Today they would’ve called us geeks or nerds
But when I was a kid we were the misfits, the oddballs
The ones who ate lunch at the ketchup smeared cafeteria table
None of us had cars or the money to eat off campus
all we had was acne, braces and Walmart clothes
Individually we were vulnerable and easily bullied
but as a pack we were freaks of nature to behold, a beautiful mess
We were the ones that were too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too smart, too shy, glasses too thick, too this, too that, and all the things that come after “too”
The one gift of being “too” is that it allowed us the freedom to not give a shit
about what others thought or said
We carried our band instrument cases with pride
The weirder the case, the better, and I think the french horn was one of the more cryptic ones
The cello was the Yeti of all cases and sure to turn a few heads on the bus
You could hear the hushed voices saying “What the heck is in there?”
Making its way down the narrow bus isle, banging the case into the bullies heads
“pardon me” spoken with mock sympathy
We found the halls best sonically suited to practice the Messiah
And we sang with gusto as the football players, cheerleaders, skaters and preppies filtered by
Some would actually stop and listen, while wise asses would goof off by making fart noises from down the hall
We read fantasy and SIFI books, we were proud Trekkies
We were at home in our daydreams and fantasies
Yes, we were virtual kings and lords of the video games we conquered
We were kids doing kid shit, in no hurry to be cornered by grown up responsibilities
The girls in our clan didn’t fit into the strict rules of fashion and make up
They were smart and had a good sense of humor
They allowed guys like me to give them a ride on my handle bars
crashing into the tall weeds, an accident becoming the prelude to an innocent kiss—–maybe not an accident??? maybe not so innocent???
All the pretty girls were constrained and selling their souls to be popular
They seemed in a hurry to grow up fast and become dissatisfied adults
with Republican biases, expecting to be privileged, smiling smug, indifferent, clinging to their 401 K’s, mouthing simple answers to complex questions, marching like a minion to Fox News and its right wing christian hypocritical drumbeat, dismissing everything and everyone outside their protective bubble of good paying job, new SUV and nice house in the suburbs, with their gardener Jose, whom they never asked to verify his citizenship or green card along with Juanita their maid
for them being an adult was just an extension of high school, sacrificing ones self to fit in with the most current trends
Occasionally I pull out my old battered cello and squeak out a wobbly rendition of our school fight song
Soundtrack “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones.
I’m two beers and a shot past midnight as I make my way down a rainy street on a dying Sunday.I pass an old rundown house that’s still wearing it’s Christmas lights in late March. What a sad and pathetic sight. But after all, everyday down here feels as morose as the day after Christmas.I stroll past a group of bums huddled together under a tiny bus-stop shelter. They aren’t sad, they throw their heads back and laugh and hack deep husky coughs. I watch as they pass their generic cigarette around and count their beggars change to buy another bottle.This is socialism at its best.
I score a couple of rocks from a big black dude who’s street name is killer.He has sleepy red eyes and a bulge under his leather coat that corroborates how he’d acquired his nick name. Killer is an evolutionary capitalist, his philosophy is that the big fish eat the little fish. He wears a face that says “Don’t fuck with me”. This corner is his domain and if you know what’s good for you, you won’t question his Province.
I lean against the wall of the damp alley and light my pipe. I smell and taste that familiar chemical flavor I’d been craving.I’d promised myself that this would be my last time and that tomorrow I’d straighten up and start writing my great American novel. Man, when I’m high I can feel a million stories exploding through veins.I’d love to write some of this shit down, but I’ve pawned my computer, my phone————-my soul.
The devil keeps my redemption locked up in a cage down in that fiery netherworld. Salvation is a hard thing to come by when the key to it is held by my worst enemy—– that enemy being me. You see, the devil isn’t in the drug, it isn’t in the guy who sell’s me the shit, it’s in the bullshit I feed myself.We all have our devils and demons, but some of us just feed our’s better than others. I’ve gone from believing I’m the master of the beast to realizing that I’m his slave in a freak-show.
