Trump Should Learn from Marshal Ney

Michel Ney, the “bravest of the brave”

W.J. Astore

Treating rivals as enemies has been an identifying characteristic of the Trump administration. Trump has been at pains to denounce Democrats collectively as enemies. He’s denounced with relish the American press (like CNN) as enemies of the people. He knows such incendiary rhetoric inflames his base. He knows it divides Americans, which has made it easier for Trump to rule.

When you denounce your political rivals and the press as not just your personal enemies but enemies of the people, you’re setting the stage for violent actions. Trump’s stage-setting reached its logical culmination with the riots at the U.S. Capitol. Some of the rioters acted like an invading army, planting their own flag, attacking the police, occupying “enemy” offices, even looting. A few apparently contemplated political assassinations of their “enemies.” Having swallowed Trump’s lies, they apparently believed they were the patriots even as their activities amounted to a violent attack on Congress as it attempted to do its job in certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

Trump and his followers failed in their cosplay coup. Some of the rioters are being tracked down and arrested. Trump himself has already been impeached by Congress for inciting the riot. What should Trump now do?

It comes down to this: Trump instigated and incited a rebellion against Congress and violated the Constitution. His rebellion failed. Is it not time for him to pay a price?

I have a suggestion from history for Trump, a man who is much impressed by his own bravery. (Recall when he claimed he’d rush in without a weapon to take on the armed shooter at Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida.) Mister Trump, learn from Michel Ney, the “bravest of the brave,” the famous Napoleonic marshal who, when he was sent to arrest Napoleon after his return from exile, joined him instead — and paid the ultimate price.

Napoleon and Ney, of course, had their Waterloo. Napoleon was sent yet again into exile, this time much further away from continental Europe, never to return. How did Ney pay for his treachery — his rebellion? He commanded his own firing squad.

When you turn against your government, and when your rebellion fails, you should be prepared to pay for it. Ney knew this. And he met his death with courage.

I have it on the very best authority — Trump’s own words! — that he’s a brave man. With typical hyperbole, he’d probably add he’s the bravest of the brave. In that spirit, then, I urge him to follow Michel Ney. Man up. Give the order that Ney gave unblindfolded:

Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you … Soldiers, fire!

I know: Trump commanding his own firing squad? Unlikely indeed! Much more likely is Trump fighting to the last dying gasp — of Rudy Giuliani. And then not paying his estate for services rendered.

22 thoughts on “Trump Should Learn from Marshal Ney

  1. No problem here “drawing a bead” literally, figuratively, or even symbolically on Michel Ney there with that Decoration/Emblem over his heart & by extension draw attention to Trump and what he’ll have to deal with right quick after his departure from 1600…!

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  2. Well no falling on his sword for the Trumpet. He is more like Custer, except unlike Custer The Trumpet leaves the battlefield. >> Sorry boys got to go Golfing, have a nice day.

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  3. Thanks for this tidbit from history I’d not been aware of. And the timing of bringing up Trump’s utterly ludicrous boast about how HE would personally deal with armed assailants is perfect. For that boast was precisely what triggered the search thru media archives that led to the quote I recalled the other day. To wit, that Trump was quoted as saying he’d practically faint at the sight of blood!! But that was years before he had the brainstorm (?) that he should enter the political arena.

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  4. Yeah, right-t-t-t-t. Ha. Trump would be Marshall Nay Nay Nay.

    Just like he led “his “”forces”” ” to the capitol. “Go wild,” he said and then left in his limo to get wild back in the White House(?) twittering away, wildly.

    At least some of his “followers” caught on, later. Too bad that doesn’t mean the end of them. They’ve been working up to this for decades now, gaining sub-critical mass during Trump time. Trump was just a convenient front man.

    I’m just wondering how 74-million people, almost half the voters, will meekly stand down. Just listening to their radio stations for even a short time, or looking at their websites is a sickening and sinking feeling. That is their whole reality. They really are in an existential fight against ultimate evil which is determined to wipe them out. As they see it.

    That brings me to a personal story I almost never ever mention except that the concept of reality seems to apply here. I won’t go into the whole bit but having a divorced and remarried mother when I was sent to Catholic school at age 8 in 1955 led me right into Catechism, the evil of divorce, the sins of the parents on the child and the requirement to counsel the sinner led me to an isolation and anger and belief in persecution which lasted years, certainly through graduation. A massive pity party. But I always had a view of this as a stone wall, keeping me from where I should have been, because my mother didn’t follow God as she should have, such was my view. This had been done to me, as I saw it.
    I hadn’t, of course, but what followed is now instructive to me. What little “damage” was done to me as a result of divorce (damage I would not have know about had I not been told it was damage), was far, far exceeded by the damage I created for myself across the years by dwelling on the belief. And extending it.

    What broke it, was a “reading” in the spring of 1980 when I was 32. I had gotten into a lot of alternate systems at that time. But the woman said that I had just gotten rid of a lot of fear. I had no idea what she was talking about but my world was suddenly lighter and any affect of hurt I had was gone. Just flat gone. It was several months before I became aware of how much I had missed in defensive self pity.

