Ringwraith Sightings

At Rivendell, Gandalf the Grey explains to a frightened Frodo:

“There are many powers in the world, for good or for evil.  Some are greater than I am.  Against some I have not yet been measured.  But my time is coming.  The Morgul-Lord and his Black Riders have come forth.  War is preparing!”

“Then you knew of the Riders already– before I met them?”

“Yes, I knew of them.  Indeed I spoke of them once to you; for the Black Riders are the Ringwraiths, the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings.”


Out here in the Shire, we’ve been hearing hoof-beats for a while.  The Secretary of State galloped out into the world with the warning that the US has placed too much emphasis on morality, human rights and other values, and too little on wealth and power.  To him, our dealings with the rest of humanity should be more transactional, like running a business, and that sends a chill to the oppressed masses who have long counted on the US for support.  Not that things are much better in our own secure homeland, where we have seen immigrant families hiding in a ditch while the tall Rider on his black horse stops in the lane, sniffing the air for his prey.  The Secretary of the Interior (who rode a horse to work on his first day on the job- honest!), is now heading out West, under the instructions of his dark Lord, to find protected national monuments that the Administration can un-protect, opening them up for gas and oil exploration.  Meanwhile, back in Mordor, the head of the EPA has ridden out with orders to dismantle environmental protections and programs that fight climate change.  The Secretary of the Treasury charges down Wall Street, hacking away at consumer protections.  The Speaker of the House, from his high saddle, oversaw the passage of a bill removing guarantees of coverage for pre-existing conditions, takes people off Medicaid, and which will eventually deprive 24 million people of health care altogether.  And yesterday, following the suspiciously-timed firing of the Director of the FBI, the Senate Majority Leader swore to obstruct the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Trump-Russian connections.  During the previous Administration, although not at the level of Ringwraith, he showed himself to be a ferocious orc indeed!

According to Gandalf,

“Not all his servants and chattels are wraiths!  There are orcs and trolls, there are wargs and werewolves; and there have been and still are many Men, warriors and kings, that walk alive under the Sun and yet are under his sway.”

Their works seem to be always destructive, negative, taking away all sorts of protections and quality of life, rather than building anything positive for the nation.  No, Sauron, the Great Wall of Mexico does not improve infrastructure; and no, hiring 1500 more ICE agents does not count as job creation; and also no, throwing more people in prison is not a strategy for fighting homelessness.

But let’s not take the Ring analogy too far.  Mordor is nothing like Washington DC or the Shire.  For instance, Sauron- even with only one Eye- sees reality more clearly than our Chaos President, and does not rely on a swirling fog of lies and deflections to get his way.  Our president’s Nazgul, or Ringwraiths, wear business suits instead of long black robes (well, there is the Supreme Court…)

And one more big difference:  here in the Shire, we get to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.  To paraphrase Gandalf:  Against some we have not yet been measured.  But our time is coming!







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