I’ve decided that today will be the day I stand up and face the devil and his cadre of demons. I’m going down into the belly of the beast to do battle.It won’t be as simple as one battle, it will be a lifelong war.Satan has the high ground, he can give me extreme earthly pleasures.He will make me feel like I’m right and the world is wrong.He’ll support my victim mentality. But there’s a high price to paid for unearned luxury.
There are only three types of people who dare trespass into the belly of the beast.They’re either holy men, madmen or those who have come to the stark realization that it’s either fight for redemption or dive into those eternal flames. I’m in the latter group, I’ve used up all my excuses and burnt all my bridges. I’d worn out all my friends and family and squandered whatever potential I once possessed. I’m done waiting on someone or something to come and save me. Salvation is a personal quest.
Some go into the belly of the beast and never resurface.Some go there and resurface as a Bodhisattva.And then there are those who lose their mind in search of their soul.But if you’re gonna go down there, you gotta go all the way and you gotta go it alone. No one can save you from yourself——–but yourself.
Hell is knowing that you’re a fraud, it’s hating yourself for becoming the worst possible version of what might have been. It’s intentionally pushing everyone away who cares about you because it hurts too much to have others care about something you’ve long ago given up on My god, I’m fucked up——but here I am again, in the alley, siting on the curb with my feet in the gutter. Damn, it’s so hard to believe I can do better when I feel worthless.Hating everyone and everything made my addiction bearable, these dark emotions fueled my self destruction. Self hatred has robbed me of my most potent of tools; love and courage. When I descend into that inferno I will need love to be my sword and courage my armor. I’m tired of being ashamed——-tired of being sick, tired of being what I’ve become.
I’m on a dark stairway that’s slippery from the blood of broken hearts. Above there’s a chandelier constructed of sun bleached bones. There’s a chorus of horrifying screams and god forsaken moans from the other lost souls. In the background an organ plays its mournful dirge. I tentatively push open the squeaky gates causing a flock of bats to take flight. The beating of their wings startles me.
There is a heaviness in the air, it feels as if this place is the center of gravity for all of the worlds unforgiven sins. I make my way down a candle lit corridor.It opens up into a cavernous cathedral of horrors.From the ceiling there swings decaying corpses with their red bulging eyes dislodged from their sockets. Drooling zombies rush about with dozens of hypodermic needles stuckin their arms.A goole hunches over a withering body as he repeatedly stabs at it and then licks the blood from his knife.In the shadows ragged figures fornicate with half goat, half human creatures. This is not only the theater of the absurd, it’s a chamber of pure evil. Above me flying beast with bat wings screech and rain spit down on me.The air is filled with an over powering oder of rotting flesh.Creatures in chains with putrid breath scream out asking for mercy as they are being led by demons into a lake of fire.From the lake comes the revolting smell of singed hair and burnt flesh.
Every fiber of my being is telling me to turn around and bolt back up the stairs to a place of green fields, where I might negotiate for forgiveness and pray for the rarest of commodities——-a second chance.Sitting upon a throne on a high riser sits Lucifer the prince of darkness. His eyes are red like burning coals, where his feet should be there are hoofs. He amuses himself with an anaconda as it curls and constricts around his arms and neck.He bites into an apple and offers me a sinister grin. He stretches out his hand and asks in a deep throaty voice “How about a nibble? You look like a lover of forbidden fruit.”I nervously shake my head no.He stands up and yells in a death metal scream “What the fuck do you want?” I try to speak but my mouth is to dry to form a word.“Speak up you little bastard, a good servant should never makes his master wait.”
