Monday, July 24, 2017

Week of 07/24/2017

Understanding the Cult of Trump
I think a lot of people will tell you that the worst of the Star Wars movies was Episode 3, “Revenge of the Sith”.  The one thing that would make the repulsive Jar-Jar Binks forgettable is the transformation of Anakin Skywalker from potential hero into a whiny little bitch just so they can then turn him into Darth Vader.
George Lucas took the most iconic badass villain of all time, his own creation, and turned him into a whiny little bitch.  And now whenever we see Darth Vader, we know that under that black helmet and noisy respirator is nothing more than a whiny little bitch.
But during that whiny little bitch period, there are a couple of scenes that need to be pointed out.  The first is when Anakin tries to convince Padme, the woman that he loves and the mother of their unborn children, that he can somehow “control” Emperor Palpetine and that he can even overthrow him.  Keep in mind that Palpetine is Anakin’s mentor and the great mastermind that was responsible not only for the grand takeover, but even responsible in an indirect way for Anakin’s very birth.  So to say that Anakin can somehow overthrow Palpetine is delusional arrogance.  This is compounded when he boasts to his one-time friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, that he has brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to “his” new empire.  Not Palpetine’s empire... “his”.
It’s this kind of blind arrogance that makes me think about the GOP leaders during our national occupation of the Cult of Donald Trump.  People keep looking at what President Trump is doing and a lot of them are asking why the GOP leadership is tolerating this.  Why is Trump treating the GOP leadership like employees of his failed businesses?  Worse yet, why aren’t they correcting him and reminding him that they were elected by the same voters that put him in the White House?
And every time I hear that, I think back to those two scenes from “Revenge of the Sith”, and of that whiny little bitch played by Hayden Christensen who boasted that he could somehow keep his own master in check.  No, the GOP leadership can’t remove Trump, even if they wanted to.  Even if they had a solid, constitutional impeachment case against him, they cannot bring themselves to do it.  It’s not in their nature.
Of course, President Donald Trump is nothing like the fictional Emperor Palpetine.  Palpetine was a master manipulator who worked in the shadows to get himself in power.  Donald Trump has been and still is a self-promoting narcissistic clown act who can’t help but hog the limelight.  The only thing that works in the shadows with Trump is his gold toilet at Mar-a-Largo.
And Trump has something on his side that Palpetine never did... a cult that he can unleash just as merciless as any clone army.
That brings me to something that bothers me as well... and that is the continual call from those in the media to ask what will it take for Trump supporters to somehow change their minds six months into this “grand experiment”.  Oh they don’t like what Trump has been doing with his Twitter-tantrums and his insane appointments and his embarrassing comments, but they still won’t give up on him.  They can get screwed over with their healthcare, they can lose those jobs that Trump promised to either “save” or “bring back”, they can watch as the GOP takes money out of their pockets and hands it to the millionaires and billionaires, and they will still support Trump and the GOP to the bitter end.
And that blows the minds of the liberals and their friends in the media.  It drives them insane!  How?  How can that be?  How can otherwise rational people support someone who does everything in their power to screw them over and betray everything they claim to support?
Well the answer to that is simple: it’s not rational.  That’s what happens when you find yourself dealing with a cult.
Let’s get brutally honest here... the secret behind Trump’s support is that a good percentage of them have essentially been conditioned that way like followers in a cult.
Now, to be fair, we’re not talking about every single Trumpet.  I’m sure there are some that just like the personality.  Trump certainly knows how to talk his way into getting what he wants and to talk his way out of trouble.  Some people find this appealing.  Certainly his numerous wives do, or at least did at some point.
And Trump didn’t create this cult himself!  That also needs to be pointed out.  The conditioning has been going on for quite some time now; long before Trump started even teasing a run for the White House.  The conditioning was for the benefit of the GOP hierarchy, with messages coming in from conservative talk radio in the late 1980’s, with the rise of Fox News in the late 90’s, with the use of email chains in the early 2000’s, and with the explosion of social media in the past decade.  And then you add to it the plethora of books and so-called “documentaries” that only “the privileged” would have access to.  Simple messages and ideas of obedience, conformity, tradition, so-called “heritage”, the talk of being “under attack” from an “insert-the-enemy-here”, and the rejection of compromise.  Everything that would define a fascist state were being sold as “American values”, and lapped up by those that appealed to them.
It didn’t really matter who would inherit this cult-like group just as long as the GOP benefited from the result.  It could be anyone in the Oval Office as long as it was under GOP control.  It could have been Senator John McCain or it could have been Mitt Romney if they didn’t lose to Barack Obama.  Any one of those sixteen-or-so wannabe contenders for the GOP nomination last year could have inherited that following and nobody would have been concerned about it.  The only difference is that this time around, the following went to a manipulative narcissist who knows how to use it to his advantage.
Now I know at some point someone will play the false equivalent card and claim that liberals have some sort of cult following all their own, but I’ve been in this game for over two decades now, and I know from experience that the liberals don’t have anything remotely like that.  That’s why they’re stymied by the GOP’s cult following.
If an ethic group doesn’t like what the so-called “liberal champion” is supporting, or if they feel short-changed by that person, they don’t “primary” that person out; they just stop voting.  The elderly used to be fixated on that “third rail” subject of Social Security and Medicare, but too many of them have been co-opted by the GOP’s cult conditioning to worry about it now.  And you can’t exactly challenge established norms and still preach religious conformity.  In other words, the liberals lack the wherewithal to even consider anything resembling a cult program, never mind implement one.
So believe me when I say that the cult-conditioning that the GOP has performed over the past few decades is uniquely theirs.  Ironic when you consider that one of the tenants of GOP conditioning is that there is some sort of “liberal indoctrination program” to be fearful of.  But, again, that’s how both fascists and a cult operate.  They create an enemy and they project their own failings onto that enemy.
What the people who are opposed to Trump and his cult need to understand is that you will never appeal to either the GOP hierarchy or their indoctrinated masses to abandon their support of him.  I don’t care what he does or says, they will never give him up.  Ever.  For the hierarchy, it’s a matter of power, and for the followers it’s a matter of conditioning.  They would rather cut off their arms with a plastic knife than to give up Trump.  So they can’t be counted on to either keep Trump in check or to reject him.  It will never happen.
The people opposing Trump should stop trying to win over the 35-or-so-percent that will support Trump no matter what.  Instead, they need to rally the 65-or-so-percent to some kind of common ground and a course of action that will keep Trump in check and counter the self-righteous indignation of the Trumpets.  America may resemble more of a fascistic plutocracy in recent years, but the mechanisms of a democratic republic are still there, and if we don’t want to see America go the way of the Republic in the fictional world of “Star Wars”, then we need to make sure those mechanism are used now before it becomes irrelevant.  After all, this is why those mechanisms were created in the first place.

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