Marty Essen

A cult is a group of people that shuts out conflicting information and rejects facts in favor of an alternative reality.

It’s time to call today’s Republican Party what it is: a cult. The Republican Party hasn’t always been a cult, but you can trace its conversion to one to the late 1980s and the rise of hate-based AM talk radio shows. Commentators such as Rush Limbaugh not only supplied the venom, they also delivered it with a hypnotic cadence that deep-seated their message. Fox News followed, claiming to be “fair and balanced,” while doing the opposite.

To facilitate the conversion, the GOP targeted people who were already controlled by the church and were therefore more susceptible to manipulation than those who were free thinkers. Issues used to gain and maintain followers included opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. It didn’t matter that Jesus was never quoted in the Bible as opposing either issue, or that the Bible actually contradicts the Republican definition of life at conception (Genesis 2:7 and Job 33:4); stoking such beliefs garnered unquestioned loyalty and allowed for the manipulation to commence.

In reality, the men behind the curtain couldn’t have cared less about abortion, same-sex marriage, or the additional issue of guns. Instead, what they were really after was increasing their wealth via massive tax cuts and the freedom to cheat and pollute. Their manufactured “moral” issues were merely a brilliantly evil way to get cult members to vote against themselves.

For those who don’t believe me, I present global warming as Exhibit No. 1:

That global warming is real, human-caused, and deadly is not in dispute in the real world. NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Military, peer-reviewed climate scientists and college science departments all agree on this. The only large organization in the world that disputes anthropogenic global warming is the Republican Party. And they do so not with scientists, but with devious misinformation that cult members lap up without question. Hence children will suffer so CEOs can get richer.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at Exhibit No. 2:

The men behind the curtain had their biggest challenge when it came to getting Donald Trump elected. Although money was their personal lord and savior, what if their followers believed differently? Jesus preached in favor of kindness and turning the other cheek. He also preached against braggarts and the rich. Essentially, Donald Trump is the antithesis of everything Jesus stood for. Therefore, anyone voting for Trump would have to cast their Christianity aside.

A tough task? Apparently not. The Cult of Republicanism turned out to be stronger than the religious beliefs of roughly 62 million people. In fact, multitudes of Republicans wrote their local newspapers and posted on social media that Trump had actually been chosen by Jesus! Think about that for a minute. If Jesus existed as depicted in the Bible, why would he choose a man like Trump to be America’s president? The only thing more ridiculous would be choosing Dr. Hannibal Lecter to perform your liver transplant surgery.

Although there is no simple solution for deprogramming a cult, we can look behind the curtain for guidance. While influential Republicans rarely admit to being anti-education, their actions say otherwise: the right-wing comic strip Mallard Fillmore frequently rails against schools, conservative talk show hosts rant about intellectual elites, and Republican politicians slash education funding every chance they get.

Trump correctly bragged he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. He also deftly proclaimed his love for the poorly educated. Cults don’t question, and education is a cult’s greatest enemy. Therefore, for the rest of us, vigorously supporting education is our best hope for eventually returning the GOP to sanity.

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