I muster all my courage and manage to speak in a squeaky voice “I’ve come to take my soul back.”He throws his head back and laughs.“You’ve got a fucking short memory. You signed the fucking contract. You traded your soul for all those little goddamn things you said you wanted, desired, needed.”My fear was beginning to lean towards anger.“You never gave me shit.You used me.” He looked me straight in the eye and laughed.“You struck a deal with the devil, what did you think you’d get, honesty, integrity? You’re gonna get what you fucking deserve, an eternal timeshare in hell.”He removed his purple robe and spread a pair of huge black wings.“Do you like my wings? I can give you wings just like these. All you have to do is to continue to do my bidding. Just keep being as bad and evil as you have been and someday you’ll have dominion over all this darkness.” He offers me a mocking thunderous laugh.
“I don’t want your wings. I don’t want your darkness. I want my soul back.Our contract is void because you never gave me any of the things I bargained for.” He gives a snide little snicker as one of his minions fly to his side and hands him a paper. “Here is your contract.Now let’s take a little gander at what you traded your sour for.Number one. You asked for ecstasy and I gave you crack—check. Number two. You asked for a loyal family. I gave you a group of gang bangers made up of thief’s, thugs and murders—— check. Number three. You asked for a profession. I made you a thief to support your drug habit—–check. Four. You asked for unrestricted sex with many.I made you a prostitute to support your drug habit——check. Number five. You asked for freedom. I gave you the street and homelessness—–check. Number six. You asked for a purpose.I made you an addict—– check.” “You tricked me.You twisted my words and made a fool of me.”“No shit, I’m the devil and that’s what I fucking do.I break hearts, I steal souls, I tear apart families and friendships.I’m a destroyer of hope, a revoker of faith. And now it’s fucking time for you to pay up ass hole.”
I stammered, “What about love? What about self respect? Why can’t you give me those things?”He just shook his head, “I can’t give you what you’ve never asked for.Those are things only you can give yourself.You should’ve read the small print kid.”He points to the backside of the contact where there’s an extremely small line of written words. In a mocking voice satan reads from the contract. “By signing this contract I agree to no longer love myself.I agree to shed myself of all integrity and self respect.I will be an instrument of hate and loath everyone, everything——including myself.”He stretched out his wings in a show of power. “Something you dumb shit mortals never seem to understand is that if you don’t love and respect yourself, then how the fuck can you ever love or respect anyone else.”
He straightens the gold pentagram around his neck. “I have power over many things, but I have no dominion over love and ones self worth——those things are god given. I deal in the transitory sins such as desire, vanity, money, greed, drugs, pride, alcohol, sex, power and possessions. These are the tools that make it easy for me to enslave mortals such as you. These bargaining chips are extensions of the seven deadly sins, also known as the cardinal sins spoken of in Revelations. It never ceases to amaze me—–what evil mortals will do for such petty prizes.”
He spread his wings and circled around before landing in front of me. He encroaches into my space. “I’ll give you back your soul under one condition. You must deliver to me a man who rivals my evil, possesses my hate and has the power to deceive and divide humanity. I need such a man to lead my apocalypse. Do you accept my challenge?”I allowed myself to show some bravado as I stared straight into his eyes.“I know of such a man.He worships all the things you have to offer. He’ll gleefully exchange eternal damnation for your earthly pleasures.He will mount and lead the charge of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”Satan nodded in confirmation.“So be it! I will provide whatever is needed to make this monumental deal a sucess.” He grimaced showing his yellow fangs and exhaled a ball of fire that singed my eyebrows and hair.
I awoke face down in a dumpster.In a daze I stumbled out of the alley.Had I awoken from a nightmare or was this vision a drug induced hallucination? There lingered the smell of burnt hair in the air and the soles of my boots left a trail of bloody footprints.I knew then and there that I’d struck a deal with the devil and this would be my final chance to redeem my soul.
I opened my wallet to find it stuffed with hundred dollar bills.I went to the most expensive tailor in New Your and purchased the finest suit that money can buy.I then went to a spa to have my hair styled, a shave and a manicure.I placed both my hands on my briefcase and summoned the credentials I would need to close this deal.I looked in the mirror and was amazed at my transformation. If you can judge a book by its cover, then I resembled a wind swept hero on the cover of a cheap pulp fiction paperback.
