Trump and the Monster Myth Mash

I recently wrote a series of fairy tales inspired by this crazy election, most recently Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Trump and The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Trump. Now after seeing the increasing violence at Trump rallies, spurred on by his rhetoric filled with insults, put-downs, racist remarks, taunts, and suggestions about attacking others, I thought about how every society has had its scary monsters and he was like one of these monsters. In fact, many people have compared Trump to Hitler and the loyalty pledge to him like a Nazi salute. And videos have shown how Trump has egged on the fights on by pointing at people who have disagreed with something he said or might look disruptive. Then, his security forces have grabbed them and carried them out, such as at one rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where one woman said the man they were taking away had done nothing, and then they dragged her out, too.

Those photos and videos of chaos and confrontations along with supportive cheers at his rallies have led me to look at this long tradition of powerful and dangerous monsters, where many people become victims, though sometimes, a hero emerges who is able to confront and defeat the monster in battle. In American popular culture, we have tamed many of these monsters in our films and media, so they have become an image of fun, such as in the Disney films Monsters University and the Shrek series. And even before then there was the popular 1962 Monster Mash song by Bobby Picket, in which a mad scientist's monster emerges from the slab to perform a dance that becomes the hit of the land when other monsters, including Dracula, come to the party. But historically, in other cultures, these monsters are truly scary.

In many ways, so is Donald Trump very scary today, especially to most other Republicans, to Democrats, and to much of the media, Hollywood stars, academics, minority group members, women, and others he has insulted or belittled on his way to the top. While some fervently support him and cheer like fans at a boxing match, he has polarized the country along the way.

Thus, since Trump has become to many the essence of a monster who threatens to not only destroy the Republican party, but the country as a whole, I thought it fitting to see how Trump might compare to other monsters through traditional myth and legend. In some cases, the monster seems to prevail and the people are urged to stay away or get killed, while at times, a hero emerges to slay the monster, like St. George who slays the dragon. This story of St. George and the Dragon dates back to the 7th century and the Eastern Orthodox Church. It was brought back to Western Europe by the Crusaders in the 10th or 11th century. Then, it was written up in Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend in about 1260 and the dragon's lair was set in Libya. Over the next centuries, it gradually it became a part of the Christian tradition.

As the story goes, a town had a small lake with a plague-bearing dragon who was poisoning the countryside. To appease it, the people fed it two sheep every day, and when they ran out of sheep, they began feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. Then, one day the king's daughter was chosen, and the grieving king told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half his kingdom if his daughter was spared. But after the people refused, he sent his daughter to the lake, dressed as a bride to be fed to the dragon. But before the dragon could eat her, Saint George rode by the lake, wounded the dragon, and led it and the princess back to the city, where the dragon terrified everyone. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if the people agreed to be Christians and be baptized, after which 15,000 people and the king converted, and George killed the dragon. In other versions of the story, St. George goes to save the princess from being sacrificed, and after the dragon rushes from its cave, St. George kills the dragon with his sword by piercing it under its wing where there are no scales.

Well, in this case, Trump might be compared to the dragon, and much of America to the people of the town who are terrorized by the dragon. As for the princess St. George goes to save, that might be the spirit of liberty and freedom that might be destroyed if the Trump dragon gobbles her up, because he wants everyone to be loyal to him and do exactly what he wants. If not, he will insult and destroy them, such as by killing the families of suspected terrorists, deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, and arresting anyone who dares to protest.

As the traditional story describes, this dragon poisoned and ravaged the countryside with its venomous breath, roared with a sound louder than thunder, and had an immense head and tail fifty feet long. Plus his very hard scales were hard to penetrate, until St. George found a soft spot under its wing. Fast forward to today, and the dragon's venomous breath might be compared to Trump's poisonous insulting words, while its loud roars might be compared to Trump's use of the bully pulpit at his raucous rallies, his TV appearances, and regular tweets. And the dragon's immense head and tail might be compared to Trump's hair and ummm...well, his recent claims about that in response to Rubio's taunts. Finally, the dragon's scales might be compared to Trump's ability to fend off any criticisms or attacks on himself with damaging attacks on his opponents.

In the story, St. George is able to find a vulnerable spot. So what about today? Well, it's not clear what that spot is or who will find it. But as they say, the pen is mightier than the sword. So maybe all the recent stories about Trump's bankruptcies, the Trump University lawsuits, his hiring workers from Poland and China, his many misstatements and lies, or other investigative pieces may be what brings Trump down. Or maybe Trump will start to open up himself to criticism himself, such as when he shows off Trump Steaks and Wine, like he is making a commercial for his product line, rather than running for President and finding ways to help the people. And so the world awaits a modern day St. George who might bring down the dangerous dragon.

Gini Graham Scott, PhD, writes frequently about social trends and everyday life. She is the author of over 50 books with major publishers and has published 30 books through her company Changemakers Publishing and Writing. She writes books and proposals for clients and has written and produced over 50 short videos through Changemakers Productions and is a partner in a service that connects writers to publishers, agents, and the film industry. Her latest books are Scammed, Lies and Liars: How and Why Sociopaths Lie and How to Detect and Deal With Them, and The New Middle Ages: How the Growing Inequalities Between Rich and Poor Threaten Our Way of Life.