Monday, August 6, 2018

Book Review: 'Verses Versus Empire: III - The Trump Era' by Abdiel LeRoy

‘Trump is clearly unfit for the office he holds’

The handsome actor/former journalist/religion correspondent/author Abdiel LeRoy is a British-American whose life is largely inspired by the Bible, Shakespeare, and the great epic poem, 'Paradise Lost'. As a poet Abdiel embraces giant tasks – the lives of Elijah, Obama, Bush, and Trump in his VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, as well as the very fine DUELING THE DRAGON, THE GOURMET GOSPEL, THE CHRISTMAS TREE and now WELL VERSED. He also has worked as a broadcaster, financial analyst, and market commentator, while his passions also include Argentine Tango, Yoga, and competitive swimming. His voice both as a narrator for dramatic readings and on stage is being recognized as a brave new presence in the politics of the globe. As an actor, Abdiel has embodied most of the major Shakespearean roles, and on stages from New York to London to Beijing, though perhaps his most famous appearance is in the hit short-film series, ‘The Expert.’ He has also staged three one-man shows, including the famous children's tale, ‘Wind in the Willows.

In his Introduction Abdiel shares his approach to the terror man that is the center of this book VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE III: The Trump Era – ‘Let me begin with a note of reassurance, for these appear to be frightening times. By late 2017, Donald Trump, with little standing between him and pre-emptive launch of nuclear weapons, had threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" and total destruction. Soon after, while boasting of U.S. military strength, he said we were in "the calm before the storm." He has also threatened to attack Venezuela. And all this on top of a kaleidoscopic orgy of violence — military, economic, and environmental — already perpetrated or sponsored by the U.S. government in so many areas of the world. So why do I say these times merely "appear" to be frightening? Because infinitely more powerful laws are in play, whose motivation is love for humanity. And I have distilled these laws from the two literary sources that most sustain me — the Bible and Shakespeare….Trump, though a destructive force, is an exemplar of cowardice, for only a coward would advocate, as he does, torture of other human-beings who have no recourse to their own defense. Saturated with feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness, and insignificance, he must flee when resisted and, in the end, be prey to his own violence… And now for the Shakespeare. He wrote, "All the world's a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players./ They have their exits and their entrances…" What can we extrapolate from this? That the world, and its politics, is theatre.’

An example of Abdiel’s fine poetry follows – MENTAL 

Destroy lest ye be inwardly destroyed,
Make threats lest ye be inwardly afraid,
Pollute lest ye be inwardly polluted,
And force a woman if you can't get laid! 

Boast of your size if you are feeling small,
Drop bombs if you are powerless inside.
Tweet volumes, feeling insignificant,
And make the Beast of Empire your joy-ride! 

Lest ye feel inwardly inadequate,
Invent myths of superiority,
Hire yes-men who will echo your opinion,
Surround yourself with low ability. 

And if you lack the wit to empathize,
Denounce forthright officials and dismiss,
Cripple naysayers, humiliate, and kill,
While altering facts to suit your prejudice.

No reference point for truth outside yourself,
A personal myth of greatness cultivate,
Mock scientists and journalists, devour
The body politic's organs of state. 

Such infernal commandments are in play
As point to end-time-prophecy's predictions,
A devil's puppet posing, playing God,
The state feeding his personal addictions. 

Now mental-health professionals have weighed in
On Trump's psychology of powerlessness,
Breaking their own rules, with "too much at stake,"
To warn about this man of lawlessness, 

The narcissism, grandiosity,
The sadism and torture fantasy,
The need for admiration and approval,
The fascist leanings and proclivity. 

Caligula and Nero would applaud
His use of public power for personal ends,
Wielding executive prerogative,
But note how each man met his violent end!

Abdiel’s wisdom and insights as well as his keen sense of theatrics allows us to consider the state of affairs in this ‘empire’. Sad, frightening, but true. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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