All Great Men

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Names and faces

“Great men are almost always bad men.” Quote: John Dalbergd-Acton, a historian, been dead a hundred years now. His definition had nothing to do with morality, wisdom, or great accomplishments. He was thinking of ‘great’ in terms of size, and power, fame and wealth. Who are the ‘great’ men we remember without effort to recall? My memory is not so good as it never was – always iffy. Not so good at faces either, may or may not recognize a neighbor in a crowd. What famous faces do we all remember? Hitler – easy with that funny mustache. Stalin, Lincoln, Washington, and Jackson . . . maybe. Helps to have your face on money. Faces I see every day . . . almost, Obama . . . Hillary.


Who’s face do I see the most these days? Without a question, Donald Trump. The man’s a genius, and a temporary (who knows?) ‘great’ man who has captured our mass media attention. We recognize the famous face seen every day, and night, on TV news, on Face book, magazines. That hair, as good as Hitler’s mustache ─ trademark, brand, he’s called it. If tomorrow were election day and you asked the people what Republican they thought might win. What names would be remembered? I don’t know, except for one, who wishes he could expedite the next election.


It’s the Brer Fox ploy if you remember that old tale, the rabbit pleading, “Only please, Brer Fox, please don’t throw me in that brier patch.”
Don’t hurt me. Please don’t make fun of me. Please don’t ridicule my hair – especially on TV. He made the cover of New Yorker. A cartoon, of course. We can’t escape the face gone viral. We are told it just about to wind down, just like Ross Perot, a much more modest man. The pundits probably have it right . . . I think. Let’s hope he’s not just winding up.


I watched his Alabama thing last night, when it was 3 A.M. in Sweden. Well worth staying up for. Things you notice: He does not sound like a politician, it’s like listening to the guy that lives across the street. No more or less intelligent. Such simple words and plans that anyone can understand without a second thought. It might be better not to have that second thought.


He spoke of Anchor Babies, wants to build a wall, a better, stronger army. Favorite book – the Bible. “I am not a nice person,” he told better than 10,000 people at his rally, which was on the TV news, seems like almost an hour. Who gets that kind of coverage? Pundits pro and con made comments after, wrangling over Anchor Babies, and political correctness. One said she had never heard the term before. This is the kind of rhetoric were all familiar with.


I think about the ways ‘great’ men have come to power in the past. Remember Hitler’s early speeches, how he planned to rebuild Germany, create a stronger army.


We live in interesting times.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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20 Responses to All Great Men

  1. authorjim says:

    Good post, Bruce. Some good things to think about. It is refreshing to hear someone exercise his right of free speech without watering it down with political correctness. I get the impression that most people like to hear that kind of talk but, yet, are a little bit frightened by the boldness. Personally, I am so tired of politicians with their compromising attitudes that I am ready for some bold leadership. That is the only thing that is going to turn this country (and the world) around and get it off the slippery slope we are on now.

  2. ShimonZ says:

    Hi there, Bruce. I don’t know. Don’t watch much TV… almost none… and am not that concerned with US politics, except for when it influences our own welfare in our country. I have seen some great men in history who weren’t politicians, and who managed to change history all the same. Edison, Bill Gates, and Aldous Huxley are examples. Salk and Louis Pasteur are too. I respect you and feel an affinity with you, but I consider the comparison of Trump to Hitler extremely vulgar. Maybe you don’t know all that much about Hitler… I haven’t taken offense. It’s nothing personal. But maybe you ought to reconsider. And if you do have any evidence that this fellow Trump is a murderous maniac, please publish it. I would find it interesting.

    • Exerpts from this months New Yorker:

      When the Trump storm broke this summer, it touched off smaller tempests that stirred up American politics in ways that were easy to miss from afar. At the time, I happened to be reporting on extremist white-rights groups, and observed at first hand their reactions to his candidacy. Trump was advancing a dire portrait of immigration that partly overlapped with their own. On June 28th, twelve days after Trump’s announcement, the Daily Stormer, America’s most popular neo-Nazi news site, endorsed him for President: “Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: it’s time to deport these people.” The Daily Stormer urged white men to “vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests.”

      Trump’s signature lines—“The American dream is dead” and “We don’t have victories anymore”—constitute a bitter mantra in tune with a moment when the share of Americans who tell Gallup pollsters that there is “plenty of opportunity” has dropped to an unprecedented fifty-two per cent; when trust in government has reached its lowest level on record, and Americans’ approval of both major parties has sunk, for the first time, below forty per cent. Matthew Heimbach, who is twenty-four, and a prominent white-nationalist activist in Cincinnati, told me that Trump has energized disaffected young men like him. “He is bringing people back out of their slumber,” he said.

