exists to do something. Do something!

Who saw the Great War coming? Who, that is, who thought it really shouldn’t be allowed to happen? Many saw it coming, and all they did was to set about turning it to their advantage in one way or another.

Even now, the madman saluting as he gasps for breath on the White House balcony is signaling to us all a great bath of poisoned blood soon to engulf us. We all like stunned hairy little mammals stare at what we see and have no plans but to do what we always do. Maybe actually vote this time. Well, maybe.

Our menace is our prophet. The gasping man on the balcony is signalling to us. He means us no good, but in foretelling our doom, he is also predicting our chance.

Prometheus cries out the prophetic truth, and it tells us that we must change our habits, we must be ready for an impending destiny that will call out of us our native energy, our native connections.

Dear ones, this orb upon which we mostly slumber is all we’ve got, for quite awhile, at least. It’s a long way to our neighbors who we’ll find need us more than we need them.

Is it more fear or sloth that inhibits us? Face the fear, and you can vanquish it. Sloth requires a terrible ghost to score its release.

Look at that ghost, my friend. He’s you, mangled, distorted and horrid. Let his visage stun you deeply and spur you to take up arms for the salvation of all.

The madman on the White House balcony is beckoning you now. He’s empty and tells you that his emptiness is your destiny, right now, unless you twist and violently set yourself free.

Cut yourself free.