The new cult of PoTUS #45
(Letter to America – No. 4 02/03/17)
PoTUS #45 has the main characteristics that have been evident in other cult leaders, such as David Koresh, L. Ron. Hubbard, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson. PoTUS #45 has followers who are devoted to him in the same way that has been seen in new cult or religious movements.
However, it has become increasingly apparent, especially in the first 40 days of this presidency, that PoTUS #45 is a leader who inhabits a field of reality distortion and it appears that the majority of the world is aware and appalled by this situation; despite this fact his agenda appeals to his adherents because his mission has been to give them purpose and meaning. PoTUS #45 has a dangerously simplistic world view, that is matched by his constant use of sophomoric language in his social media presence (specifically Tweets) and his public speeches. He has promised the people who follow him – identified by him as an ignored and oppressed minority – that they will have peace and recognition when he delivers them from the governing control of the opposition. As a leader he repeatedly tells his followers what they want to hear – his stock phrases are churned out at every opportunity. This trademark hyperbole resonates with the populist sections of society who are against government for all the people – that they view as unnecessary political correctness – but they remain strongly in favour of this brash businessman who has entered the political arena.
One of the main reasons why PoTUS#45 represents a danger as a cult leader and the leader of the USA, is that he now has executive powers that include the ability to launch nuclear weapons. PoTUS#45 was elected for a number of reasons, one of them was because of his charisma and personality which is in start contrast to the political elite who have seats in the Senate and Congress. Many people cannot understand the loyalty from his followers, but people who believe in his simplistic theories will not be swayed from their devotion to him: they view him as an object of worship. Therefore, even when his theories change, their loyalties stand firm. Like other cult leaders, PoTUS#45 keeps the limelight focused on himself, he only shares it to some limited extent, with his family – they are part of the cult head of what he refers to as ‘the movement’.
In this respect he is not a typical politician with a cult following, he is a real cult leader.
PoTUS#45’s character has the signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), i.e. he is arrogant and has an exaggerated sense of self-importance – that is not backed up with pertinent experience, he is also preoccupied with power, success and perceived brilliance, behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner especially when he interacts with those he does not respect or have any affinity with, i.e. most people outside of his inner circle.
It is not unusual for a politician to be ambitious, this is seen as both a positive and negative attribute. Ambition is needed when strong policy changes have to be implemented against the wishes of certain aspects of the community. Every president has tried, successfully and unsuccessfully, to implement governmental changes that reflect their political position. However, PoTUS#45 does not have a clear political stance (having changed political allegiance between the Democrats, Republicans and Independents several time in the last couple of decades) although several members of his administration have been open about their extreme right-wing white supremacist views. These influencers make him feel good and he keeps them in his inner circle as they are enablers to his NPD and they can still use him and his position of power for their own nefarious ends e.g. Stephen K. Bannon, who on 23 February 2017, at the CPAC conference in National Harbor, Maryland said, “We’re a coalition … we understand that you can come together to win. We understood that from August 15th”. Alluding to the power of the pact between Trump and himself, Bannon also said that ‘darkness is good. … Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they (liberals) get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.” (November 2016).
As Chief Strategist and Senior Counsellor Bannon is the intelligence and driving force behind the newly elected GOP administration; he was even named above the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, as a key member of the Trump team. The position of chief strategist is not a formal Cabinet position or a White House role, however, Bannon has been given unprecedented access to the highest clearance levels in the country. PoTUS #45 is modelling his team around traditional business models of management. Bannon does not have any formal administrative duties, nevertheless in his role as senior advisor he is responsible for crafting and protecting the president’s ‘brand’ and overall message – this has thus far been one of controversy and divisiveness. Bannon has a lot of power but no job description, he is in effect the proxy president.
Before being elected as President of the United States, Trump had never held a single elected political post, or indeed any formal political experience. His association with politics has been from the perspective and interactions with the political sphere as a businessman and TV broadcaster. It is usual for elected presidents to have a history of previous government or military experience; PoTUS #45 has neither.
The only other three presidents to be elected without government experience were Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850; Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877; and Dwight Eisenhower, 1953-1961, and they all had experience as generals in the military.
Successful presidents usually have a history of political growth wherein they have built levels of trust with the public, constituents and their political colleagues. This is usually achieved following periods of trust building based on honest dealings and verifiable community results. PoTUS #45 does not posses this political pedigree. As a populist cult leader he tries to discredit anyone who disagrees with him and thereafter remove any threat to his personal power. Like the other previously named cult leaders, PoTUS #45 is a bully. He says that his word is not to be questioned, thereby refusing to be held accountable for his words and actions, as he believes the rules of the Office of President do not apply to him. PoTUS #45 is sophomoric in behaviour, especially when there is public disagreement with his stance on any subject, he then acts in a juvenile manner in both words and deeds.
Stephen Miller, a senior policy advisor to PoTUS #45 is on record as saying, “the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial, and will not be questioned”, (27th January 2017). This statement is symbolic of the face of the GOP administration under the lead of PoTUS #45, it is one that runs like an unstable dictatorship or cult, not in the manner of national political parties.
Politicians of all political persuasions are known for competence in their work and high energy levels in the hectic government arenas; they utilise their practical skills to negotiate the administration system to achieve changes in their constituencies. High energy levels are necessary for a successful politician because his job can be hectic. There is always something new to implement or some aspect of government to improve. Doing this job in a competent manner consumes both time and energy.
A good politician should also be practical. The heart of practicality is being able to use the system to accomplish the will of both the politician and his constituents despite any hold-ups in federal bureaucracy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a cult leader who does not adhere to any political processes but dictates his plans according to his own desires and not the protocols of government. Additionally, a cult leader believes that what he says is always right. Even when it’s not. And the cult leader lies. Frequently. These are particularly prominent traits of PoTUS #45.
This current PoTUS acts as if proof of those lies don’t matter to the followers. It has been calculated and reported that nearly 80 percent of the things that Trump says are complete lies, yet he deflects from the responsibility of providing truth and facts by blaming the media as ‘dishonest’ and ‘biased’. And because a vast majority of his populist followers are already distrustful of mainstream news outlets, they accept whatever rationalisation provide by the GOP administration, regardless of how far-fetched it is. PoTUS #45 fashions himself as a populist champion who can do no wrong in the eyes of his followers who follow him unquestioningly with religious-like fervour, so he continues to distort reality and they accept any change of his position without question; this also means that these followers appear to lack skills to questions facts for themselves. This makes both PoTUS #45 and the millions that follow him a danger to democracy and world peace.
While some of his initial followers are starting to question many of his actions, there is still a core of the cult of PoTUS #45 who appear afraid to leave the cult even when it no longer makes sense or fits into their life any more. As with all cults, many members stay because ‘it feels like home’ to them and they face the prospect of breaking free from the culture that they have been immersed in for a long time; the common language, lifestyle and behaviour of other followers and friends makes it hard for them to separate themselves from a way of life that they have been used to, and so they stay and they follow him regardless of evidence, but out of loyalty to an idea that keeps shifting with his moods.
He is like the pied piper of political America and he is in charge of the nuclear codes.
There is a continued need to educate, organise and resist. Persistently.
©Marjorie H Morgan 02/03/17
(Next letter … The new nationalism of PoTUS #45)