These past four years have been an exercise in watching every single person and group I grew up being taught to respect bow down and worship Trump. Yes, I know—they were always like that. But there’s something about watching the horrible politics I already knew they held meld with fascist worship of an individual that has been particularly horrifying.
Michael and Debi Pearl are far less active on their ministry blog than they once were, but from time to time, they do post new content. In a recent post, they told three stories of individuals stepping up to help in emergency situations—being the person to who takes charge and locates and uses an EpiPen, during an allergic reaction a table over at a restaurant, for instance. They follow their discussion of taking action in emergency situations while everyone else is frozen with this:
As I reflected on these episodes, I realized they could be parables that lend wisdom. Most people don’t prepare for the unthinkable. They trust that someone else will take care of them—family, government, police, medical personnel, banks, etc. Most don’t want to waste money, time, or energy on something that might not happen. … Most people avoid making a scene even if it is necessary or the right thing to do. Most people would just politely sit and wait for an ambulance that might arrive too late, or stand frozen until someone else does something. …
Many have sat by as Lady Liberty has turned blue in the face. One lone ranger came to our rescue and has fought hard to save our great land. Thank you, President Trump. With the burnings and lootings and government encroachment upon our God-given freedoms … folks have been forced to see that our very breath is being squeezed out of us. It is time for the timid to react instead of just sitting frozen. VOTE even if your life is threatened. Soon there might be other events that change everything in your life. Have a plan. Prepare well. Don’t wait on others. It is your life and your responsibility.
Debi wrote this post. For those of you following on my review series of The Vision, yes, we’re talking about that Debi. The same Debi who made white supremacist skinheads the bad guys in her 2009 apocalyptic novel. The same Debi who once wrote a children’s book about Martin Luther King, Jr.! Yes, that Debi.
I know, I know. I’m not surprised, really.
But my god, these are the same people who have spent decades blathering on about the coming antichrist! About how all the world will come to view some man as their savior, and worship him! Can they not see that’s what they’re doing? Something just feels different about worshipping not an ideology, but a person. And a person who doesn’t even go to church! A person who has five children with three different wives! A person who is crude, self-obsessed, and vindictive!
There is one positive here—there is no gloss left on any of this. It isn’t any better to push an inhumane, cruel system of beliefs with a clean-cut one-marriage church-goer at the head. If anything, having a sneaky-clean messenger offers an opportunity to obscure the horror being pushed, and I don’t want this either. So here it is, mask off.
Heh. Heh. Mask off. Get it? Get it? You know, because Trump doesn’t like wearing a face mask … okay, okay, I’ll stop.
There’s also something that feels off about the way Debi (and others) write about Trump, beyond just the fact that he’s a genuinely bad person. “One lone ranger came to our rescue and has fought hard to save our great land,” Debi wrote. “Thank you, President Trump.” Does that feel weird to anyone else? I don’t remember people talking about Obama like this back in 2008. Yes, there was serious excitement, and yes, that excitement included pictures of Obama, and the person of Obama. But I don’t remember anything like this portrayal of Trump as a “one lone ranger” come to save America.
But then, Obama never presented himself that way. He never claimed to be a single, lone savior of America. He never claimed to be all that special at all. He always uplifted those around him, and the activists on the ground. He was always about other people. He never asked for personal adoration,. Trump, in stark contrast, constantly presents himself as a hero and a savior come to rescue the common man. He wants worship—he craves it. He seems to need it like water.
And frankly, that’s probably why it feels like a cult.
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