If the Greek word in the title eluded you, it is transliterated as ‘Diabolos.’ You might recognise it in Spanish as “el Diablo” or “the devil” in English. Those terms might seem a bit trite to some or very appropriate to others, but I want to examine the Greek word for its significance in our lives today. Diaboblos comes from the verb Διαβάλλω, which literally means “to throw apart” or “to divide.” In both the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Bible, the terms diabolos and satan do not refer to some evil entity who goes about doing harm. Rather, in each testament and language, the ‘devil’ or ‘satan’ is simply the one who accuses, slanders, drops a misleading word; but leaves it to gullible humanity to carry out the disastrous results: war, prejudice, persecution, violence towards those different from ourselves, etc. In today’s parlance, we are talking about the business of false news, fabricated conspiracy theories, hysteria over stolen elections, liberals “eating babies” and more. All of these things are literally “diabolical” because they divide nations, societies, families, workplaces, schools, etc.
In my 70+ years I cannot think of another leader in the Western World who has so divided the United States and NATO more than Donald Trump–and now his host of minions: Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and other empty talking heads. Stalin, Krushchev, Mao Zedung and others never came close to fracturing the USA or the NATO alliance. Yet there is hardly anyone I know in the US whose life has not been affected by the fallout from Trump and his minions. People have simply stopped speaking to one another over Trumpism. Personally, I lost two long-term friends who were always more conservative than I, because I dared question their loyalty to a narcissist who not only used racist, sexist and xenophobic language, but made it seemingly okay for like-minded individuals to do the same. Sadly, my former friends were like-minded.
However, the divisiveness doesn’t end with friends and families–it divides people from their very own minds and souls. How so? One of the two men I mentioned above was also an ordained Christian minister, and very well educated. The last time we communicated, he said to me that “there is not now, nor has there ever been, institutional racism in the USA.” I couldn’t believe my ears, so off the top of my head I mentioned the “Three-fifths compromise” which is part of Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the US Constitution. It held that for purposes of taxes and electoral votes, only three in every five black slaves would count towards a state’s population. It’s been in the Constitution since 1787. Then I mentioned the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment (abolishing chattel slavery)–can you get more “institutional” than these examples? This is what I mean by the diabolical nature of Trump & co. People are divided from their “better angels,” from the facts they know to be true about American history and the Constitution; they are divided from what–at some level–they know to be good, right and true. Why? Because they are divided souls. They are divided from the common humanity shared by every human being on the planet. And these internal divisions keep multiplying–and we witness their effects in the news every day.
For the record, I do not believe in a horned devil carrying off people with a pitchfork. But do I believe in the power of the diabolic?–absolutely! We are confronted by its choices every single day of our lives.
5 thoughts on “Trump and Minions as Διάβολοσ”
Dead on !
Yes. However, as long as humans separate themselves from ‘The One’, there will be divisiveness as this is the natural result of being a part of ‘The ten thousand things’. If we live in the realm of ‘The ten thousand things’ we must embrace both the yin and yang, both the light and the dark as equal parts of us. Donald Trumpness lives within each of us to the same extent that Jesus or Buddha does. Recognizing and embracing this is the only way to make a clear decision about how one will lead their life. This knowledge becomes the basis for our daily choice of direction.
And the diabolical is always a choice facing each of us—not just Trumpkins.
Very many thanks, Jack, for your explanation of the origin of the word diabolical and its associations with the devil. It all makes sense
Jack, did you see this? https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/05/us/jimmy-carter-evangelicals-blake-cec/index.html
What a contrast between a good man who was considered an ineffective President, yet will be remembered for his good deeds, and a devil of a man who effectively led as an evil President and will be remembered for his acts of unkindness.