I sat in the back seat of my chauffeured limousine as it made its way down 5th avenue towards midtown I opened my briefcase and retrieved a cellphone with the number of my contact preprogramed.I pressed the dial button and waited for someone to answer. From the other end there came a stern and impatient voice, “Hello.” When I responded l was surprised to hear my voice come out with a thick Russian accent “Hello, I think you know who I am. I’m your handler from the East. I was hoping thatyou’d be available for a discrete meeting? And, if you are available, I’d like to introduce you to the greatest deal maker of all time.” I knew that this comment would set a hook in his ego. From the other end of the phone there came a gasp.“Bullshit!Everybody knows that I’m the greatest dealmaker that’s ever lived.Who the hell is this person you’re speaking of, and what does he have to offer me?” “He has anything and everything that you’d ever desire, at a basement price.In fact, he’s willing to take matters deeper than the basement.” He responded “I’m a busy man, so this had better not be a waste of my fucking time. I’ll meet with you and your so called deal maker. I’ll show you both who’s the greatest deal maker of all time. I’ll let security and my secretary know to allow you and your Monty Hall impersonator into my tower.”
I felt that little head rush that comes when taking an elevator to the the upper floors.The elevator stops at the thirteenth floor and in walks an immaculately dressed Lucifer. He tips his hat and offers up a sinister smile “Thirteen is my favorite number.”I press the button for the top floor. The elevator doors opens and we’re escorted into a large office.Behind the dark oak desk is a huge floor to ceiling window with a panoramic view of New York city’s skyline.One might even mistake this grand office as heavens vestibule.
“Please have a seat”He gestures for us to take a seat in the leather chairs facing his desk.“So, my Russian friend here say’s that you want to offer me one hell of a deal?” The devil nod’s and begins “Yes, I think you and I have much in common and many similar interests and aspirations. You are also a man of wealth and taste who possesses great intelligence. You alone are the only one who has the capacity to rule this floundering world.” I sit back and watch as he sets the hook ever deeper into his narcissistic soul. “I have the power to make all of your dreams come true.” Feigning disinterest, he leans back in his desk chair and begins to clean beneath his fingernails with a pewter letter opener with the initials “DT” carved into the handle. “And in exchange for this what do want from me?”“I will get to that, but first let me tell you of all the things I can lay at your feet.”
“I will make you the most powerful man in the world.I’ll give you authority over the largest and best equipped army ever assembled.I’m offering you the power to destroy your enemies with the push of one button.I will give you the ability to make your followers believe your lies as if they were indisputable truths. I will rain down on you billions and billions of dollars.As for women, I will make it possible for you to lay down with Playboy centerfolds and Porn Stars.I will make you more famous than the pope and you will be worshiped like the greatest of pop stars. You will be famous with your name and face plastered on every magazine, TV news program and newspaper. You will have every material comfort that any man might ever ask for.I offer you these things because I know that you are a man of discriminating taste and know the virtues of fame and fortune.”
He places his letter opener on the desk and folds his arms.“You have my attention.But what is it you want from me?”“What I require from you is written within this contract.” He motions for me to open the briefcase and provide him with a contract. “I’ve taken the liberty to draw up a cursory contract itemizing the minor concessions you need to provide in exchange for all the gifts, pleasures and powers I will bestow upon you.”
“Let me read to you the paltry stipulations required on your part. You must turn your back on those who’ve trusted in you.You will side with the East cover the west and in doing so you’ll solidify your earthly power.You will use your orator skills to deceive and manipulate the masses with lies and falsehoods.You must use all your powers to sew divisiveness.You will exploit the diversity in individuals and cultures to fan the flames of hatred. You will build walls to separate countries and foster mistrust. You must be willing to separate families and cage children. You will turn people against one another by promoting fear and hatred.Through fear and hatred you will create friction between faiths, nationalities, races, gender, political affiliations and ideologies. You will take credit for the rising stock-market making the rich richer, while the less fortunate die due to the lack of shelter, food and water. As chaos rages around you, you shall retreat to your castles and send out inflammatory rhetoric fueling your fires of divisiveness and hate. Many are called but few are chosen, and because of your greatest, you are the chosen one.” The hook has been set, the line now drawn taut and all that was left to do was reel him in.
