Saturday, August 5, 2023
Originally published as 2016 began, early in the Trump ascendency
Please consider that The Donald is not the problem, but simply a convenient local god.
From the beginning human tribes created gods that suited their needs and fears de jour.
The One True God thing is fairly recent, less than 8000 years, and really a lot less than that. Anyhow, every religious has subgods, though under other names.
Millions of scared Americans watched TV andcreated Trumpgod, but it could have been any
Trumpgodcomforts them by soothing their fears of dangerous OTHERS, and making them feel (1)special and (2)safe.
All he asks in return is submission. There's a lot of Trumpish
narrativein the Old Testament, about the chosen people crushing all their enemies
. Some of it is scary graphic
.Most of the iterations of that particular
ly nasty and jealousgod exiled aliens, built walls, and vanquished foes as violently and dramatically as possible
solute personal fealty.
But don't concern yourself with Trump.
Trumpgod doesn't even have all that much to do with the realtor named Donald. And know this: if Donald
vanished this afternoon, they'd pick
another godin a quick hurry.
Television makes quick god substitutions easy.
Notice: Donald is the darling of right wing religious people, and he's a functional atheist with a history of liberal statements, while Cruz and the crew try to sound like preachers. Donald can contradict himself twice in the same sentence, make up stuff that's obviously false, deny any scientific reality and trash the truth to make Ted Cruz blush, and the followers don't care. They love it! Stop Trump forces spent $40 million in anti-Donald ads last weekend, and his ratings went up!
They didn't know that attacking Trumpgod just strengthens the devotion of his members.
There is only one viable explanation for all that devotion
and denial in the service of protecting the prophet: Religion.
The smug mainstream watched it all happen, certain Trump would self-destruct, and never realized that a huge movement was afoot, a religious movement with a huge appetite, fueled by hunger for comfort and full of rage at outsiders. A religious mob, especially one that feels ignored and powerless, will turn any convenient icon into their god of the hour.
It's religion, in the most radical sense of the term. And it explains why the Trumpgod is so powerful.
Posted by David McPhee at 9:39 PM