It is easier to think about Trump and his presidency through the lens of ancient politics rather than filter it through the illusion of modern democratic politics. Hence this post.
If one has the haze and illusion of democratic politics clouding his vision, it looks like Trump is not getting much done. Almost counterintuitively, it is the democratic understanding of the US federal government to say that the President has power. He was elected to wield certain powers, endowed with them by the people. One who works from this frame assumes presidential power when he says that Trump is not getting much done. If the President had the actual powers he has on paper? Then Trump is not an effectual president.
But democracy does not exist. It is easier to consider American politics through a medieval or ancient lens. The presidency is a vestigial and ceremonial monarchy. The Parliament our Congress also has theoretical powers. In actuality, we are ruled by our priesthood. This priesthood has thoroughly infiltrated both the Parliament and the “Presidency”. The kritarchy is not infiltrated but a legitimate and actual branch of the priesthood. It is the representative of the Church.
Trump inherited a presidency that was tiny and weak. A mere ceremonial monarch. The “executive branch”, however, has become a purely priestly apparatus. The President appears to be exercising power when he is in harmony with the priesthood. Obama was not an exceptionally powerful president who bent the executive branch to his will. Rather, he was an avatar of those who already worked for the Executive.
Being ruled by the priestly class doesn’t sound so bad. At least until you realize that our priesthood, simply as I can put it, worships Satan. And Trump is fighting against it and trying to diminish its power. His task is about as difficult as the Queen of England trying to exercise political power. From that perspective, he’s doing a great job. If we imagine Trump as a ceremonial monarch trying to become an actual monarch, his actions make a lot more sense.
Let us envision the Kingdom of America as it exists today. We have a rotating King, who is mostly chief diplomat and war-leader. He also has the bully pulpit and oversees matters of domestic security. Around the King has grown up a bureaucratic apparatus typical of the absolutist state. It is staffed by members of the priesthood, and every command given by the King, save those directly to the military, are filtered through several levels of priest before they are put into action. This is especially true of the diplomatic and domestic security apparati. But take a look. What’s that? Even the King’s speechwriters have degrees from seminary school. And a requirement of promotion in the military is to have an advanced degree from seminary school. Curious. Before a guy in a helmet fires a gun, the King’s order passes through several ranks of priests. We’ll get back to this.
We have a bicameral Parliament that writes legislation for the King to approve or reject. Supposedly, the Parliament most directly represents the “People”. The people always elect priests though. Isn’t that funny? Every member of the Parliament just so happened to go to seminary school. And everyone in Parliament tends to take the advice of bodies of actually-ordained priests that we call NGOs. In the spirit of priestly charity and poverty, they are usually nonprofit organizations.
Finally, we have High Courts that serve, officially, as the Church’s direct representatives in government. Technically, the King gets to hire new priests when one dies or resigns, with the approval of Parliament. It causes a great deal of unrest when a priest thus chosen is either excessively holy or openly heretical, choosing instead to follow the Old Religion that still believes in Christ. Mostly, secretly radical priests tend to be appointed, as the Court openly values neutrality. Priests suspected of heresy need to have publicly impeccable records to make it through. Priests who are obviously holy and dogmatic need not even be literate. The priesthood is generally holy and dogmatic, and shrieks like banshees over the fact that the High Court may be less holy than the priesthood at large.
So onto this field, a new ceremonial monarch steps, one who has promised to curtail the worst excesses of the priesthood. He has even committed open heresy! The priesthood is united in their opposition to him, almost categorically. Only dissident priests, and merchants who have bought up some priestly power, dare voice their support. His alliance is a patchwork one, but he managed to secure the support of most of the unordained common folk, who still practice the Old Religion half in secret. The wealthiest and most successful merchants, knowing where Power is, support the Church. But many smaller merchants are unhappy with priestly interference in their business, and most warriors, frighteningly enough, are enthusiastic in their support for the crass and headstrong Donald I. It is official dogma, of course, for the Church to consider the provinces of the Empire to be holier than its heartland, and this belief has proven unsurprisingly unpopular among the unenlightened heartlanders.
As soon as Donald I was coronated, a Grand Inquisition was opened against him. For the Church to open an Inquisition against the King is a very rare thing. To actually convict the monarch of treasonous heresy is almost never done. Nonetheless, the Church hopes to use this Inquisition to remove the King’s closest allies and prevent him from carrying out his agenda. The King’s advisers and favored aristocrats enjoy no such traditional immunity from conviction, and it seems likely they will betray him rather than face the Inquisitor’s lash.
King Donald I immediately began to withdraw the Empire’s legions from their Holy Jihad in the desert lands, and pledged to only use the great Legions in defense of the Empire. The truculent heretics of the desert had proven themselves resilient in the face of the Empire’s superior force, and the costly Jihad had become unpopular in the eyes of all but the holiest priests.
Shortly into the reign of Donald I, a crisis arose in the land of Syria, in which prophets professing the Holy Faith of the American Empire incited a civil war against its legitimate monarch. The Church was unanimous in declaring a righteous Jihad against Syria’s King, the scholarly and methodical “Lion of Damascus” Bashar Al-Assad. Al-Assad cannily entered into alliance with the heretical Russian Empire, employing its considerable military might to fight against the rebellion in his lands. It was clear to all that the rebellion in heretical Syria had been instigated by the Church, though the Church, finding actual American dogma rather rare in Syria, was forced to employ Wahhabi zealots in the rebellion, a fact which when revealed, consternated followers of the Old Religion and the New alike.
