What do you do if someone you love is trapped in the MAGA cult?
What if your husband, father, mother, daughter, sister, best friend really believes every lie that comes out of Donald’s constantly lying mouth?
What if they go to web sites run by people making book on his crazy lies by purveying fantastical conspiracy theories and whipping folks into frenzies of rage and terrified obsession?
What if they sign on to paid websites to get the super secret inside info from some totally vicious internet wackjob who is purveying fascist propaganda to the increasingly crazy?
What if the person you love turns vicious and abusive and says things to you and calls you names you never imagined would come out of their mouth if you try to reason with them?
What if they are gone, gone, gone down the rathole of Trumpism and you fear that you will never get them back, or worse, that they will end up doing something that might get them in serious trouble with the law?
I think every sane and believing Catholic has had to distance themselves from their Trumpist co-religionists. If you live in a red state and you are sane enough to resist Trumpism, and strong enough to say so, and you haven’t had the experience of being verbally abused by someone you once thought was a friend over Donald Trump, then you probably don’t have many friends at your parish. It’s painful, unfriending those people on Facebook and ignoring the phone when they call.
But it’s not devastation. They are people you can live without. It’s lonelier without them, and you regret their loss. But they aren’t the warp and woof of your life.
But your family, your oldest, dearest friends, your brothers and sisters by another mother, your blood kin; these are people you cannot just unfriend. They are part of you. Laboring with them through troubles is part of being alive in your life.
You can’t divorce a brother or sister, a mother or father, or a friend who’s walked with you through every turn of your life. You believe that standing aside from them is impossible and that what you have to do with them is save them.
That’s what you tell yourself.
But “saving” a person who’s deep into the MAGA cult and has been brainwashed to the point of becoming a Trump zombie is like picking up an angry rat by the tail. You’re going to get ripped to pieces by claws and fangs if you try.
There is no reasoning with MAGA. They are immune to facts. Indifferent to reason. They don’t care if they hurt people, including the people they love.
Even if you manage to get through to them for a moment — if you see their eyes clear and they look at you with the old expression you remember for a glimmering second — they will slide back into the pit in the next second. They are brainwashed.
And — here’s the point — they like being brainwashed. This wasn’t an accident. They weren’t unwilling. They have been imbibing of the gateway drugs of Fox News, Breitbart, LifeSiteNews and Church Militant for years now. They subscribed to The Wanderer and thought Father Corapi was a good man even after he was proven to be a charlatan. They’ve been going around calling the Holy Father “Bergoglio” inferring he’s a false pope, and claiming that Cardinal Burke is a special kind of holy for a long time now.
They’ve been believing lies for years, getting deeper and deeper into the quicksand of propaganda, losing their hold on real Christianity and reality itself as they went. It was an easy next step down to let go of any grip they had on fact and truth when Trump, the big, blustering con man came blaring at them. And so they did.
It takes a fabulist of incredible self-delusion to witness Trump’s behavior and believe that this moral sewer of a man was sent by Jesus Christ. You have to repudiate everything that Jesus said and did in order to follow Donald Trump.
And they have done that.
Trump’s followers not only believe all his fantastical and self-refuting lies, they make up lies of their own to gloss over his ugliness. Then, they dive in and become, step by step, part of his cult.
If someone you love is Trump’s willing soldier — if they have bought into his lies and become one of his performing monkeys, what do you do? How do you, the person who loves them, deal with the loss of someone you love so dearly to the devil of fascist politics?
Trump has stolen a lot from us. He’s taken our churches. He’s taken our religious leaders. He’s taken many lives. He’s trying to destroy our country.
And someone you love with all your heart is helping him do it.
What do you do?
You can’t reason with them.
You can’t even talk to them.
And because you love them so much, you can’t just walk away and forget about them.
What do you do?
My only solution is to look at them the same way you would if they were drug addicts who’ve gotten caught up in the drug trade.
You have to give them to God. Because nothing you can do will affect their actions in the least. You cannot stop them. You cannot reason with them. You cannot reach them. They are going to do what they are going to do and nothing and nobody will stop them.
But there is a God.
He is not the phony errand boy of right wing politics that our false shepherds have put before us. He is the God of the Gospels of Christ. And He is real.
This God, Who made everything, everywhere is real. And like a shipwrecked sailor, clinging to a buoy, you can wrap your arms and your heart around Him and hang on for survival.
This God Who made everything, everywhere, the God of the Gospels of Christ, loves your loved one. And that is their only hope.
You can’t save them. They refuse to save themselves. The only person you have to power to rescue is you. You can let God sustain you while you swim for shore, while you save the only person you have the power to save, which is yourself.
Then pray for the person you love. Pray every day. Get your friends to pray. Get your other family members to pray. Come together and pray. And while you are praying, offer up the suffering that you are enduring for the souls of those in Purgatory.
You’re going to have to let your loved one accept their consequences. One of those consequences is that you will not be around them while they are willfully giving themselves over to being abusive and crazy in the name of Trump. You are not being cruel or indifferent by doing this. You are saving the one person you have the power to save, which is yourself.
You matter and you are worth saving. You are a person. You are not a sacrifice to be offered on the altar of their self-determined, stubborn fealty to an insane old man. If they chose to buy into his delusions and play fool for his psychopathic destructiveness and lies, well then, that is their choice. You have to let them make it.
But God is real and you can pray. And the rest of the family can pray. That, right now, is the best you can do for them.
I know there are people who will mock me for offering prayer as a solution. But I’ve lived long and I’ve seen a lot. I’ve prayed for people for years before the prayer was answered. But I have seen amazing, miraculous turn arounds in people’s lives.
Trump has brought so much heartbreak into America. The heartbreak of family and friends who see their loved ones become trapped in the delusion of his cult is one of the greatest miseries he has inflicted on the American people.
I think people who’ve lost people to the MAGA cult need to form support groups for one another. They need prayer groups that pray for those they’ve lost, that they will become sane again.
In the meantime, do not let your grief and shame over the behavior of someone you love who is caught in the MAGA cult destroy you. Stay strong. Stay sane.