The Same Kingdom

This piece by Erica Brown (gift article) about the hubris of our leadership in this country contains a surprising amount of biblical commentary for something from The Atlantic, but I’ll take it.

The Bible wants us to know that power changes people, that they come to enjoy the weight and clout of office and its many material and emotional benefits. Proverbs, in only one verse, captures the pleasure of power: The king’s smile means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.”

The model we need now is Cincinnatus, but what we have is far from that. It’s ironic that I’m getting emails from the Biden campaign calling for me to reject someone who wants to be a king. Meanwhile, the sitting president is acting much like a king who doesn’t want to give up power. The hubris that Brown writes about is indeed of biblical proportions, but we all recognize its patterns in other stories we’ve heard about kings throughout our lives. They characteristically cling to power and are supported by those around them, regardless of their capability or fitness for the position they hold.

Remember the Romanovs concealing the hemophilia that plagued Tsarevich Alexei. Think about the supplicants of Kim Jong-un bringing a toilet with them when he travelled so no one could uncover the supreme leader’s health issues from his waste matter.

These supplicants — wholly invested in the leader’s success — accuse their opponents of lies, while they obfuscate and cover up. Some of us based part of our voting calculus on the false promises that the president made just a few years ago about being a bridge candidate who was going to handover the reigns to a new generation. The scrutiny that comes with being fooled once perhaps makes it easier to spot when the truth is being hidden again.

Our president claims only God can take away his right to rule, and perhaps it may even come to that.1


  1. On Friday, President Biden claimed he would only step aside, if the Lord Almighty came down” and told him to.↩︎

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