There is a children’s story about a town that had a plague of rats. There were so many rats that it was unbearable. A man came to the town – Hamelin, located in Germany, dressed in brightly colored clothing. He listened to the people who were, of course, distressed about the rats and he offered to get rid of them if they would pay him. They agreed and he took out a musical instrument and began to play and the rats followed. He led them to a body of water and they all jumped in and died. The Pied Piper of Hamelin did what he said he would do …and the people were overjoyed …but they reneged on their promise to pay him. He left the town, angry.
But he returned a short time later, dressed differently, and began to play his musical instrument again. This time, there were no rats, but his music enticed the children to come. About 130 children followed him, laughing, skipping, singing …and none of them were ever seen again. Two children were spared, one, because he was deaf and could ot hear the music and another because he had left the group to go back to his town to get his coat and just couldn’t catch the group.
I thought about that story as I have reviewed the growing following of Donald Trump. The rats are the economy, the immigrants, the establishment …and the people who have for too long felt marginalized and ignored are feeling the power of this man Trump who has come into a mythical Hamelin to get rid of the vermin. They want their lives back. They want to stop worrying and fretting and they want to be heard. Donald Trump has come wearing a cloak made of golden threads that the people see as threads of hope for them. He says he will fix everything, and all of the people will be better off. He needs no help from anyone; like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Trump has his pipe, or flute, from which comes music smacking of sexism and racism and homophobia and Islamophobia, and the people are elated. The “vermin” of American society, at least in their eyes, will be driven out by the Piper Trump. They promise him their votes as he rids them of the vermin which are stealing their capacity to live the American Dream. He will get rid of the Mexicans, the Muslims, he will put the Black Lives Matter folks in their place, and make sure there are no ridiculous background checks, which he says is a violation of the Second Amendment. He is going to get rid of health care for all Americans, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, he is going to bomb ISIS out of existence, he is going to build a wall between Mexico and the United States and make Mexico pay for it.
The people are elated! The vermin will be gone. America will be great again!
The people will pay up, at least the first installment. If they don’t vote in the primaries, he will humiliate them and call them traitors and stupid or worse …They will vote. His opponents will continue to tiptoe around him for a while longer …but even when they get more bold and go after him as he has gone after almost everyone, the people of Hamelin (aka America) will support him, because they want their country to be great again and it just cannot be great with all these …outsiders …and changes going on. They will pay up…but they’re going to make him mad, or if he is elected president, the Congress will make him mad, or maybe the Supreme Court, or maybe Russia or maybe North Korea or maybe Syria or maybe even Israel …and then, watch out.
The Pied Piper will seek vengeance. The question is …who will he lead into oblivion as he lives out his tantrum?
America, America, can’t you see it? We have our own Pied Piper.
A candid observation …