He unfolds his arms and clasps his hands together.“This sounds like a reasonable deal, but what about those who are close to me? I must be provided with an assurance that I will have the power to pardon them from all earthly laws.”“Yes of course.I will also allow you the power to pardon yourself of earthly laws.You will have dominion over all earthly laws because you will be above the law.If this meets with your satisfaction all you need to do is sign right here on this doted line.”
He takes a golden pen from his pocket and reaches out for the contract. Satan shakes his head and takes the pen from him and hands him the pewter letter opener. “I’m sorry my friend, but I’ll require that signature in blood.”He takes the letter opener and grimaces as he pierces the tip of his finger. He then smiles “Sir, you drive a hard bargain but I’m the only one who’s truly mastered the art of the deal.” He pushes back his orangish hair to reveal a set of stubby horns. “As you can see I’ve acquired my horns. I can’t wait to earn my wings.”
In order to retrieve my soul I headed back down into the belly of the beast. “I’ve fulfilled my obligation and I’m here to retrieve my soul.” The devil gives me a little smirk and responds “I’ve been thinking about you and was hoping that perhaps we might work a new deal. I remember you once saying something about wanting to write the great American novel. I could maybe help you out with that.” I defiantly shake my head no. He continued “Imagine having your novel being number one on the New York Times best sellers list. I can arrange that. In addition, how about having your novel recommended reading by Oprah’s book club? I can make that happen too. Maybe we could arrange to have that novel turned into to a screen play and a winner of numerous Oscars. You’re so talented and gifted, it’s only right that you receive some recognition and compentsation for all your hard-work.” I could feel my chest begin to swell with the thought of attaining all of these accolades. “I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up this little arrangement and it awaits your signature.” I take the contract and pen in my hand and stare at the dotted line. I take a deep breath and hesitate. I pick the contract up and tear it into pieces. “I’ll take my soul back now—–and as for you—–you can go to hell!”
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, respectively.
The seven deadly sins or cardinal sins.
The seven capital sins, also commonly referred to as the seven deadly sins or cardinal sins, are pride, greed (or covetousness), lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. These are thought to be the sins to which human nature is most susceptible, and they are said to be the origins of other sins.
It takes space to give a person or a thing a fresh perspective.Time tastes like expensive bourbon—–at first a cozy burn in my belly, then a flushed buzz across my reddened face, followed by a grimace and a wince.Yesterday and tomorrow remain the same and open to interpretation. Everyone changes, some for the better, others for the worse.I’ve always contended that to be understood is to be loved.But, you can’t understand someone until you let go of your relationship with their relationship. There is often much truth in what appears to be a bizarre contraction.
People are complicated, relationships are messy, normality is a mirage—-we’re all blind to our disfunctions. One man’s crazy is another man’s fetish. I wonder what parts of me are living in you? And, what parts of you will always be withheld from me?Cause if I’m gonna love you, I gotta touch, taste and feel all of you. I’ve walked around in you, I awoke inside you; what a beautiful world. There’s much hidden in the fog of what we desire verses what we get and who we wanna be verses what we’ve become. I wonder how you’d privately describe me to your girlfriends. Woman talk about men as if they were capital. They estimate their earning power and their value on the free market. “He buys me whatever I want. You ought to see his portfolio.” Men talk about women as if they were property, as if they were a new sports car. “Look at what I own, look how shiney and pretty she is. She does whatever I ask her to do, and I mean anything.” I swear I’ve felt you walk through me, what a strange world in which to lose yourself. The record skips at the same old place every time, our steps go in circles, yet as hard as I try, I still step on your toes—–
Out of thin air we found one another, our chemistry volatile. Desire is like a rubber band.If never stretched it will become brittle and one day break when most needed.Or, if stretched beyond what it’s capable of handling, it will abruptly snap. What we expected isn’t what we hoped for. What we get is karma and karma reminds us of what we deserve—–So, you better stop.