  3. When they’re super wealthy and try to ingratiate themselves into the lives of the great unwashed I get a little nervous. I have nothing against him for being rich, hasn’t helped his hairstyle any, just the feeling that he’s something of a snake oil salesman.

    • Laurie, I agree.
      Hard to figure out what he is really up to.

    • Trump has succeeded in unleashing an old gene in American politics—the crude tribalism that Richard Hofstadter named “the paranoid style”—and, over the summer, it replicated like a runaway mutation. Whenever Americans have confronted the reshuffling of status and influence—the Great Migration, the end of Jim Crow, the end of a white majority—we succumb to the anti-democratic politics of absolutism, of a “conflict between absolute good and absolute evil,” in which, Hofstadter wrote, “the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Nothing but complete victory will do.” Trump was born to the part. “I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win,” he wrote, in “The Art of the Deal.” “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.” Trump, who long ago mastered the behavioral nudges that could herd the public into his casinos and onto his golf courses, looked so playful when he gave out Lindsey Graham’s cell-phone number that it was easy to miss just how malicious a gesture it truly was. It expressed the knowledge that, with a single utterance, he could subject an enemy to that most savage weapon of all: us.

      • This is quite an interesting, in-depth look at the subject Bruce. I see now why you’ve moved to Sweden. I’ve always taken a passing interest in US politics, America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. From what I’ve seen there isn’t much of a choice for a candidate. Not a statesman among them. Who was the best president in your lifetime?

      • Good question Laurie. I would say Kennedy, but who knows how things would have worked out had he lived.
        Truman, maybe.
        I moved to Sweden because my wife is Swedish, and has family here. We made a bargain when we married. We would live in U.S. until we retired (15 years) then the rest of our lives in Sweden where her family will watch out for us in our declining years.
        Yes, when U.S. sneezes, but now seem like when China sneezes.
        Where does all the money go? Greece, Italy, China . . . I keep trying to sort that out.

      • I thought Kennedy too but obviously those who wield the real power didn’t think so. That sounds like a good arrangement Bruce, hope they look after you. Yes China seems to be the money power now, strange for a communist country that abhors capitalism. I’d like to know where the money goes too. Who, where, how, just who owns it?

      • Kennedy wanted to get rid of the Reserve. I think that’s what got him killed.
        Of course we all have our theories
        I just learned, last month, that the Fed is not part of the government.
        Federal is just a name they thought of. Worked on me.

        Not looking so good for China’s economy these last few days.
        What next?

      • Money rules politics Bruce. I remember reading somewhere about the Federal Reserve, it’s a privately owned bank, certainly says a lot about who’s running the country.
        China’s in a bit of a tizzy isn’t it. I think the refugee crisis happening in Europe is going to cause quite a stir.

      • The crisis has already caused a stir here, but Swedes don’t talk about it for fear of being labeled, ‘politically incorrect’ or worse yet, ‘racist’ – the kiss of death here.
        The elephant in the room.

  4. “Plans that anyone can understand without a second thought.” Not having the second thought is what scares me. He’s like Ross Perot in his simpleton approach to “fixing it.” He must have missed his high school government class and doesn’t understand that our government does not work like a business. Congress must agree to things like amending the constitution, forcing Mexico to pay for a wall, taking oil from ISIS in a “little war.” CEOs can make bold decisions and get things done. Presidents have to work with Congress. Trump would have us believe that we should be the dictators of the world, taking over oil and countries (like our big Iraq success.)
    I’ll stop raving for now.

    • I totally agree, and worry he could come up to bat when things are looking bad for the U.S. economy.
      Even now some people are beginning to thing he’s a good idea. Hard to believe this is happening.
      It’s so crazy!

      • Keep working on the Swedish language and get that drivers’ license. You may be better off staying right where you are if we keep up this dumbing down.

    • Excerpt from this months New Yorker:
      When Trump leaped to the head of the Republican field, he delivered the appearance of legitimacy to a moral vision once confined to the fevered fringe, elevating fantasies from the message boards and campgrounds to the center stage of American life. In doing so, he pulled America into a current that is coursing through other Western democracies—Britain, France, Spain, Greece, Scandinavia—where xenophobic, nationalist parties have emerged since the 2008 economic crisis to besiege middle-ground politicians. In country after country, voters beset by inequality and scarcity have reached past the sober promises of the center-left and the center-right to the specter of a transcendent solution, no matter how cruel. “The more complicated the problem, the simpler the demands become,” Samuel Popkin, a political scientist at the University of California in San Diego, told me. “When people get frustrated and irritated, they want to cut the Gordian knot.”

  5. archecotech says:

    Bruce, Honestly think he’s nothing more than a stick man for the Democrats.

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