Monthly Archives: February 2016

Trump and the Gordion Knot

Shakespeare in Henry V said this about the King:

“Turn him to any cause of policy,

The Gordian knot of it he will unloose

Familiar as his garter;”


The Gordion knot is an ancient legend and is mainly associated with Alexander the Great. A rope attached to an ox-cart became so hopelessly entangled that Alexander, in accepting the challenge to unravel the knot, instead cut through it, and with more exposed ends, was able to unravel it.

The-Gordian-Knot alexander Alexander the great

In time the Gordion knot came to represent those kinds of problems in which typical approaches failed to come up with solutions and hence something different had to be attempted. Now enter the political landscape of the last decade or so and I would think most would agree that a kind of “Gordion knot” has emerged in our political bodies.

From Congressional approval levels by the public as low as the teens, to continual charges of being a “do-nothing” Body, adding in the amazing ability of solving zero problems with the main strategy being “wait till later”, juxtaposed with a rhetorical skill in trying to convince the public that a kind of progress is being secured, there is no doubt a solid and extended disconnect between the public and Congress!

The Congress is indeed a dead body! The President deserves his share of the blame for this state of affairs as he is one of the main contributors, though we can’t forget that Congress really has shown very little courage to act, with the result that both together have become a dysfunctional pair reinforcing each other’s weaknesses!

What to do? One of my scenarios is one in which Congress forgets the dry, tedious decorum of the daily proceedings and have a “clear the air” moment. Much like the Israeli Knesset, where many insults have left the lips of those politicians against each other, even accusations of Nazi sympathies have been leveled!

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 18: (ISRAEL OUT ) In this handout provided by the GPO, French President Francois Hollande attends a meeting of the Knesset on November 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Francois Hollande is on a three day official visit to Israel and the West Bank. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images)

While our Congress may not need to go that far, a fusillade of verbal insults at some level would not be too out of order, and may do some good—emotion has its place at times. The point is this: “Get some life!”

But Congress won’t do any of that! It will be business as usual, boring and humdrum, plodding along at a snail’s pace, acting like distance is being covered but merely walking in place! The Gordion knot needs to be cut!

Now enter Donald Trump! Takes on the press and controls them like puppets. Politically incorrect and sometimes irreverent. No respecter of persons, insults white, black, hispanic, male, female, whoever! Emphatic and vocal about the failures of our leaders! Bold, audacious plans but which seem obvious! Confident in his ability to work with any leader of the world! No problem unsolvable! Narcissistic? Maybe. Confident? He says so! Believable? If millions of positive opinions means anything, then yes! Has he changed the whole structure of politics? Completely! Could he be President? Pretty good chance!

So here we are, at a point where our political body has become a Gordion knot of lethargic ineffectiveness . What will it take to cut it? Well, in this time and place, if there is a possibility of a kind of restart to our government, Donald Trump may be the one! Since he defies all political convention, his persona of a total outsider sets up well for this task! He would sure make things exciting and one never knows—real, actual progress could be made! Sometimes in human actions, inertia makes it near impossible to change course—but then something unexpected occurs and a systemic effect ripples through and something new emerges. In this political season, that ripple is the “Trump Factor”!