King Uzziah: The leper king
King Uzziah (783 –742 BC) reigned in the ancient kingdom of Judah which had splintered from the kingdom of Israel.
Unfortunately, his contempt for the settled norms and traditions of governance got the better of him and led him to usurp the established authority of the priesthood, who had the sole prerogative to burn incense to God in the temple.
King Uzziah took it upon himself to sabotage this sacred duty by entering into the temple and burning incense to God himself.
His brazen, unorthodox actions were egregious on their face, as he upended official structures and institutions, thereby, threatening the balance of power within the kingdom.
Obviously, the God of Israel was neither amused nor willing to give him a pass and He struck King Uzziah with leprosy.
In effect, the popular king was from henceforth consigned to a life of national shame and relegated to the status of permanent outcast, becoming at once a pariah and a by-word.
The questions could be asked why a benevolent God would visit such a fate on a king who by all accounts was a successful ruler.
Why could not a forgiving God overlook his aberrant conduct? Finally, what lessons are applicable today from this human tragedy?
King Uzziah’s rogue, unprecedented actions, not only corrupted and challenged the legitimate role of the priesthood, whose pivotal functions determined existential issues of personal and national life, in misbehaving the made public mockery of and denigrated both priestly and kingly institutions, whilst laying down a very dangerous precedent.
His ill-considered conduct could have precipitated a descent into widespread societal chaos and mayhem, propelled by the scourge of lawlessness.
In essence, anarchy was being promoted by the highest office in the land.
Furthermore, King Uzziah could have provoked a general revolt of the populace who were fully cognizant of his villainy.
Indeed, the people would have felt disrespected and hard done by as he was not authorised or qualified to serve as a mediator on their behalf in matters pertaining to the Divine.
Left unchecked the nation could have plunged into a burning conflagration which might have resulted in self-annihilation.
King Uzziah overturned the established and time-honoured balance of power structure.
One can only surmise that he was driven by an uncontrollable need to self-aggrandize undoubtedly compounded by deep seated hubris, sense of entitlement and megalomania.
Anyone blessed with a discerning mind and an attentive spirit can draw similarities between King Uzziah and Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America and de facto leader of the free world.
In his quick-slow-quick march against historical and traditional democratic principles, institutions and values, he is attempting to dismantle and indeed upend the core values they represent and project universally.
His present leadership trajectory can potentially deprive countless hundreds of millions around the world of the invaluable benefits which accrue from a functioning democracy, chief of which underscores the premise that every human being possesses innate and inalienable dignity.
Trump’s nihilism at home and abroad continues to be dissected and catalogued, earning him endless epithets which capture his destructive ‘tour de force’ instincts and predilections.
The global role of the U.S.A as a beacon and up holder of democracy cannot be gainsaid.
Indeed, as the planets orbit the sun as a life source, so to do the nations of the world look to the U.S.A as the representation of the centrifugal force of Democracy.
The issue is that if hard won democratic gains soaked in the blood and sacrifice of heroes such as South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, U.S. Senator John McCain and unheralded multitudes, are cynically subjected to rot and decay in the U.S. how fast will the festering infection spread and how devastating will the fall-out be from the global contagion.
Trump’s campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination in the 2016 election gave rise to the ‘Never Trump movement’ which called for him to be shunned.
Never Trumpers included party chieftains and stalwarts who in very short order were transfused with toxic doses of ‘Trumpism’ and have coalesced into a colony of enablers.
Their primary mission seems to be to aid and abet his onslaught against the ramparts of democracy with fevered industry as they lower the drawbridge with reckless disdain.
As a means of satiating their unquenchable thirst for political power they have made a Faustian pact to embrace Trump’s contempt for the rule of law, which in recent days witnessed him promise to take over the U.S. judiciary, a separate but equal power of the government.
In any previous U.S. administration in living memory, the utterance of those words by a sitting president would be considered a travesty, eliciting strong non-partisan public disavowal.
It would not be a stretch of the imagination to conjecture that such heresy would have been cause for the errant president to be left marooned on a “political island” by members of his inner caucus until he publicly retracted his words.
However, Trump’s betrayal of his oath of office to uphold the laws of the land which constitutionally enshrine the separation of powers, proved to be a non-event by those hapless, feckless non-mutinous GOP sojourners on the “Trump ship” who may as well have greeted his words thusly; Hail-fellow-well-met!
Indeed, this has been their stock reaction in the face of mounting glaring acts of leadership turpitude, emblematic of this White House.
It has however not been all smooth sailing for Trump as he is routinely and publicly ostracized from National and International stately events.
These have included the funerals of a national treasure, U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush and war hero and statesman, Senator John McCain.
It is strongly rumoured that on his recent visit to the United Kingdom he was royally snubbed by the heirs to the British throne, Prince Charles and Prince William who refused to meet with him.
The fact that a generational gap exists between the two is salient and speaks to the level of revulsion Trump evokes.
What is incontrovertible is that he was banished from the streets of London as tens of thousands took over the thoroughfares to demonstrate against him.
Currently, those close to him depict him as being increasingly isolated and delusional.
This leads me to believe that as he gazes at himself in the mirror he is totally transfixed and of the conviction that he is an untouchable paragon of perfection on every level, envisioning himself a close second to Narcissus of Greek mythology fame, renowned for his striking beauty and self-obsession.
Unfortunately, for the rest of the world he fails to see himself as an individual untouched by basic human values and decency – a veritable grotesque caricature of a champion of global democracy.