Set him free

By David Grima | Oct 15, 2020

Despite this Monday having been a holiday, I saw little or no written mention of its name this year.

Last year, we in Maine changed the holiday’s name from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, yet I don’t remember seeing either in print in the year 2020.

This suggests, kind of, that while we generally agreed to stop calling it after Mr. Columbus, we have not really embraced the idea of indigenous people. Probably because it is such an ugly-sounding phrase, far too cold and academic to feel comfortable with.

Just to toot my own horn a little, although probably to no effect, I did suggest last year that a better, alternative name for the holiday would be Native Americans Day, which contains three words we are all happy with, and 12 months later I am of the same opinion.

* * * * *

The Famous Dagney Ernest posted a photo on Facebook the other day, showing a spoof campaign sign in the Blessed South End of Rockland: it says “Giant Meteor in 2020.”

We could all be so lucky, I hear you mutter. A clean sweep of our hate-filled and over-poxed planet, and perhaps a fresh start with the remnant? Of course, that’s exactly what the Apocalypticals are looking forward to, which actually puzzles me quite a lot.

For if there is one item of the famous New Testament apocalypse that is at least dimly understood by all kinds of people, it is the character of the Antichrist and the warning that, if it were possible, this person will deceive even true believers into following his disastrous lead.

After all, with as much love and affection as I can muster for poor Lord Prez Trumpleton, my deeply troubled comrade in arms, surely he is the very person in the USA who most resembles the Biblical archfiend?

Just why the apocalyptic multitudes have rushed so willingly into his arms, ignoring the Good Book’s clear warning that appears in the equivalent of 50-foot high red letters that glow in the dark, is one of many modern mysteries yet to be solved.

Unfortunately, fiendology is a subject that has not yet attracted its fair share of proper scientific study. As a result, most people are of the common but mistaken impression that archfiends arrive at their appointed station in life by deliberate effort and with the conscious consent of the people. Rather like archbishops and archdeacons, I suppose. Please don’t ask me about archangels, as I have very little to go on.

The truth seems to be, however, that most archfiends achieve their preeminent positions as Chief of All Evil by some baffling combination of good/bad luck, accident, coincidence, immoderate but unsophisticated ambition, and almost blind opportunism; and that their unwitting ascent to arch-fiendishness also requires a pre-existing external condition, usually caused by decaying political and economic forces that lost their way and caused great disgruntlement among ordinary people.

I don’t write these things lightly. Lord Prez Trumpleton has been a good pal over the years, often visiting me in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street where I am forced to live, and occasionally showing up at St. Bildad’s-By-The-Sea next to the library on Sunday mornings, for coffee and pie after the service.

There’s another point. Don’t be put off your guard by all those Christopher Lee-style horror movies, in which Wampires are portrayed as not being able to cross running water, appear in sunlight, cast a reflection in a mirror, or recall which parts of the Bible they have read. These are merely popular literary fictions, not really backed up by facts of any kind. Except, possibly, the last one.

Likewise, it should not shock anybody to be told that an archfiend can show up regularly for church coffee hour. You see, the reason why sipping coffee and nibbling cookies in the shadow of the Holy Cross and similar icons is not always fatal to an Archfiend of the Apocalypse is because Archfiends of the Apocalypse usually don’t realize that’s what they are.

In plenty of conversations with poor Trumpleton these past four years, it has been quite plain to me that the old boy does not see himself as having inherited any kind of archfiendish mantle. Far from it. His genuine personal vision is of being the savior of all humankind, and the actual facts of his condition don’t even begin to figure into his thinking at this point in the Great Game.

Although I have been his most loyal friend for a very long time (probably because every six months I respectfully declined his offer of high office in his administration – a certain path towards ruin) even I am beginning to wonder if the kindest thing we can now do for him, and for all humankind incidentally, would be to gently and peacefully help him retire back into the Dark Shadows of his private life.

I have good reason to think he would appreciate it.

Although his instinct for self-preservation forces him to put up a stink about refusing to vacate the presidency despite any potentially annoying election results next month, and although he is continuously predicting the end of civilization happening on the streets of America should the results be “rigged” against him, the truth is he would be very glad to get out of this business altogether.

After all, it’s pretty much been the ruin of his joyless marriage to the long-suffering and angelic Lady Melancholia Trumpleton, and even someone so thick-skinned as he is cannot help feeling a little distressed by continuous public mockery.

So why doesn’t he just give it all up? Why did he even put his name forward for another four hellacious years if the first four were so mentally and spiritually exhausting for him?

The answer is plain as the nose on the face of even the most mediocre Bible student. For as St. Paul famously pointed out, the good things we like to do, we find we cannot do; while the wickedness we don’t want to do is usually what we end up doing.

If all the ideas I share this week are so obvious to someone as simple as myself, why on earth can’t everyone else see the situation so clearly? I admit, my piercing insight into these things baffles even me, sometimes.

So, I implore you, dear friends, if you have a basically good heart and access to a sacred vote this November, please consider helping poor Lord Trumpleton retire from the craziness, and return to some small and quiet place where he can eat his beloved hamburglars by the dozen and spend all day watching TV.

(He thinks his childhood TV friend, Wile E. Coyote, is a Fox, which is why he watches that absurd channel all the time, even though it drives him to the edge of madness; he really just wants to watch Roadrunner cartoons, but can’t figure out how to operate the White House television remote.)

(It’s also why he insisted the special medications he ordered to be sent to Walter Reed hospital, during his recent stay there for his mild plague infection, arrived in crates stamped “Acme Drug Co.”)

This way he can slowly restore his health, try to save his loveless marriage, and seek God’s grace to save his soul.

There is still time.

The Archfiend is always his own first victim. He never wanted to be the Biblical Antichrist, the Archfiend incarnate, but due to some apparently minor flaw in his personality, and due to the extraordinary pre-existing political pressures in America, poor Lord Trumpleton has had Archfiendishness thrust upon him. It has done him, and the rest of us, no good at all.

This November, vote to set him free.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Oct 19, 2020 20:22

The Friday after Thanksgiving has had official national standing as Native American Heritage Day since it was signed into law in 2008.

Posted by: Pamela R Miller | Oct 17, 2020 09:23

Unfortunately the alternatives are far worse.

Posted by: Robin Gabe | Oct 15, 2020 13:13

Already did, Dave!

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