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How the Battles of Trump and Cruz Are Like a Children’s Book

How the Battles of Trump and Cruz Are Like a Children’s Book

Watching the recent Republican Party debates, and especially the knock-down drag out fight between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, makes me think of two kids fighting in a schoolyard. This all happened after the election campaign was already getting ugly, when a Super Pac for Ted put a picture of Melenia Trump, a former model, from a 15 year-old photo shoot looking very sexy with the words: “Meet Your New First Lady.” Then, Trump returned fire with a photos of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, a Harvard MBA and economist, looking like a disheveled drunk on a bender next to a photo of his glamorous wife.

Things got even scummier with an article in the National Enquirer, apparently placed by one of Trump’s operatives, which claimed that Cruz had five secret mistresses. After Cruz quickly claimed the story was garbage, Trump said he had nothing to do with the article. When Trump complained to one newscaster, Anderson Cooper, that: “He started it,” Cooper said this sounded like something a 5 year old would say.”

Meanwhile, the Republican Party and many national leaders around the world were appalled that these personal attacks were not befitting a Presidential candidate, much less a President. And I kept thinking of the continuing battles of Trump and Cruz as much like two little boys in kindergarten fighting. They hurl insults, call each other names, and try to humiliate one another and their family members.

So I turned these battles into a series of illustrated children’s books for adults, The Battles of Donnie and Teddy, and there’s one in full color. My other books on the election feature the fairy tales and myths I previously wrote for Huffington Post: 2016 Election Fairy Tales and 2016 Election Monster Myths.

Following is the first of these battles — in the sandbox. The others are at a birthday party, at the lake, and at the playground.

Donnie was building castles in the sandbox, when Mrs. Marple came over with Teddy, who was carrying a pail with a shovel.
“Donnie,” she said, “Teddy just moved here with his mother and sister, and he would like to join you.”
“No,” Donnie said. “I don’t want him to play here.” He glared at Teddy and Mrs. Marple.
Teddy looked scared, but Mrs. Marple pushed him forward.
“That’s not very nice, Donnie,” Mrs. Marple said. “You have to learn to play with the other children.”
Donnie stood up very tall. He pushed out his chest. “I don’t want to,” he said.
“But you have to do this,” Mrs. Marple said. “Otherwise the other children won’t like you.”
“I don’t care,” Donnie said. “I don’t like them very much either.”
“You have to learn to get along with others,” Mrs. Marple replied. “So I’m going to leave Teddy here with you. You have to learn to play together.”
Mrs. Marple guided Teddy into the sandbox. As she did, Teddy stuck out his tongue at Donnie. “So there,” he said.
Donnie glared back Teddy as hard as he could. But Teddy didn’t flinch. Instead, he sat down in the far corner of the sandbox. He started building a castle, too.
But before he could finish his castle, Donnie stood up and kicked it over. The sand went flying.
“You can’t build another castle here,” Donnie said. “I won’t let you. “
“Who says,” said Teddy. “I’ll tell Mrs. Marple on you, and she’ll come back and help me. She likes me better.”
“So what?” said Donnie. “I’m stronger than you.”
Donnie reached out and punched Teddy. Teddy fell back for a moment. Then, he tried to punch Donnie again, but Donnie punched him back.
“Ha, ha!” Donnie laughed. “You see. You’re not up to it. I’m the only one who can build castles here.”
“No, I can, too,” Teddy yelled. “Besides, if you don’t let me play, I know some things about you, and I’ll tell.”
“Oh, yeah,” Donnie yelled back. “You’re the new kid on the block, and I bet no one likes you either.”
“Well, once they know what you’re really like, no one will like you either.”
“So you think you’re a know it all. But you’re lying. You’re Lying Crying Teddy,” Donnie jeered.
“No, I’m not,” Teddy screamed back. “Because I heard a lot of other kids say this. Your mother’s an alien from another planet, and your sister has cooties.”
“What? That’s not fair,” Donnie said. “You can’t insult my mother and sister.”
“But I can. I can,” Teddy laughed. “Maybe you’re better at throwing punches. But I’m better at insults.”
“Oh, no, you’re not. Because if you’re going to get in the mud, I will, too.”
Donnie grabbed a pile of dirt at the side of the sandbox and threw it at Teddy. It splattered all over his face and dripped down his shirt.
“So, there,” said Donnie. “And you know what? I heard about your own mother and sister, too. Your mother’s like a dog, an ugly stupid mutt. And your sister’s a crazy little runt who was in the pound after her owner threw her in the gutter.”
Teddy got up, holding his shovel like a knife.
“Oh, no you don’t,” he yelled and charged at Donnie.
But Donnie quickly blew himself up to twice his size. He picked up a baseball bat and swung at Teddy.
But Teddy ducked. He picked up a pail of sand and threw it at Donnie.
Donnie stepped back away from the spray of sand and blew himself up even more. He began breathing out flames like a dragon.
Teddy ducked again, but Donnie kicked him and then kicked him again. He began to laugh and point hysterically.
“There! See, I’ve got you. I’m the strongest one of all.” He beat on his chest, like the king of the jungle.
Just then, Mrs. Marple came running out.
“Oh, boys. Boys. You mustn’t fight. That’s against school rules. The principal and all the teachers will be furious.”
Donnie and Teddy backed away from each other and sat down opposite ends of the sandbox. Donnie sat beside what was left of his castle; Teddy sat beside his turned-over pail.
Mrs. Marple continued. “I had hoped you could play together. We all had such high hopes for you. But now that’s over. Since you can’t play nicely together and follow the rules, you are both suspended.”
Donnie and Teddy look up, shocked.
“But you can’t throw me out,” Donnie cried.
“Oh, but I can,” Mrs. Marple said. “Now you both have to go home. You can’t play in the sandbox anymore.”
At once Donnie deflated to his original size, and Teddy began sobbing. Mrs. Marple just glared at them.
Then, they both left the sandbox walking in different directions. There was nothing left to be said.

