January 12, 2021
Dear Followers of False Messiahs,
Throughout history there have been people who garner the support and admiration, the love and absolute trust in a charismatic leader whom they think is The Messiah. It never ends well. Not for the charismatic leader, the followers of that person or the societies they lived or live in. On the other hand, there are charismatic leaders who don’t lead their followers off the edge of a cliff, deep end of the pool or convince them to drink some Kool-Aid. So, my question for you is do you think DJT is a messiah, a savior of the United States of America, the White Race (a social construct, not a biological one), certain sects of Christianity (not all of them), and you personally? If you do, our conversation is over. If you believe with all your heart that Democrats are evil liars, Marxists (what does that mean?), Communists (so last century), Socialists (again, what does that even mean?), or just plain old haters of America, the Constitution and religion, then this conversation is over.
It is possible that there are true radicals in this country and around the world, who would like to destroy governments, institutions and I don’t know what else. The mob last Wednesday at, and then in, the Capitol building, seemed to be those sorts of radicals. I don’t know them and what exactly makes them tick like a bomb. I do know lots of people who would love to see changes in the way society functions. Many believe that health care part of Human Rights and we should all have access to both preventative and restorative health treatments. Many believe there are serious social and justice issues that need repairing. Many believe (due to trusting science) that climate change is an existential threat to all of us. I would argue that these “radicals” are not out to harm you, the followers of the False Messiah. It’s so sad that you believe they are out to harm you, especially when you saw and heard the noose, the plastic ties, the calls to hang or harm our elected leaders. The mostly peaceful protests during the last year were not riots or calls to kill and destroy other people. There were instances of destruction of property that was condemned by most. Antifa might be a thing but it’s not 81 million Americans. Surely some of you are reasonable people!
Now what do we do? What if we think of the real radicals as a cult whose members need to be rescued and deprogrammed? Okay, maybe deprogramming millions is a pipe dream (not a pipe bomb). What if those people who are charged and convicted of some of the serious crimes arising from last week, are fined and/or jailed but also have to go through sessions of deprogramming or mental health treatments? I really don’t know how this would work but it’s worth a try. In addition, let’s think about ways people could refresh their memories about what the Constitution actually says, about how government actually is designed to work, and how threatening to harm, maim or kill elected officials, including the Vice President of the United States is a terrible idea. Maybe we could use social media, movies, tv, and op-eds to promote Real Civics lessons. Maybe I’m a cockeyed optimist about the possibility of improving the chances that the US remains a democracy in the future.
If none of these ideas are useful for returning sanity to politics or safety to governing, then the Kool-Aid cure may be all we have.