published : 2023-08-26

Decoding Trump's Scowl: A Manifesto of America's Undying Fury

The compelling tale of Trump's infamous mugshot: A symbol of Resistance or an Emblem of Vengefulness?

A close-up of a law book and gavel hinting at a court case, taken with Nikon D850.

It's often a matter of contentious debate among attorneys – should their client smirk or maintain a visibly surly expression in their mugshot? A gleeful grin may be seen as a mark of contempt, the facial equivalent of the proverbial middle finger, while a brooding scowl might be taken as an implicit admission of guilt. Former President Trump, the first American president ever snapped for a mugshot, deserted both the nonchalant smile and the fault-finding frown. Instead, he opted for the untamed, smoldering scowl.

In Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus scenario, the devil Mephistopheles presents Helen of Troy, 'the face that launched a thousand ships,' sparking a turbulent tempest. Comparably, the Trumpian scowl is poised to ignite millions of virtual vessels, each sailing into tumultuous waters.

For district attorney Fani Willis in Fulton County and a sea of her followers, this mugshot poses as a remarkable curiosity. The image, much like the spoils of a proverbial hunting expedition, warrants its space on their mantels. It's a sight they've been yearning to witness, a mental snap shot long imprinted on merchandise endorsed by many left organizations.

On the flip side, this moment appears to a slew of Trump's adherents as an unwarranted affront to a former president facing legal challenges in not one, but four different states. And this, just at the precipice of an election where he flies the flag as the primary Republican candidate.

Amid this political cacophony, it's curious to note that Trump, akin to his detractors, has integrated this image in a 'Never Surrender' merchandise campaign.

In this context, the mugshot metamorphoses into a rallying point that reverberates across the political spectrum, a controversial episode that New York's Democratic prosecutor tactfully sidestepped.

A windswept statue of Lady Justice as a metaphor for legal trials and tribulations, taken with Canon EOS R5.

I contend that the mugshot was ill-judged, essentially inflammatory, and wholly unnecessary for the man with perhaps the most recognized face in the United States. But, unhappily, many on either end of the political continuum seem to thrive on this indignation disguised as fervent patriotism.

Indeed, the eeriest facet of what I label as 'the age of rage' is an ostensibly paradoxical one – people actually seem to derive a perverse pleasure from this fury. It's a virulent emotional contagion wherein cold, calculated hate is conveniently condoned in the pursuit of an end, whatever it may be.

While I feel it worthy to question the late timing of these prosecutions – unveiled on the eve of the presidential elections, sending Trump on a marathon courtroom escapade – it is also imperative to consider the increasing gravity of Trump’s situation with the Mar-a-Lago case, something becoming more threatening as witnesses amend their testimonies and his aides verify crucial prosecution claims.

In a time where rationality risks becoming a casualty of hyper-emotional politicking, we cannot cede control to those intoxicated by their fury. We must not allow them to commandeer our political or legal systems.

Regardless of the controversy, we can take pride in having the world's most effective legal framework. With assurance, we will unravel issues from the criminalization of political speech to the notion that Trump can be excluded from the ballot even without a formal charge or conviction.

It's equally crucial to note that our unity as a nation hinges on the belief in due process – a support system that exists independently of whoever happens to be prevailing at any given time. This impartial view deviates strongly from the court-packing ambitions of figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A graphic banner illustrating the text 'Never Surrender,' captured using Sony Alpha a7 III.

The most critical threat we face in today's divided times is the potential loss of our collective faith in our founding values and in one another. This harrowing point in history is encapsulated within the snapshot of Trump's mugshot.

I firmly believe the merits of free speech and other challenges to the Georgia, New York, and federal cases should be considered paramount by appellate courts. It might turn out challenging if judges support these prosecutors in seeking trials before constitutional appeals are drawn.

Appeals judges might concur, in all fairness, that some challenges might be premature unless there are actual convictions.

Most importantly, we must guard against being manipulated. We will navigate our way through this. The courts will address these critical legal quandaries as citizens grapple with the equally significant political issues that these prosecutions present.

We have more critical issues to address. Together, setting aside the madness of mugshot merchandising.