“The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and ... people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them on occasion.”
Any day now, the Robert Mueller investigation will end and everyone will read an FBI report about how President Donald J. Trump obstructed justice to suppress the tape of him splish-splashing naked in a puddle of post-orgy Soviet urine like an albino walrus wallowing in a pool of off-brand apple juice. Authorities will reveal how he rigged the election, stuffed his pocket full of rubles and manipulated the Justice Department to cover it up.
Even worse ... none of it will matter.
When dissecting the authoritarian-esque rise of the lace-front-wearing chief executive, pundits strain to explain why Trump is bulletproof. They point to partisanship, conservatism and the recently discovered phenomenon of working-class white oppression as the reason that 83 percent of white Republicans and 47 percent of all white people still approve of the job he is doing as president.
Despite Trump’s legislative failures, unrepentant racism, and unfortunate allergy to facts and truth, The Donald’s devotees will not admit that he has committed a single misstep. He has convinced congressional Republicans, Fox News watchers and people who consider Nick Cannon “too urban” that verifiable evidence means nothing.
For them, thousands of media outlets have formed a secret cabal to perpetuate fake news. The FBI, CIA, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the mythical “deep state” have all manufactured his decadeslong connection with Russia. Random women have all made up similar lies about his sexual misdeeds. Even science and math have joined the party to misstate his popular vote totals, his poll numbers and how many people showed up to his inauguration. There is only one way to explain why logic and reason no longer apply to the president:
Donald Trump is a God.
Trumpism has evolved from a political ideology into a religion with an unerring tyrannical messiah at the center of it all. He is no longer a politician, he is a religious figure, and admitting it is the first step to understanding the cultlike devotion to Donald Trump.
I do not make this claim without acknowledging the fact that I, too, have made a god out of a mere mortal. Even before I knew or understood what religion or a Bible was, my mother was my first deity, and her words might as well have been written in red in a religious text.
Like Trump’s acolytes toward him, when it came to my mother, I believed that whatever came out of her mouth was the unadulterated truth. In the rare instances that I questioned her, she responded to my queries with the same reasoning offered by the president or a Baptist preacher forced to answer a biblical inconsistency:
Because she said so.
When someone points out that immigrants are less likely to commit a crime, that white men commit more acts of terrorism or that the economy is a product of Obama’s policies, Trump bypasses reason and doubles down on rhetoric. Even though net immigration has been negative for more than 10 years, Trump’s followers believe that kicking out Mexicans and Muslims will magically transform America into a utopian paradise in the same way that some Christians show up on Sundays to pay 10 percent of their income to an already wealthy pastor to buy a seat in the VIP section of the afterlife.
Trump’s fans dismiss anyone who questions as an unholy blasphemer using their carnal mind. Nothing has to make sense. He said it. That’s enough.
Thus sayeth Trump.
When talking about Trump’s disciples, we often imagine poor whites in the South and Appalachia who haven’t had anyone so blond and worthy of reverence since Rick Flair hung up his unitard.
But even learned men have converted to the cult of Trump, as his Cabinet meetings have become eerily similar to the last supper or the final Kool-Aid brunch in Jonestown, Guyana, replete with seemingly intelligent people showering him with praise. He even opens every meeting with praise and worship devotional service:
He is no longer campaigning, but like other religious figures, Trump travels around the country holding tent revivals and rallies whipping crowds into Holy Ghost-like frenzies when he preaches. He’s not doing this for votes. He’s just spreading his gospel to the masses, calling NFL players “sons of bitches” and explaining how he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City and shoot a man, all to thunderous applause.
The entire Republican Party has joined the church, including the seemingly sane apostle Paul Ryan, who gushed over Trump’s “exquisite leadership.” Ben Carson even thanked his lord and savior for Donald Trump in a recent White House prayer.
Later this year, Trump will go all out and order the U.S. armed forces to honor him with a formal military parade. The Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden criticized the plans for a formally attired military display as “Third World bullshit,” but those of us who have attended a black church know that the choir always marches in on the pastor’s anniversary.
“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”
Anyone examining the cult of Trump cannot ignore his incredible record of accomplishments:
- He passed more legislation than any president in his first year.
- He had one of the biggest electoral victories in history.
- He passed the biggest tax break in history.
- He brought black unemployment to the lowest rate of all time.
- He doubled his approval rating among black voters.
There might be some people who fact-check these claims and discover that none of them are true, but those people aren’t true believers. When members of his congregation casually dismiss truth as “fake news,” they are essentially accusing the press of being false prophets trying to smear their savior. Anyone who besmirches his sanctity is a heathen, a liar or—even worse—a Democrat.
They will tell you that he kept America safe from terrorism because they don’t count the Las Vegas killing, the Texas church massacre, the Unite the Right killing, or any of the long list of mass shootings and hate crimes as “terrorist events,” in the same way that God answers prayers when anything good happens, but it’s Satan’s fault when anything bad occurs.
That’s how the cult of Trump works. It also explains why trying to apply reason to the presidency of Donald Trump is an exercise in futility. Facts are irrelevant. Logic is meaningless.
His followers will never believe he’s racist. Republican voters will continue to reject the claims of the 18 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. Fox News won’t even cover any scandal that doesn’t have to do with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Trump is Teflon. He will never be impeached out of office, even if the FBI investigation turns up concrete evidence that shows he colluded with Russia or obstructed justice.
The fact that he has been deified by white America is not likely to change. The unwavering devotion to Donald J. Trump only makes sense when it is placed in the context of religion, as explained by the biblical definition of faith:
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”