just keep reciting your blessings
Among the flood of bizarre moments to come out of the Trump White House, yesterday's photo of the first full cabinet meeting, and the story behind it, really stand out.
The subject of the meeting, which could have been "Hosanna to the Chief!", began with a self-congratulatory soliloquy by Trump, followed by expressions of praise by cabinet members, each more fawning than the last.
Most obsequious was White House Chief of Staff Rance Priebus who thanked the president "for the opportunity and blessings that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people."
The word "blessing" flew around the room so shamelessly The Old Man Upstairs must have been cringing.
The scene reminded me of photos of Communist leaders surrounded by sycophants on their feet deliriously clapping and shouting approval.
North Korea's Kim Jong-Un is seldom photographed without a retinue of army hacks wearing flying- saucer-size hats and clapping and smiling, zombie-like, to celebrate the launching of the latest rocket, whether it went straight up or into a pack of hapless cows at a nearby pasture.
|Whatever you do, keep clapping baby.|
When Castro was still alive and guiding the Cuban economy directly into the muck, masses of supporters would gather under the brain-broiling tropical sun of Havana to cheer the Maximum Leader's words which would often gush forth for five or six hours.
But most memorable of all the stories of Communist dictator-worship came from Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who described a huge convention hall full of lackeys who went on and on, on their feet, applauding a speech by Joseph Stalin.
"At last, after eleven minutes of non-stop clapping, the director of a paper factory finally decided enough was enough. He stopped clapping and sat down—a miracle. To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down."
"That same night, the director of the paper factory was arrested and sent to prison for ten years... [D]uring his interrogation, he was told: 'Don't ever be the first one to stop applauding.' "
I wonder if Chief of Staff Priebus—who's been reported to be the next probable victim of White House intrigue and infighting—had the Soviet factory director in mind when he refused to be outdone in his praise of Chairman Trump.