Is Trump the Modern Day Devil?

Is Trump the Modern Day Devil?

Many religions and cultures have a belief in the devil, viewed as a being who personifies evil and is the most fearsome enemy of God and humankind. This devil or demon is known by many names – the Dybbuk in Jewish mythology; Beelzebub, Lucifer, or Satan for Christians, Iblis or Azazel for Muslims believers in Islam; and Mephistopheles, a demon in German folklore.

Today, for a growing legion of people, Donald Trump has become the modern devil, because of his association with racism, bigotry, xenophobia, inciting violence, lying about almost everything and otherwise having the attributes of someone who is a dangerous threat to humanity.

Among them are the dragon St. George fights, a Chimera, a Cyclops, Medusa, the Kelpie horse monster of Scotland, and the Kraken and Chrybdis, who are monsters of the sea. And most recently, I wrote about Trump being like the many headed monsters, the Hydra and Cerberus. Now all of these myths have been collected into a book: 2016 Election Monster Myths.

Given all of these parallels with other monsters, can one compare Trump to the most evil monster of all — the devil or demon in his many forms. Certainly, it would seem that one can.

First, take the Dybbuk,who is called the Jewish version of a demon and was first written about in the 16th century. The Dybbuk is a malicious spirit who takes possession of the souls of good, honest people and causes them to engage in destructive acts and mayhem. According to this tradition, the Dybbuk is the dislocated soul of a dead person who wreaks havoc on a living person and leaves the body once it has accomplished its goal. In effect, one becomes possessed by this evil spirit, leading one to do terrible things, as in “the devil made me do it.”

As for the devil in the Christian tradition, by whatever name he is called – Beelzebub, Lucifer, or Satan, the devil is sometimes considered one of the seven princes of Hell, according to the Catholic tradition. Commonly, he is believed to fight God over the souls of humans and command a force of evil spirits, commonly known as demons. As Satan, he is often identified as the serpent who convinced Eve to eat the forbidden apple, as described in the Book of Revelations, and he is sometimes called Lucifer who became a fallen angel, when thrown out of heaven, as described in Isaiah. While Beelzebub was once the name of a Philistine god, this name was used in the New Testament as a synonym for Satan.

Finally, Mephistopheles was originally a demon in German folklore. But in the 16th century, this name became associated with the Faust legend, that was based on a real historic figure, Johann Georg Faust, an alchemist, astrologer, and magician of the German Renaissance, who lived from about 1466 to 1541. After he died in an explosion of an alchemical experiment, a popular tale began circulating that the devil came to collect him, since he had engaged in various types of fraud and blasphemy, so the church denounced him as in league with the devil. Then, his name became part of a series of works of Faustian literature based on the story of a scholar who wagers his soul with the devil and loses.

Thus, given this historical backdrop, might Trump be considered the modern day devil — or at least a person who has sold his soul to the devil for fame, power, and glory? It seems a very apt comparison, because in many ways in which Trump has taken the souls of his followers like the Dybbuk. Moreover, he has been battling a great many people and even God, when he criticized the Pope for visiting the border between Mexico and the U.S., and the Pope suggested Trump was not Christian, because of the harshness of his campaign promise to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border. Then, too, the growing hordes of followers at his rallies, especially those who act violently against others or raise their hands in a Nazi-like salute of loyalty, might be compared to the force of evil spirits commanded by the devil. And the efforts of some countries, such as Britain, to ban him, might be compared to the actions of God in throwing Lucifer out of heaven, so he becomes a fallen angel. Finally, Trump might be compared to the serpent tempting Eve in the way he has spent lavishly to show off his luxury homes, hotels, and golf courses, which provide a great temptation for the wealthy. But then, employing the wiles of a serpent, he has used the power of eminent domain to push the poor people living in the way of his expanding domains out of the way, while he has used many poor workers from other countries to build these homes, hotels, and golf courses.

But if Trump is comparable to a modern-day devil, who will take him on? Who will throw him out of heaven for good? Perhaps it’s time for writers, politicians, government officials, and others working towards a better future to find a way to open the door and say, “Get him outta here,” as Trump would say to others.