The Thane of Cawdor

In my high school days, circa 1964, our drama class staged MacBeth.  It was daunting.  It’s always dangerous to arm high school boys with swords for acting out battle scenes and telling three nice girls they should plaster their faces with big boils to become witches!  Our parents and teachers were our only audience along with a few masochistic classmates.  The parents were obligated to attend.  The classmates came to snicker and laugh.   Through a mist from a Scottish highland, I remember it all now. 

Macbeth, from county Nairnshire, listens to three witches prophesy that he — Old Mac — will not become a farmer, but rather become Thane of Cawdor, which is the fast track to be King of Scotland.  

For those who don’t speak Scottish, a Thane is like a Lord.  Our modern nominees to play the witches would be Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and a third-witch cameo by Nancy Pellinoski who later, for political purposes, changed her name to Pelosi.  Nancy never likes scripts and has an obsessive-compulsive habit of tearing them up after their use.  Greene and Boebert inspired Shakespeare to write, “Double Double Toil and Trouble.”  

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while talking to the media during a break as he attends trial in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James against him, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in New York City, U.S., October 4, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

MacBeth murders King Duncan and claims the title “King”, then he kills off Macdonwald, various unnamed soldiers, Duncan’s guards, young Siward, then he gets some help dispatching Banquo, Lady Macduff, and the Macduff children.  

He was supposed to kill William Wallace on the set of Braveheart, but Warner Brothers secreted Mel Gibson away.  

Predictably, civil war begins and ends at the decisive battle of MacShiloh.  Both Macbeth and his First Lady have caused so much bloodshed they keep washing their hands.  Then the wheels came off Lady MacBeth’s train.  “Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.”  Uhh, Lady M wants to be a man so the unsexing testosterone boost allows him/her to kill someone.  Whoaaaa, there.  TMI.  Too much gender stuff for a 1964 high school drama.  

Our Macbeth was a football player, who wanted to be, or not to be, an actor.  At his crucial soliloquy, “Is this a dagger I see before me?  The handle toward my hand.  Come let me clutch thee,” he forgot his lines and skipped over to the part about a “heat -oppressed brain,” where he got the giggles, and laughed so hard he left the stage, soliloquy unfinished.  

Lady Mac orders Witch Pelosi to tear up the script, dumps the pieces into the caldron, smacks a witch, and goes off contemplating suicide.  MacBeth girds his loins with sheet metal and gets in a sword fight with an angry MacDuff after The Thane referred to Lady MacDuff as “merely a birthing person.”

ModernizationModern Thanes are among us.  Unfortunately, they are not limited to Shakespeare’s imagination.  

We now have a brewing cat fight rematch involving the legions of the Thane of Mar-a-Lago, and his rival, the Thane of Wilmington, King Joe.  Not very many folks like either Thane.  The realm out there wants better choices for King, but that is not to be in 2024.  

The realm has only itself to blame.  We elect our Thanes and inherit the problems they bring with them.  We make icons out of them, hold them higher than the saints and gods of our churches when, in fact, deep down inside we know they are just mortals and, absent good staff work, their speeches are gibberish.  Then, for support, we elect servants of the Court who possess no backbone and exhibit mush for brains, and then we gripe when we get invertebrates whose only talent is stealing the Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.  

Pundit Chris Stirewalt says, “the [American] political parties themselves [have become and] are still very much arranged around the idea of motivation over persuasion.”  In other words, it is easier to make your base angry enough to get out to vote against someone rather than be persuaded to vote for someone.  

Persuasion also intrigues Kevin Williamson, who writes that we shall see in 2024 whether “politicians and activists seem to have forgotten how to ask for votes and how to engage in old-fashioned persuasion.”  Contemporary politicians insist that we are morally obligated to support them no matter if their primary cult following are three witches in a bubbling caldron.

Most Americans recognized that after the 2020 election and the 1/6 fiasco, the Thane of Mar-a-Lago wandered off, thumping the tub for his “Stop the Steal” remonstrations.  Even though many are incapable of proving in the King’s courts election fraud, the Thane of Wilmington, King Joe, took over and began doing things each day that makes his administration less popular.  King Joe’s “entitlement progressivism” tried to dump goodies all over the realm but the icer cream truck got stuck in the mud.  

US President Joe Biden speaks at Abbotts Creek Community Center during an event to promote his economic agenda in Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 18, 2024. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

After spending a lot of money on infrastructure programs that have yet to build anything useful, King Joe had two major campaign themes prior to the recent election of his subordinates:  maintaining a hugely porous southern border (300,000+ illegals per month), and relieving millions of borrowers of college tuition money of their debts, in return, of course, for their votes.  

Because the Democrats and King Joe cannot convince the Normies of America that letting much of central America cross the Texas-Arizona borders, we’re becoming a land of crazies.  As Victor David Hanson wrote, Democrats can’t convince normal Americans that progressive socialism is good for America, so they want a large influx of new entitlement voters to swell Democrat cities and states so those enclaves will love socialism.  

That was great until Texas began sending busloads of illegal alien to the big D cities to spread the love around.

The Thane of Wilmington also loved to make edicts as to what pharmaceutical company said about its COVID injections was truthful, and which oppositional response was not truthful and therefore should be illegal and carry a jail sentence.  Maybe during his second term in 2025 he can get the Congress to follow France’s lead and make certain government defined untruths carry a jail sentence.  

France, of course, has no First Amendment.  Pretty soon we may not either.

For some reason Americans continue to put up with these candidates of the lowest common political denominators.  We invest our time, money and aplomb in a bunch of Thanes then repress our desires to shout:  “We will not stand for this anymore!”  As Freud argued, that which is repressed will return to haunt us.  

Repression invaded Lady Macbeth’s dreams, causing sleepwalking and an obsessive-compulsive gesture to repetitively wipe blood from her hands.  The Thane of Mar-a-Lago was miserable as a former king.  He missed ordering Big Macs from an all-night McDonalds and contemplating which newspaper reporter from Mother Jones or CNN to torture.  In a late Twitter soliloquy, like MacBeth, after losing his key knights in 2022, the Mar-a-Lago Thane’s life is described as creeping on, a “petty pace from day to day.”  

The Thane of Mar-a-Lago has declared war – again.  No challenger has arisen in the Republican realm.  The Thane tells everyone that he can declassify government secrets just by thinking about them, and that he should be immune from all civil and criminal prosecutions because he once defeated Ms. Clinton and for four years was given Kingly power.  

Ronald Reagan warned all American Normies that freedom is “never more than one generation away from extinction.”  

We must do battle to keep our freedoms, especially when on our elite college campus administrators have difficulty understanding the term “genocide” when applied to Jewish students.  

We must find better knights than these Thanes.  So.  “Lay on, MacDuff and damned be him that first cries, hold enough!”  

Ron Smith – Humor

Dean Halliday Smith is a fifth generation Kansan, an attorney, a grandfather several times over, a Vietnam veteran, and a civil war historian. Territorial Kansas, the Civil War, and the post-Civil War west are his subjects of interest. Manhattan KS graduate, graduated Kansas Wesleyan in ’73. Worked on Governor John Carlin’s staff in 1980-81. Lobbied for the Kansas Bar Association for 14 years. His small farm is near where the historic Santa Fe Trail converged on the “Pawnee Fork” along the wet route of the SFT.