I have this ex-lover I carry around with me like a faded legend. I have these movie reels of us taking up space in my head. In one we’re in a stark white room and we’re both wanting to be touched by the other, but instead we keep poking our fingers into one another’s soft spots.And then there’s the reel of us driving down a flat endless desert road and were fighting over the steering wheel.The brakes fail us as we careened out of control.The horizon becomes a cliff we fly over into oblivion. I’ve been told that oblivion is where new stars are born from the explosions within dying stars. Now, isn’t that the way of nature, creating beauty out of cruelty, birthing new beginnings from our finalities.
Laughter is the orgasm of the soul….God smiles knowing the punchline lies within us all………
I’ve heard the quote by Michelle Obama “When they go low, we go high”. That may hold true in many circumstances, but when dealing with a bully, sometimes the best response is a punch in the nose. Trump is a bully and bullies maintain their power through fear and intimidation. With impunity he makes fun of others and uses immature tactics such as name calling. He threatens to unleash his wrath on those who challange or disagree with him. His own republican party is afraid to confront him. In fact, there’s no longer a republican party, it’s now the Trump party. A party that embraces divisiveness, hatred and trades in the currency of lies. If you choose not to be a victim, then you need to stand up to this bully and fight back.
A bully strolls about the playground taking cuts in line, taking other’s lunches and bragging about their greatness. They create a reputation that allows them to act as if they are above rules and laws. They demand complete loyalty and respect from others and expect their circle of minions to do their dirty work. When they are in the wrong they refuse to apologize. They place blame on others and never accept personal responsibility for their flaws and faults.
It’s time that someone figuratively give Trump a punch in the nose. The funny thing about bullies is they depend on people being docile and not standing up to them. It’s similar to dealing with bullies in a prison setting. If you don’t stand up for yourself the prison bullies will be eating your lunch, taking your canteen money and calling you their bitch……(doesn’t that sounds like something Trump would say).
Once someone fights back at a bully and gives them a figurative bloody nose, others begin to realize that he is not superhuman or invincible. Bullies can be humbled, hurt and defeated like everyone else. In fact, bullies are usually quiet thin skinned and easily befuddled. A bully does not respond to reason or logic, the only way to defeat a bully is to go toe to toe and give them a taste of their own medicine.
I am by no means advocating physical violence against Trump or his followers. But I’m advocating a need to stand up to those who are bullies and misusing their power. When a bully chooses to fight dirty, you have two choices. You can remain civil and mannerly while getting your ass kicked, or you can take your gloves off too. If someone decides to hit below the belt, then I say bring it on! If a baker reserves the right to deny services to a gay couple, then why shouldn’t a restauranteur reserve the right to deny service to Sara Sanders. How did it feel for her to be treated like a minority, like a refuge, like someone with no money, power or privilege. When Trumpers are given a taste of their own medicine, they ironically play the victim card. I say give Trump and his buddies a taste of their own medicine.
My first punch is to make up a moniker for Trump, just as he has so often done to others (do unto others as they do unto you). I will refer to him as “Truth-less Trump”. This suits him well due to his aversion to the truth. Or, how about “Doofus Don”. This pseudonym refers to his immature tendencies of mugging for the camera and his childish need to be the center of attention. Then there’s “Toupee Trump”, fake hair to go along with his fake news.
My second punch is to not allow him to dominate or manipulate the conversation. When he starts blathering on and not allowing others to speak or attempts to change the topic, interviewers need to demand that he answer the specific question. When he tells falsehoods or lies, he needs to be challenged to provide facts and legitimate reference to support his claims. He is a master purveyor of “fake news” and propaganda. The truth is kryptonite to cereal liars.
