February 02, 2020

The Donald Is Everyman

The Donald is Everyman.

In the 16th century, the townsfolk of England were entertained by a type of play, known as a morality play, which was performed in the village square in the cities and towns. Each drama, performed by traveling actors and accompanying minstrels, was a type of “visual sermon,” which was acted out for all the public to see. The purpose of the morality play was to teach a moral lesson on the difference between right and wrong.

The biggest hit at the 1500’s box office in England was a play billed as Everyman. Its author unknown, the play’s cast grappled with the moral choices of English life under regal rulers from Henry IV to Henry VIII, whose wealth, castles, the string of wives, and wars with Rome dominated the moral choices confronting the kingdom’s serfs. 

A morality play is a type of allegory in which the protagonist is confronted by characters, who are personifications of both vices and virtues. The starring roles might have been pride and greed, as well as hope and charity. Even money and death may have had a walk-on part.

Now, in the 21st century, the blockbuster attraction in the morality play category is a reincarnation of Everyman, starring Donald Trump in an unfolding drama –– The Donald Versus The Empire. This modern-day Everyman pits the protagonist against a menagerie of characters as antagonists in such dramas as the individual vs. the state, dependence vs. wealth, and freedom vs. serfdom.

Donald Trump is Everyman. His issues transcend time. His role exposes controversial distinctions between right and wrong. He battles radical conceptions of good and evil. The drama is the season’s top Reality Show whose ratings are higher than soap operas and reality shows combined.

Producers of the morality play in the 21st Century have no need to send actors and minstrels from town to town as in days of yore. The protagonist’s performance is acted out on a virtual stage, an electronic projection of his starring role delivered live to earbuds, eye phones, hand pads, and flat screens. In today’s morality play, all the scenes are broadcast and streamed throughout the realm.

Recall William Shakespeare’s famous phrase, “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”

The starring role in today’s morality play has been awarded to Donald Trump. His entrance onto the center stage is uncontested. In his time he plays many parts. He is the hero and the villain. Feared by members of the Rulers Club, pursued by the paparazzi, and acclaimed by the masses, Caesar returns to Roman. Approval or disapproval by the Academy is irrelevant.