Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, wrote, “The Republican Party is devolving, at an accelerating speed, into a cult of Donald Trump, with increasingly comic manifestations.” Jonathan is not alone. He is joined by never-Trumpers and Leftists, who knew Trump would lose the Presidential race (quite possibly in a landslide!) and who prophesied a tanked economy, nuclear war, deportation for brown American citizens, and possibly even slavery or death camps if Trump won. I’m not going to provide links to all of them. See for yourself.
The never-Trumpers and Leftists were wrong then, and then, and then, and now. Trying to change the mind of a zealot is mostly pointless. However, if you want to have some fun, ask a Leftist if he or she (ze or zhe) believe cult-like devotion is always a warning sign.
The Leftist will likely agree in some fashion; who is pro-cult after all? If they agree, ask them how outspoken they were about the last President with a cult-like following. Any responses other than, “I wasn’t, because it was my guy,” is all the opening you need.
Try to put everything in the form of a question. This forces the other person to play defense (if you make a declarative statement, then the other person has the opportunity to ask you a question and put you on the defensive). If you are online, be sure to include the link (this robs them of the “prove it” maneuver). Here we go…
Didn’t Oprah Winfrey declare, to an adoring crowd, Obama is The One? How is that not culty?
Didn’t Chris Matthews say about Obama, “I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.” Isn’t that a bit creepy, especially for a professional broadcaster?
Didn’t David Brooks, a columnist with the New York times, say “I remember distinctly an image of—we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” Maybe that isn’t super culty in the religious sense, but how does that not seem like cult of personality? Do pants make the President?
Didn’t Michelle Obama say, “This president has brought us out of the dark and into the light.” Is it okay if Melania says President Trump brought us out of the dark and into the light? How would the people on TV react? How would people on social media react?
Didn’t Evan Thomas, the Newsweek Editor, say, “In a way Obama is standing above the country, above the world. He’s sort of GOD. He’s going to bring all different sides together.” Has anyone ever said that about Trump ever?
Didn’t Barbara Walters say, “We thought that he was going to be – I shouldn’t say this at Christmastime, but – the next messiah.” Who could argue about the religiosity of that confession?
Didn’t Jamie Foxx, at the Soul Train Awards, call Barack Obama, “…our Lord and Savior.” Who has gotten up on stage and said the same thing about Trump?
Didn’t Gary Hart write, “Through some miracle of timing, luck, and good fortune Barack Obama has seized the moment. His mantra of ‘change’ has been largely co-opted by lesser figures. He is in fact an agent of transformation. He is not operating on the same plane as ordinary politicians, and this makes him seem elusive to the conventional press and the traditional politicians. His instinct for the moment and the times is orders of magnitude more powerful than the experience claimed by others.” Miracle? Mantra? Higher plane? Aren’t those religious terms?
Didn’t Mark Morford, the San Francisco columnist, fawn, “Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.” Was Obama a religious figure or a politician, or both? How do you feel about that?
Did Louis Farrahkan say to his congregation, “You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn’t care anything about. That’s a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking.” Has any famous religious leader called Trump the Messiah? How do you feel about Obama?
How do you feel about small children being taught to sing Obama’s praises? Do you think children should be indoctrinated politically at school?
Didn’t Ezra Kline state, “I’ve been blessed to hear many great orations… Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.” If Trump has a cult-like following, then what would you call this?
How do you feel about Obama standing behind a pulpit leading a hymn, backed up by robed clergymen? Would you approve of Trump doing the same thing? Can you show me any posts or tweets you made criticizing it?
Who has written a book about Trump, comparable to Mark F. Bozzuti-Jones’ work? “‘The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark’ is designed to initiate the reader into a meditation on what it means to be human, what it means to be a manifestation of God, and how Barack Obama is a unique and important manifestation of God’s desire for human flourishing. In a blend of words from his public speeches, imagined conversation, and fictional situations, the book highlights Obama’s real stance on social justice and, in particular, economic and political empowerment. It juxtaposes ancient Biblical form and contemporary reality, challenging the reader to see and seek God in all persons. ‘Our life-defining texts must be porous and we must be imaginative in our engagement with them. Let this book be a reminder not to so credit sacred texts or cultural icons that they lead us to hatred and violence in the name of God. When we see the Divine in another, we must name it. We must respect it. The practice demands nothing less than Love.'”
Maybe Trump supporters aren’t culty, maybe they are simply not following the establishment politicians, the pundits, the so-called journalists, and the celebrities. Isn’t that called thinking for yourself?
If your god is small enough to be President, he’s too small.
What do I know? I’m Justa Gaibroh.