My third punch is to hold Truth-less Trump and his minions to the precepts of our democracy. There needs to be a relentless campaign that exposes all of the instances that Truth-less Trump and his administration have manipulated the truth and abused their power. This includes the times that Truth-less Trump and his administration have lied, falsified facts, misused taxpayers money, paid hush money to a porn star, used crude and inappropriate language, incited violence and promoted racism, sexism and fanned the flames of divisiveness. His past and ongoing flagrant lies need to be delineated and repeatedly exposed. Truth-less Trump uses this technique of relentlessly repeating his lies and falsehoods in tweets knowing that if he repeats something enough times his mindless followers will accept it as the truth. In the month of May 2018, Truth-less Trump has used the term “witch-hunt” 15 times on his tweeter account (reference Times@realtrump). Fox News is his ally in repeating, spreading and promoting his propaganda.
Trump has used his platform as president to humiliate others, to degrade private businesses and mock anything or anyone he does not like. He make Don Rickles look like a motivational speaker.
Don’t be lulled into complacency or become immune to Truth-less Trumps incessant barrage of bullshit. Democracy is fragile and we need to fight to keep it intact. The rich and powerful have always tried to destroy democracy or manipulate it to serve their selfish goals. Democracy has faith in the goodness of the majority. It is a political system that believes that there are more good then bad folks, that there are more wise individuals then fools, that there are more compassionate people than self centered individuals and that truth will always prevail over lies.
Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are scared. Many have died to protect the civil liberties and freedoms we enjoy today. I encourage you to vote for those who will restore our civil liberties and protect our democracy from the corrupt and mean spirited. I say, “When they go low they’d better be ducking, cause I got a right hook they aren’t expecting”.
I have come to the conclusion that Trump has all the qualities of a cult leader. In spite of his broken promises and litany of false statements, his fanatical followers remain mesmerized and loyal. In this piece I’m going to examine the psychology of why people hand their minds, their very lives and souls over to charlatans and con men.
Cult leaders such as Trump are master manipulators. They possess a bag of tricks that provide them with the power to control individuals who are vulnerable. The individuals who are lured into a cult have a need to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They are looking for a way to avoid the angst of an existential crises. Charley Manson, Jim Jones and the Hitlers of the world are quick to recognize individuals who are willing to give up their independence in exchange for a leader that provides them with simple answers to life’s complex questions.
Trumps campaign promises were built on unrealistically simple solutions. Here’s a sample of some of his quick, easy and absurd solutions—–Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, seize and deport millions of immigrants, quickly and effortlessly wipe out ISIS and all related terrorist groups, immediately withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan, renegotiate all of the United States trade agreements with his “Art Of The Deal” smarts, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with his secret program that he claimed would be cheaper and provides better coverage, provide the middle class with a huge tax break while vowing to never reduce funding for the Social Security program, dropping the United States support for the Paris Climate Agreement because climate change is fake science, to discharge all transgender individuals from the military, to bring back coal mining jobs, to drain the swamp in Washington by kicking out all the lobbyist and special interest groups.
The crowds at his rally’s cheered and applauded enthusiastically as he made these baseless promises. They believed that his path to “Making America Great Again” would be simple. He provided no details or substance to his promises, they were emotional slogans designed to appeal to a frustrated and angry constituency. The impulses of anger ultimatley lead to poor decision making.
His support has gradually begun to shrink, but many of his core supporters continue to believe in his campaign slogan to “Make America Great”. But like the cult leader who’s end of the world prediction date fails to materialize, there are followers who still continue to be loyal to him and his failed promises. Such individuals are so emotionally and mentally invested in the cult and its leader, that it becomes impossible to back out and admit that they’ve been duped. Ironically, as the leader is exposed to be a fraud, his core followers become more fervent in their loyatley. Fanaticism is fueled by impulsive emotions rather than logic and common sense.
