I vow to let it go. Then, when I think I’ve heard it all, he casts a fresh worm on a hook. Like a dumb catfish, I glom onto the bait.
In March Donald Trump advised Fox’s Laura Ingram he saw January 6 insurrectionists, “hugging and kissing the police and guards.” In I Alone Can Fix It, reporters Carol Leonning and Philip Rucher quote America’s forty-fifth president as seeing “a lot of love” that ignominious day.
To my knowledge, no one else on planet Earth saw hugging, kissing, and love in America’s January 6 debacle. How did Donald see what we didn’t? How can this be? Does Fox maintain a proprietary Oval Office channel? I think not.
It’s obvious. All things Donald arise from deep-rooted Narcissism, a Monster Ego with an all-consuming demand to be recognized, praised, adored, in a word Loved! How better could his “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) Minions demonstrate their Love than, on the Leader’s command, “be willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause,” attack the Capitol, Congress, and Constitution?
Human history is punctuated with tribal leaders, warlords, Caesars, kings, emperors, monarchs, and dictators exhibiting egomaniacal hunger for praise and exaltation, for Love! Across-the-board, such leaders exhibit a Sociopath’s lack of compassion, an absolute incapacity to appreciate human suffering and life. In service to his egomaniacal need for praise and glory, for Love, Adolf Hitler tortured and murdered millions. While the nature of Benito Mussolini’s demise suggests all Italians did not Love Il Duce, his bluster and Narcissism were flagrant. In North Korea, over seven decades Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un established and perpetuated a brainwashed, mind-numbed, culture, marching in lockstep, extolling, and worshiping the “Glorious Leader!”
Closer to home, in 1978, having ordered the murder of California U.S. Representative Leo Ryan and four associates, James Warren Jones coerced 614 adults and 304 children to demonstrate Love for their Leader by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. August, 1969, acolytes proved their Love of Charles Milles Manson by murdering seven innocent victims and attempting to assassinate President Gerald R. Ford. In 1997, assured they would transport onto Comet Hale-Bopp, in a communal suicide 39 “Heaven’s Gate” believers exhibited their Love for Marshall Applewhite. January 6, 2021, President Donald J. Trump saw Love in his True Believers’ assault on our Capitol, Congress, and Constitution.
All of which, for me, raises the specter of “cults.“ Miriam Webster defines “cult” as a group of people, exhibiting “great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work . . . the object of such devotion.” Cults, the root of cult-ure, suffer an undeserved bad rep. Religions, political parties, civic groups, cities, states, and nations are, to greater or lesser degrees, cults.
A cult becomes misguided when followers act from unswerving, mindless devotion to a Leader. In run amok cults, language and acts of adoration and service, in a word Love, feed the Leader’s hunger for power and bond the group. Followers yearn for a Messiah, a Savior, on whose command they willfully commit morally and legally indefensible acts including murder and for whom, in the ultimate case, would die.
The means and degree to which any Leader’s agenda serves the common good or his or her own ego distinguishes a Humanitarian from a Sociopath. “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) is a dangerously run amok, misguided cult. A certified Narcissist and Sociopath, Donald J. Trump is its leader.