King Uzziah (783-742 BC) reigned in the ancient kingdom of Judah, which had split from the kingdom of Israel. Unfortunately, his disregard for established norms and traditions of governance prevailed, leading him to usurp the established authority of the priesthood, whose sole prerogative was to burn incense to God in the temple.
Uzziah took it upon himself to sabotage this sacred and inalienable duty by entering the temple and burning incense to God himself. His brazen and unorthodox conduct was glaring on the face of it, as he upended official structures and institutions, threatening the balance of power within the Kingdom. Obviously, the God of Israel was not amused by this reckless buffoonery and was unwilling to give it a pass, and so He struck Uzziah with leprosy. Indeed, the popular king is now doomed to a life of national shame, and relegated to permanent pariah status, becoming both pariah and synonym.
The questions could be asked: why would a benevolent God inflict such a horrible and abominable fate on a king who, by all accounts, was a successful ruler? Why couldn’t a forgiving God overlook his schemes? Finally, what lessons can we draw today from this human drama?
The rogue actions of Uzziah not only corrupted and challenged the legitimate role of the priesthood, whose core functions impacted and shaped existential issues in personal and national life; by misbehaving, he publicly mocked and denigrated priestly and royal institutions. Therefore, he laid the groundwork for the chaos and anarchy that followed. He also set a very dangerous precedent by erasing the hitherto immutable lines of royal and priestly demarcations.
Uzziah’s reckless and selfish conduct could have precipitated a descent into widespread societal upheaval and chaos, backed and buttressed by blatant lawlessness. Essentially, the rebellion was encouraged by the highest office in the land. At the same time, Uzziah could have provoked an open general revolt of the population who were fully aware of his treachery and wickedness.
Indeed, people would have felt disrespected and harshly affected, as Uzziah was not authorized or qualified to mediate on their behalf in matters relating to the Divine. Left unchecked, the nation could have descended into a searing conflagration that could have resulted in self-annihilation. Uzziah overturned the established, age-old balance of the nation’s power structure. One can only assume that he was driven by a sense of entitlement, deep-seated pride and megalomania.
Anyone with a shrewd mind and an alert, attentive mind cannot fail to draw striking parallels between King Ozias and Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States of America and then de facto leader of the free world. . Trump is still engaged in his ugly and highly toxic “fast-slow-fast” dance of death against established fundamental democratic principles, institutions and values. Despite his humiliating and emphatic loss for re-election, he continues to trample democracy and smear the hard-won gains of the near-universal form of governance.
Trumpism’s madness has the potential to deprive countless hundreds of millions around the world of the irreplaceable and invaluable benefits that come from a functioning democracy. The effects of Trump’s nihilism continue to be dissected and cataloged, earning him countless anti-democratic epithets, which capture his destructive “tour de force” instincts and predilections. The sacred, unique, and global role of the United States as a beacon and champion of democracy cannot be denied. Indeed, just as the planets revolve around the sun as the source of life, the nations of the free world look to the United States as a representation of the centrifugal force of global democracy.
The problem is, if hard-won democratic gains drenched in the blood and sacrifice of world heroes and multitudes of unheralded champions of democracy fall into the hands of undemocratic forces in the United States, how quickly will the deadly infection spread it and how devastating will it be? fallout comes from global contagion.
Trump’s campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in the 2016 election gave rise to the “Never Trump” movement, which called for his rejection. Never have the Trumpers included party leaders and stalwarts, who are now imbued with mega doses of ‘Trumpism’ and coalesced into a colony of helpless enablers. Their primary mission seems to be to aid and abet feverish industry, Trump’s assault on the bulwarks of democracy, as they lower the drawbridge with reckless disdain. In order to quench their unquenchable thirst for corrupt political power, they made a Faustian pact to embrace crime and Trump’s contempt for the rule of law. Every flagrant transgression of their flag bearer is acquiesced and greeted with sentiment – hi comrade well met!
This leads me to believe that as Trump stares at his reflection in the mirror, he’s totally convinced he’s a paragon of perfection on every level, imagining himself second only to Narcissus of Greek mythology fame, renowned for her striking beauty and morbid self-obsession.
Unfortunately, for law-abiding defenders of global democracy, Trump does not see himself as a grotesque caricature after the Order of King Uzziah.