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Archive for July 30th, 2019

In the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor was overly concerned his public appearance. Playing on this, two swindlers come into the kingdom and convince the emperor that they are the most magnificent tailors he has ever encountered. These faux tailors tell him that they can weave the most magnificent cloth and make him a remarkable suit of clothing. They say it will be invisible to those who are unusually stupid, incompetent or unfit for the positions they held.

The emperor goes big for this idea, thinking that such a suit of clothing will enable to determine who is wise and should be trusted and who is stupid or unfit and should not be trusted with any position of power. He employs the tailors at great expense to weave the cloth and make him the clothes.

Looms were set up and remained empty even as the swindling tailors said the fabric was being made on them. The emperor sent many ministers and other officials to check on the progress of the suit and the swindlers would take them to the loom where they would exult over the nonexistent fabric. They would describe the beauty of the colors and the pattern and the officials stood in rapt attention, nodding and oohing and aahing even as their own eyes told them that nothing was there.

Not a single person would say that there was nothing there. Nobody wanted to be marked as stupid or unfit in the eyes of the king.

The weavers brought the clothing to the king and convinced him that the suit was so light that it felt like wearing nothing at all. When the emperor cried that there was nothing there, they called in his court and, being afraid to be seen as either a fool or unfit, they exclaimed how marvelous the clothing appeared on the emperor. Emboldened by the silence of his court, the emperor decided to parade his new suit through the streets.

The people of the kingdom had heard of the amazing fabric that would be invisible to the stupid and the incompetent. So as the emperor strode naked before them, they cheered with rousing approval.

That is until a small child exclaimed, “ But he hasn’t got anything on!”

The crowd tried to shush the child but soon a whispered buzz was going through the crowd. The child was right!

The crowd cried in unison, “He hasn’t got anything on!”

The emperor shivered and blushed.  Knowing that it was true, he continued his parade with his toadies holding up his nonexistent train behind him as he marched.

**

It’s a great story, one we all have heard in some form. It is a tale that can be applied to the current occupant* of the white house and the political party that is acting like the emperor’s court. Except in this case, the tale is in reverse.

Here, the occupant* is wearing an outfit cut from a fabric that his courtiers are pretending is invisible.

It is a special fabric, woven with stupidity and fear. These two things are the warp and weft of the fabric that makes up all the things that comprise the evils of this world– racism, superstition, envy and greed.

The occupant* proudly wears his suit made from the loudest shades of stupidity and fear and uses it to determine who he trusts–those who claim they see nothing.

They are kind of like Sargent Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes– I see nothing! At best, seemingly benign but, in actuality, enabling the awfulness taking place.

And for those who say, “For god’s sake, trust your eyes! He wears that awful fabric and is preening in it like a prize hen!“?

Well, you know the drill.

Attack and demean. Distract, divide and dehumanize.

At least, that is how it goes for now. As the occupant* consolidates his blindly loyal toadies into the justice and intelligence communities, the penalties may very well become much more harsh than they already are.

That child who dared to state the obvious might very well end up in a “camp” somewhere.

Trust your eyes, people. This emperor, our occupant*, is wearing the cloth of a racist and a would be tyrant.

 

 

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