    More, I had a big visualization, still vivid, in which I found myself stumbling forward on a mountain in a forest opening having just broken through a great stone wall. I turned to look at the hole in the wall I made, only to find no hole in a wall, no wall at all. There had never been a wall. I had manufactured the wall entirely. Total fabrication. It was a very powerful metaphor my brain fed me in that moment to let me know what “I” had done.

    These 74-million also have a stone wall and they still believe in it. A “wall” (my old visualization, maybe not theirs) that they believe is oppressing them. Someone else did this to them, they believe. They don’t see they are doing this to themselves.

    So, I suspect, they won’t stop. And, I worry, how close does that make us to Iraq? Those are a lot of people itching to use their toys (weapons) and convinced they are under attack from the rest of us.

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    1. Has it really come to this in USA? CNN reports that FBI feels they need to “vet” (at least some of, I guess) the National Guard troops assigned to secure Biden’s inauguration. Translation: FBI believes there is a real risk some of the personnel on duty might rebel against the US Government (in the person of the incoming Pres. and VP) by means of bullets. This is one hell of a sad state of affairs.

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      1. Just jogged my own memory for these song lyrics: “And wasn’t it a long way down/Yes and isn’t it a strange way down?” That’s from Leonard Cohen’s “Dress Rehearsal Rag,” recorded by Judy Collins on her 1970 album “In My Life.” Not a political song at all, but I think the lines I quoted are apt for USA today.

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    2. What a powerful story, Mike! And how fortunate for you that you were able to break through your “wall.” It sounds as if you were the instrument of your own enlightenment, which is a rare occurrence, indeed. I counted myself lucky when a friend demolished my mental wall, but you had truly extraordinary strength!

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  5. If no Trumpian Hara Kiri on January 20th, let’s at least enjoy an appropriate farewell song.
    Remember the Brothers Four and their tale of a horny toad pretending to be a frog and Molly mouse the hat check girl refusing to marry him ‘even if he were the president’ ?
    Wish someone would blast it at his red carpet farewell before he flies off to the eternal golf fields.

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    1. “Trump: The Final Days,” soon to be a major motion picture, I suppose. Reportedly he has a tall stack of sentence commutations and outright pardons in front of him, awaiting signature. Some felons (I assume) apparently have funneled many thousands of dollars under the Oval Office door recently to get the Big Man’s attention. And so we all hold our breaths, awaiting the solution to the conundrum of a comprehensive pardon for The Donald himself.

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      1. The “law and order” president.

        Interestingly, Nixon was all about “law and order” too.

        But not applied to them, since they are above the law. So they think.

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        1. “We’re a Nation of Laws, not of Men” (slightly sexist old-school lingo) has long been one of the major lies told to the American public. By the most masterful of liars!

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          1. BTW, the chatter I heard on CBS News Radio this afternoon re: Trump pardoning himself indicated no one really knows if this would be legal. Up in the air, after all this time. Probably to be decided by SCOTUS. We can only hope Chief Justice Roberts, and maybe Gorsuch, have new disappointments in store for Donny.

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  6. Trump is pitiful because he is so obviously driven by a need that cannot be met. Gilded living quarters, sexy (but aging!) babe for a wife, always looking for more business acquisitions, he is not to be envied (just as other titans of wealth are not to be envied) because he is doomed to eternally strive not for any goal that can be reached, only for more money, more compliments and more power none of which are finite.

    We are now about to see his tragedy, his fate, work its way out as he is shunned and abandoned even as he was quick to shun and abandon anyone who crossed him or even slighted him in the least. Now he is going to be on the receiving end of what he always felt was his alone to dispense.

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    1. We should recall that many of his claims of success in business are exaggerated. Basically, every facet of his life presented to the public at large has been tainted by calumny.

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      1. This fascist/”militia” movement, if we may call it that, goes back decades. Trump came along with the ability and desire to tap into it, and was embraced lovingly, and he helped it grow stronger. So, Trump may be successfully (largely) muzzled in terms of MSM going forward, but the “movement” is not going to go away, no way. To the further detriment of our society and USA’s reputation in the eyes of that part of rest of world that can remain rational. (Don’t forget, there are numerous Trumpian “strongmen” at the helms of other nations now.) I dare say President Biden will be at constant risk of physical harm, and Secret Service better get its act together.

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        1. But now no one even knows how loyal the Secret Service—or any other law enforcement group—may be. Read that the FBI is vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops going into D.C. ahead of the inauguration. I realize that the Secret Service is an elite group, but it only takes one concealed true believer.

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          1. Quite possible Biden’s security advisers will urge him to purge Secret Service (have to resist temptation to refer to them as “the SS”!), after reviewing current personnel. Of course, new recruits would have to be vetted EXTRA carefully! Scanning for “red flag” social media posts–this is where most wingnuts reveal their true colors–for 25,000 troops is a helluva big undertaking! And today’s members of US military are very active on social media. Well, we’ll know in less than 48 hrs. how this all plays out.

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