The cult of Trump

It will not go away when he does

For the last four years, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about why anyone would follow a mentally ill con artist. Why would 70 million Americans vote for someone who has nothing to offer but lies and empty promises? The answer is cognitive dissonance: the human brain lies to itself to protect deeply held beliefs about reality that are in fact not real at all.

Cognitive dissonance is the reason that religions have such sway over wide swaths of humanity, and cognitive dissonance is the reason that a life-long loser like Trump can convince tens of millions of people that he is the opposite of reality. They see what they want to see in him, rather than what actually is.

To anyone who has not already deeply committed to the idea that Trump is some sort of modern American messiah placed on earth by magical forces to protect middle-class white America, it is obvious that Trump lost the election because he is what he is: a loud mouth bully who cares only about stroking his own ego to the detriment of everyone else.

People who have not bought into the fake great American promises see Trump as he is: a rather stupid, repetitive ignoramus who lacks most characteristics necessary to wear the title: human adult. These people can see that “. . .Trump lost this election fair and square. All his hysterical accusations, and the various lawsuits his campaign has filed, have presented no evidence whatsoever of a single act of illegal voting, much less the tens of thousands of votes that would be needed to actually change the state results. Indeed, as Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman points out, the only actual instance of unlawful voting in his state uncovered thus far was a Republican man who tried to vote for Trump using an absentee ballot for his dead mother.”

Trump, the only president I am aware of in the history of the U.S.A. who has seriously considered bleach injections as a medical treatment, and who is also the only president I am aware of who thinks passing a test that checks for signs of dementia means he is a world-class genius, will not live that much longer. He is old. He has wasted his life with greed and pettiness. I will not mind when he departs this life.

What concerns me is the 70-million minds he poisoned during his four-years of pretending to lead the United States. What concerns me even more is half of the country I adopted is primed and ready to believe whatever conspiracy theories come next, and that American information networks are completely irresponsible about spreading lies and nonsense. Not all of the people who voted for Donald Trump are malevolent. Many of the president’s ardent followers are well-intentioned. They can be salvaged, but not without addressing the irresponsible behavior that enabled Trump to continue spreading his fool’s lies for four years.

We must root out the corrupt Republicans who propped up and slavishly supported Trump. Republican leaders must pay a price. We must demand competent adult oversight of our information networks, so that Facebook and Twitter police conspiracy thinking and obvious falsehoods and keep them from spreading. Bad actors must pay a price. It is time for us to consider bringing back an updated version of the Fairness Doctrine. The American experiment will self-destruct without major changes. We must undo and counter the damage that has been done in the last four years.

We must destroy the cult of Trump before the cult of Trump destroys the nation and possibly the world. It is not going away just because Trump is a loser. It must be exposed and annihilated before it grows into our collective undoing.