What J.R.R. Tolkien can teach us about life after Trump

first_imgThe sooner we begin, the sooner we may say along with Sam’s old Gaffer, “All’s well that ends better!”   McConnell may be right—indeed, he may continue to do damage even as we work to correct it—but we must undertake it just the same. And Tolkien provides us with insight into the way that work must be accomplished: with determination, but also with compassion. Frodo, as leader of the free hobbits, forbids violence against his fellow hobbits “even if they have gone over to the other side. Really gone over, I mean, not just obeying … because they are frightened.” He cautions that “it is useless to meet revenge with revenge: It will heal nothing.” Compare this to Joe Biden: “We must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.”  Like Trump’s MAGA minions, Saruman’s thugs—hobbit, half orc, and human alike—demand respect but deserve none. What they do deserve, Frodo knows, is the chance to change—with consequences if they choose not to. “Do not kill him even now,” he instructs Sam after the disgraced Wizard has just attempted to stab him with a dagger.  “He was great once, of a noble kind … He is fallen and his cure is beyond us, but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.” But Saruman’s pride, like Trump’s, prevents conversion. “All my hopes are ruined,” he tells Galadriel in an earlier chapter, “but I would not share yours.” And Frodo has no compunctions about driving him and his henchmen out of town—as we must have none about driving out the recalcitrant Trump and his goons if they refuse to go in peace.  When first apprised of Sauron’s fall and the success of the Quest, Sam wonders, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” In “The Scouring of the Shire,” Tolkien has Sam provide his own answer: “I shan’t call it the end,” he says, “till we’ve cleared up the mess. And that’ll take a lot of time and work.” That work is now our work. To quote Joe Biden, “The work of making this vision real is the task of our time.”  – Advertisement – Nor have we rid ourselves of the scourge of Trumpism. On the contrary, Trumpists still occupy the top positions in government and have not acceded to the lawful transfer of power. High-level elected officials remain complicit. Trump loyalists have been installed in our judiciary and our career civil service. Armed militias threaten violence. And millions of our fellow citizens have thrown their lot in with the corrupt and immoral Trump regime.  Tolkien understood that the aftermath of evil is not sudden good, but rather a long, hard, unglamorous slog towards normalcy and decency. And he understood that even this menial work would face resistance from the spiteful vanquished. “I have already done much that you will find it hard to mend or undo,” smirks Sharkey/Saruman to Frodo upon realizing he is defeated. Compare this to Mitch McConnell upon the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court: “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”    – Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

Berahino blast boosts Baggies

first_img The closest Southampton came to an equaliser was when Chris Brunt deflected Ryan Bertrand’s second-half cross just wide. West Brom are now eight points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone in 13th, having lost just once under Pulis. Southampton, though, are clinging onto fifth place having won just once in their last five games. The Baggies were unchanged while the Saints brought back Bertrand, Morgan Schneiderlin, Dusan Tadic, Florin Gardos and Sadio Mane, after the forward had been dropped after being late in the build-up to their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool. Berahino had shaken off a minor knock to start and he made an instant impact after just 70 seconds. Brunt’s lofted free-kick was headed out by Maya Yoshida but only as far as Berahino and the striker unleashed a rasping half-volley which flew into the top corner from 16 yards. The striker is prolific at The Hawthorns, with 15 of his 17 goals this season coming at home. The Saints were ragged and Fraser Forster saved Claudio Yacob’s header before Gardos was replaced by Elijero Elia. The striker scored his 17th goal of the season with a brilliant half-volley after just 70 seconds to settle the game. The Saints dominated possession but rarely threatened the Albion goal as the Baggies kept their seventh clean sheet in 10 games under head coach Tony Pulis. West Brom took a giant leap towards safety after Saido Berahino condemned stuttering Southampton to a 1-0 defeat. Boss Ronald Koeman had seen enough and his side almost responded when Mane fired over after collecting Schneiderlin’s brilliant cross-field pass. The change altered the game’s dynamic and the Saints improved, although they failed to test Ben Foster as Mane shot off target again. Craig Gardner almost found an opening when he failed to control a long ball when clean through but it was a rare chance for the Baggies. Their defensive organisation, which has now seen them keep four straight clean sheets under Pulis, was evident though. Despite having the bulk of possession and pinning Albion back, Southampton struggled to break down the massed Baggies ranks. Steven Davis replaced Victor Wanyama at the break and referee Phil Dowd also failed to reappear, with fourth official Graham Scott taking charge. And Albion suffered a blow 10 minutes into the second half when Berahino limped off to be replaced by Youssouf Mulumbu. It took away the Baggies’ best outlet and Southampton continued to press and almost levelled after 67 minutes. Bertrand linked well with Elia on the left and when Graziano Pelle missed his cross, it deflected inches wide off Brunt. Brown Ideye wanted a penalty after tangling with Fonte during a rare Albion raid with 10 minutes remaining. And the visitors could have levelled with four minutes left when Pelle latched onto a Schneiderlin header only to mis-hit his shot straight at Foster. Press Associationlast_img read more