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The King & The Don

March 20, 2018


I was reading a review of a biography of Thomas Cranmer (no jive) and the reviewer noted how Cranmer nimbly danced for 20 years around King Henry VIII, who was said to be “mercurial”.

Bingo.

In perfect 2018 devoted superficiality I went on the Google to test my insight. After an eternal 10 minute deep dive into multiple websites, and an extraordinary validation of my shallow enthusiasm, it can be said:

We have been here before.

By “we” I mean those who have lineage in England. Beyond his 6 wives (so many, many more than 4) and his writing a book on the righteousness of the Catholic Church in 1531 and then creating the first official “Screw You” to the Pope 15 years later, Henry is said to have “greatly expanded the concept and power of the Devine Right of kings”.

In that Protestant disbanding he took all the dough from not paying the Pope and selling all his monasteries and made a lot of military forays. And he annexed Wales. And he became the King of Ireland.

“Make England Great Again”

My wild lurch and fro was exhilarating in its brevity, but also connective. Humans have freaks. We have hyperbolic persons in our midst who, by accident, or birth, or election, expand their freak show to control their culture. “We Are All Watching the Trump Show Now” is the title of an article I did not have to read this morning.

It is easy to see how Andrew Jackson was one of those, non-stop “Why Not!”, booze and brawling. Maybe if you are in a dark humor the charismatic freaks of Italy and Germany in mid century are also benchmarks of the Freak Ascension, rather than just plain evil.

But the pejorative of all these associations, especially mine, forget the simplest of truths. Every one of those guys was one of us. They did not land from a test tube from a distant galaxy, they were born of their time, by their culture, and in some cases elected by it.

The hatred and rending of garments over these freaks is, no doubt, legitimately triggered by the realities of the freaks involved. But the realities of those of us who were in the same place at the same times can be seen as two things – victims or perpetrators.

I prefer to see the freaks, the victims, and the perpetrators as humans. Just like me, and you. I could never have been even close to being with my wife of 37.6 years if she knew me 5 years before we met.

I was a ragged mess, doing things, in love, breaking up, desperately efforting compensating for my extracurriculars to get a passing grade in courses that were often unattended.

But I got done and went on.

It took England 100 years to get through the legacy of Henry VIII, and I can see that America has had a reset too. Our popular culture is now our governing construction, because we made it that way 240 years ago. And we made ways to change the channel, too.

The English had the Royalty longer than that when Henry came along, and after. And sooner rather than later Elizabeth Made England Great Again. For a while.

The problem is not in the stars, or the Russians, or Facebook, or gluten, the problem is that humans are a mixed bag.

But we are in the same bag. We have the same origin, both The King & The Don. It’s easier to see that in the early dawn, on an exercise bike, in silence on my IPad. In a place where screaming is everywhere it’s harder to here.

I am not sure Trump or Henry listen much, but they do react. “Fire Him!”, “Off With Her Head!”, “Screw The Pope!”, “Build The Wall!”, those men felt the same way about everything before them.

They knew they could control it.

But they, we, all of us, me too, are wrong. We want to control everything enough that we think we can.

Because it is harder to think than act. It’s even harder to have Faith deeper in something you cannot control.

Even in Lent.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brian Crouse permalink
    March 23, 2018 9:14 pm

    You my talented brother run on a different wavelength and I loved that when we met. This was that. And refreshing, entertaining, and informative. It is a good grounding for lent. Have a successful and blessed holiday.

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