John Colson: The Cult of Trump must be derailed
Hit & Run
As our nation’s first year post-Donald Trump wanders along its shambling, unsteady path, it is growing clearer every day that we are not done with either the recently ousted president or his acolytes, sycophants and cult-worshipers.
This is not really news, I know, but it bears frequent repeating if we are to avoid another four years of his disastrous, dangerous “leadership.”
Put plainly, the world cannot afford another four years of Donald J. Trump holding the reins of power in his pudgy little hands, and it is up to us, the voting citizens of the United States, to make sure we avoid a repeat.
We clearly are not going to get any help from the so-called leadership of the Republican Party, who, with the notable exception of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, have universally shown that they are in complete thrall to Trump’s every whim.
Even former Trump critics within the Grand Ole Party, such as Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, have tamped down their criticism of Trump under intense backlash from their own supposed supporters, not to mention the outrage of the Trumpian base who have seized control of the party.
That same party long ago embarked on a course of self-destruction in the name of Trumpism, an “ism” that translates strictly and exclusively into the idea of gaining power at any cost, no matter what the harm such a focus might do to our country as a whole.
The ongoing effort to pass, at the state level, a wide range of voter suppression measures is proof of this focus, and it sure as hell doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is the desired outcome of these measures. Republican leaders have long known that they cannot win and hold power nationally under a level political playing field, and have long sought to dumb down the American electorate by undermining education and pushing discredited but disturbingly effective disinformation and misinformation through the monolithic right-wing media megaphones.
Trump himself has shown that he is an addict, and his drug of choice is political power. He is addicted to the rush he gets when he can declare himself the most powerful single human on the planet, even as he makes it abundantly clear he also is completely unprepared to do what it takes to keep this country running and viable.
Trump has no interest in governing, merely in being at the head of government, where he feels free to indulge in all manner of evil machinations that, have no doubt about it, are aimed strictly at whipping up his “base” in a frenzy of fear at losing the post of privilege and, yes, power that white people have enjoyed for hundreds of years in this country.
Trump’s narcissism and self-idolatry, for some very complicated reasons, fits in well with the self-pitying, violently intolerant outlook of many of his “base” supporters. It gives them hope that, at last, there is a powerful politician who understands their pain and is willing to stoke the fires of that pain with lies, the biggest and worst of which currently is the Big Lie that the election was stolen from him by “Sleepy Joe” Biden.
Left unexplained is how Biden, if he is so sleepy and ineffectual, might have pulled off the political cheating that Trump claims cost him the election.
Also left unexplained, at least on the far-right political fringes Trump occupies and controls, is the undeniable fact that more than 60 judges, some of them Trump appointees, threw out practically every court case filed on behalf of the Big Lie.
I have mentioned before in this space that I, as do many others, believe we, as a nation, have fallen victim to an extreme cult of personality — just like those that raised up the one-time dictators Joseph Stalin of the old U.S.S.R. and Adolph Hitler of Germany.
In both countries, back in the early 1900s, economic stagnation was a precursor to a nationalistic and reflexive endorsement of authoritarianism over democracy, and we seem to be in the same unfortunate position in the U.S. today.
A wide range of failed economic policies, coupled with automation and a search for cheap labor, have sent our national manufacturing capabilities to other lands, taken away the good-paying jobs that our industries were forced to cough up due to pressures from labor unions, and left an unfortunate number of Americans falling further and further behind the financial eight-ball.
Onto this fertile landscape, Trump burst like a nuclear bomb in 2015, poisoning our political discourse while whipping the frustrated masses into a froth of intolerance toward what once was this nation’s greatest strength, immigration of fresh ideas and new blood from all over the globe.
And now, it is clear, Trump wants to regain the White House, and his panic-stricken, mostly white-supremacist base of support is more than willing to help him do that, as soon as possible, primarily due to a belief that Trump can roll back time and put old, white men back at the pinnacle of power and influence.
This is not a reality-based urge, but it is an unfortunately strong one — one that must not become our defining national framework going into the future.
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