Here we see the wisdom of King Donald show itself for the first time. He could not dare, in the face of the Church’s enthusiasm for Jihad, portray the Empire as militarily weak, and Wahhabi zealots indeed posed a present threat to the Empire. Thus he entered into secret diplomacy with the Russian Tzar and the Syrian King as he sent a small detachment of Holy Crusaders to Syria. As per this agreement, his Crusaders made a show of force against empty military bases in supposed retaliation for Assad’s heresies, while the “ISIS” zealots were, in cooperation with the Tzar, methodically forced out of Syria and eventually eradicated. The outcome satisfied all parties involved, and the people rejoiced when King Donald’s crusaders returned home with the ISIS leader’s head upon a pike, for it was a moment of pure victory in an Empire that had almost forgotten the meaning of the word. The Church decried the fact that Assad remained on his throne, and lamented the lost opportunity of Jihad against heretical Russia, but had lost its capacity to incite further war.
However, on certain fronts King Donald has not yet managed to wrest power from the Church. He is faced with a critical shortage of competent aristocrats desirous to enact his will, and those he trusts with power have often been revealed as traitors and agents of the Cathedral. He cannot openly acknowledge the dissident priests and heretics, (those who call for the dissolution of the monasteries and removal of favored status for provincials) among his most loyal supporters, nor can he appoint them without the Inquisition falling upon his head. All he does, for the moment, must plausibly be in the name of the Church’s doctrines, for many of his supporters are firm believers in its righteousness while reviling what they consider to be recent errors.
Not trusting to priests, he instead relies upon prominent members of the warrior and merchant classes to renegotiate unfavorable trade agreements with the provinces and other Empires, seeking to move the manufacture of goods and production of energy back to the heartlands of Empire as a reward for his common supporters. In this, he has been successful, for the Empire is now a net exporter of energy, as mining booms and manufacture trickles back in. He has also employed certain strict measures against provincials seeking employment in the heart of the Empire, both in the sponsored preferential hiring of provincials and in the mass movement of such, technically illegal but long endorsed by the Church, across the Empire’s southern border with Aztlan. Though heretical, both policies enjoy wild popular support among the unordinated while causing the merchants who support him some discomfort.
Though the Church has forbidden King Donald from erecting his promised border wall, construction has begun nonetheless, under the pretext of “fortifying existing barriers”. The work has been slow, as it was only recently revealed that the administrator he appointed to oversee it had in fact been in the pay of the Church. Within just the past week, King Donald appointed the controversial minister Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to oversee the remaining construction. While Kushner has long been suspected by those loyal to our King to be an agent of the Church, our King shows wisdom in this appointment. One can only imagine the temptation that must exist to betray the King; Kushner, should he do so, would likely be canonized overnight. Yet because the Church’s official position holds that the border wall is a heretical offense against sacred provincial dignity, the completion of this task would forever alienate him from the Church’s favor. If the suspicions among our King’s loyalists are correct, and Kushner sabotages the task for the Church, our King has easy pretext to rid himself of a snake, which he could not otherwise do. As always, our King sets up confrontations that are, in the common parlance, win-win, or Catch-22’s for his enemies.
Our King has also taken action to circumvent priestly control of our legions, foreseeing future military conflict within the Empire. He has sided with the common warrior against the Church’s officer class in legal disputes, knowing that should the religious tensions in the Empire come to a head, he will need the direct support of the Legions against the Church. He has also used his capacity for public speech to discredit and embarrass the most prominent members of the Empire’s domestic security forces, knowing that the Church has deployed them against him in the Inquisition. On all sides, he appears to be bracing for a great conflict.
And yet he does not display a lack of wisdom in his manner of provoking this conflict. While appearing brash and impulsive, he encourages his enemies to underestimate him. He dangled before the Church the tempting bait of his apparently illegal dealings with the puppet-state of Ukraine, knowing full well that an inquiry into these matters would reveal many crimes the Church committed in establishing and maintaining this province. Before many more years turn, it is likely that he will have sufficient pretext to order arrests of many prominent Church members. Most likely, this will come on the heels of his reelection and the great legitimacy it lends his cause. Reelection is likely, as the Church struggles to find a plausible replacement to promote among the field of senile old men, hedonistic degenerates, and half-insane holy women it has cultivated. Should one walk into a tavern, nigh every man who works with his hands will raise them in a toast to our King, and raise their voices in blasphemy of the Church’s most recent and holiest strictures.
The Inquisition has since mounted in fervor against King Donald, and this chronicler fears that the Church, of late becoming holier and holier in its innovation of doctrine, has lost all reason as it calls openly for the mass sacrifice of the unborn, the buggery of young boys, and the forced creation of eunuchs to join the priestly ranks. King Donald is heading towards a confrontation which will see either his victory, or his burning at the stake. Make no mistake, the Inquisition will then turn its zeal against all who supported our King. We may only pray that he realizes the gravity of the situation and acts appropriately.