Kool-Aid has gotten a bad rap over the years. “Drinking the Kool-Aid” has become synonymous with believing in something crazy. It was over 900 people who died by suicide… many of them children, fed cyanide-laced Kool-Aid by their parents… parents who poisoned their own kids before taking their own lives. Over 300 kids.
This was all thanks to Jim Jones, a charismatic cult leader who’d rather die, and take everyone down with him… instead of facing the music. There’s obviously a lot wrong with this picture… that one man could convince so many people to die for his cause.
The first thing that’s wrong is the Kool-Aid itself. It wasn’t actually poisoned Kool-Aid that they all drank; it was Flavor Aid. No big deal, what’s the difference, who cares… well, I’m sure the marketing department at Kraft-Heinz would beg to differ. It’s impressive the good-will that Kool-Aid must have had before that massacre that they would choose to keep the name instead of just re-branding the flavoured juice crystals. Oh, yeah.
Kool-Aid aside, just how deep down the well do you need to be to go along something like that? The aforementioned Jonestown massacre of 1978 is the most well-known, but cult mass suicides happen… well, not “all the time”, but they’re perhaps more common than you might believe.
There was the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide in 1997, where 39 people in California killed themselves because their cult leader, Marshall Applewhite, had convinced them that a UFO was lurking behind the Hale-Bopp comet that was heading towards earth, and that “leaving the human world” was the only way to hitch a ride on it. Accordingly, Applewhite provided some poisoned applesauce for the group…who put on identical black tracksuits and matching Nikes (they got a good deal on the bulk purchase), poisoned themselves, and waited for their ride to another planet. One of those was the brother of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek… but that’s about as close to a spacecraft as they got.
There was the Order of the Solar Temple suicides, led by charismatic leaders Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret… where are total of 74 people killed themselves to “escape the world to a higher dimension”. They were from Switzerland, Canada and France.
In March of 2000, there was “Judgement Day” for a cult in Uganda who believed it was time for the end of the world. It’s unclear how many were suicides and how many were murdered, but the death toll was close to 800.
This list goes on, but the summary above is a good indication that if you have a charismatic leader with a group of well-indoctrinated fervent followers, they will do anything. And if they’re willing to kill themselves, certainly storming the Capitol is not much of an ask. Certainly not after the 4-year build-up that it took to get to that point.
At first, it’s just the typical cult indoctrination… you’re with us, or you’re against us. We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys. We’re the truth, they’re the fake news. Exaggerate, polarize, fictionalize… you’ll recall, it all started on day one. It actually started on hour one… less than one hour after the inauguration in 2017, with White House Spokesman Sean Spicer pleading to the bewildered world to believe him when he told you that Trump’s inauguration crowd was the biggest ever. And off we went, with more divisiveness and Charlottesville-type scenarios along the way, paving a road to a point that really has no destination. At some point, there’s nowhere left to go. Time to pay the piper… but the lead piper will be holed up somewhere, possibly in Florida or possibly not in the U.S. because, especially after yesterday, he may be facing an arrest warrant.
Now what? A good question with many possible answers… but to answer the question of “How could this happen?” – how about, honestly acknowledging, how could it not? Where else was this headed? How is what’s playing out now not exactly what should’ve been expected with four years of trying to pry this country apart? Shocking? Sure. Surprising? Not in the least.
The worse is gets, the more people jump off the cult bandwagon… but, jeez… it took this long? This is what it took? This was your breaking point? This is certainly really bad, but what about what came before? His misogynistic statements before he was even president weren’t enough? His embracing of white supremacists? His complete mishandling of this pandemic? His calling Biden a pedophile? His continual lies? This is a very long list, for those who’ve been paying attention. Every week of this “presidency”, many people were asking the question, “How low can he go?” because as difficult as it was to imagine how he’d do it, he always did. One notch lower, much to the horror of most people, but to the delight or indifference of others. It took this long for you to get it? It took this long for Twitter and Facebook to figure out what giving this guy a platform might do?
Much of that latter group is now diving to the exits. Sure, welcome aboard… welcome to the lifeboats many have been clinging to for four years… but, for some of them… not so fast. There is a long list of Republicans who sided with yesterday’s violence, at least in that they propagated the charade of the stolen election and objected to the certification and all that. Their names should not be forgotten… many of them thinking only for themselves, thinking this would further their political ambitions while actually all violating their oaths of office. I can’t wait to see Senator Josh Hawley try to throw his name into the 2024 election ring. I can’t wait to see him eviscerated by both sides of the aisle for what he’s done. Call it what you want; I’ll call it treason.
“I didn’t vote for this”
“This isn’t America”
You’ll hear that a lot in the future, but here’s some news for a lot of you… yeah, you did vote for him… and yes, just maybe… this IS America. It always has been, with an undercurrent of ugliness that was surfaced and normalized by a cult leader who understood that all along.
Some 74,000,000 people voted for him, but I’m sure in 20 years you won’t find many who’ll admit to it. Here we are after four years… what would’ve happened in another four? The question doesn’t need answering because if Trump had been re-elected, that would’ve been the last American election for many years… perhaps ever.
Good riddance to this cult leader. It’s less than two weeks, but I hope they 25th-amendment his ass out of there sooner and completely wreck whatever legacy might have been left for the completely brainwashed that are still clinging.
And, might I end with that… if, after all of this, you’re still supporting him, thinking he’s the good guy, the victim, etc… then you are indeed beyond salvation by normal means, and I’d suggest you drag yourself (or have yourself dragged) to the nearest cult-deprogramming facility.
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