It is a practice of mine to try not to use the first person singular “I.” Every time your humble writer types an “I,” imaginary red flags flap before my eyes. Why? Because it indicates to me that my personal biased viewpoint is about to be thrust upon the poor reader.
So, this is a warning: “I” am about to express my opinion on a subject and may certainly be forced to use a few “I’s.” Forgive me. I don’t see how I can avoid it. My subject today is: Political Cultism.
The Cultism I refer to is that of Mr. D. Trump. Around him a group has assembled that we may lucidly describe: some literally seem to worship him; others are simply true believers; there are several devotees, not a few zealots, and a large quantity of outright fanatics.
It is not really strange, I propose, for such a Cult-like figure to have arisen today. Twittering has replaced debate; we don’t have an Abraham Lincoln anymore or a Steven Douglas. So we are required to accept a Twitterer.
Instead of reason and logic, the digital Internet promotes spontaneous and painfully-inadequate viewpoints voiced in 124-character Tweets, forcing us to make up our minds based on essentially no verifiable facts at all – but, rather, upon kneejerk emotions.
Mr. Trump is a master of projecting his voluminous kneejerk emotions upon his many passionate followers. He’s captured a predominant base of fundamentalist evangelical Christians willing to forgive him of breaking all of the ten commandments, and still be considered for sainthood.
His professional Republican contingent has so embraced his views that the most rational and articulate conservative commentator, George Will, has been motivated to abandon both Cult leader and his party.
The Democrats don’t have a Cult. Rather, as the once famous Oklahoma wit Will Roger always pointed out, they have always just been, and remain today, a tad silly. But, at least they avoid glomming onto any mere human with godlike devotion.
A business colleague of mine recently told me he was sorry for me that I so often attack and accuse others about one thing or another. Well, Ahem, I must remind him that that is what a social and political commentator does. That is the job.
It is the American democratic norm that commentators may not only express their opinions, but that it is legally protected by the Constitution and journalistic tradition, all the way from Thomas Jefferson to today.
Cultists don’t commonly get this fine point. They don’t like to be critiqued, let alone criticized. Trump certainly doesn’t. He even today has himself attacked the Supreme Court because it has criticized him. He simply does not get the concept of “America.”
Cultism is always a form of authoritarianism. Mr. Trump thinks of the U.S. government as being his to manipulate as he wishes. However, from Generals to Supreme Court judges, and even old walrus-bearded John Bolton, it appears there may be yet more rational people in America than we thought.
The United States is not a business. It is a country. A nation. A struggling democracy. Under Trump it has produced the most strident, petty, demagogue since Joe McCarthy. I believe the American people are finally getting onto him; and that he is running out of Twitter juice.
If the approximately 66% of all Americans who do not sign onto Mr. Trump’s Cult can get organized by November, it may be we can return him to his Real Estate business and get someone in the White House who, if not a “stable genius,” will at least possess a bit of common sense.