Lets examine some of the common traits shared by cult leaders and Mr Trump.
They are authoritarian and demand an unquestioning loyalty. Trump expected to receive James Comey’s vow of personal loyalty and manipulate him into dropping the Russian collusion investigation.
Followers are expected to not ask any questions of the cult leader, but to blindly believe what the leader states as truth.
Followers are told that facts, data or information that’s contrary to the cults beliefs are fake or false (fake news?). The cult leader is the only conveyer of truth. His reality is to be accepted as the groups reality.
Followers are taught that there are two worlds, an evil outside world and then there is the cults version of the world/reality as defined by the cult leader.. There is no gray area, it is a black and white choice.
These leaders present an “us against them” scenario. They exploit the differences between races, religions, nationalities and sexual orientation. Individuals that hold different beliefs than the cults are judged as inferior and evil.
The cult leader will use divisiveness, fear and hate speak to scare their followers into trusting no one but them. They will tell their followers that those who are not devout to the cults cause are the enemy who are taking their jobs, their resources, their America.
These leaders deflect personal responsibility by casting blame on others. It’s the media, the deep state, the democrats, the republicans, the alt-left, the alt-right, the Muslims the Mexicans, the Chinese etc…..Cult leaders never accept blame, they cast blame on everyone other than themselves.
Followers are isolated from outside information and influences. Followers are instructed to read and listen to specific outlets that support the cult beliefs e.g. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Fox and Friends and other programs that espouse supportive propaganda. Cult followers live in a close minded bubble.
Cult leaders believe that laws and appropriate moral conduct does not apply to them. Due to their position of authority and power they often use and abuse followers. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
They expect to be catered to and showered with praise. They are narcissistic and egocentric. They lack empathy and the ability to understand the suffering of others.
Cult leaders will claim to be superior to their followers. They believe that they are more intelligent or have augmented skills above and beyond a normal person. Trump stated that he knows more than the generals. He brags that his ingenious “deal making skills” and business savvy qualify him as a superior leader. Some cult leaders even claim to be ordained by god to lead the cult to salvation. Some may say that god speaks directly to them. Trump stated: “Well I think I was born with the drive for success because I have a certain gene”.
Cult leaders can never admit that they are wrong. They will never offer an apology. They will cast blame on others rather than own up to any of their mistakes or short comings.
They will use threats and bullying techniques to keep followers under their control. Fear is a weapon that they often employ. They may threaten physical and/or emotional harm to those not following the leaders rules. Trump has said he would like to punch a demonstrator in the face and has encouraged his followers to physically throw out demonstrators, suggesting that they be taken out on a stretcher. “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,”
They are paranoid. Any person who is perceived to be a threat to their power and control will be fired, banished or in someway separated from the group. Trump continues to have a phenomenal turn over in his administration.
They thrive on praise and attention. Trump fulfills this need by holding his rally’s in venues packed with his core fanatical followers.
Cult leaders prey on individuals who are emotionally weak and mentally lazy. These individuals seek out a leader to do their thinking for them. They willingly abdicate their personal power to a leader who will provide them with simple answers to life’s difficult questions. Below are some suggestions on how you identify and confront a cult leader.
Question authority. Just because a leader has an impressive title and is in a position of authority does not mean that their words are true or the intentions honorable. Don’t allow yourself to be misdirected or shamed for asking questions. Keep repeating your question until you are provided a logical answer verses emotional rhetoric
If you are offered a simple solution to a complex problem it is probably a campaign slogan and not a solution. Demand facts, data and detailed answers.
Do your research. Seek out information, data and input from multiple sources. If the majority of sources find that the facts are contrary to the leaders statements, then you need to side with the substantiated facts. Be ruled by your mind not your emotions.
Be willing to live in the gray area. Many of life’s complex issues do not have simple black and white answers. Learn to trust you own judgment. Play out the different outcomes to the proposed solutions in your mind before deciding what is the correct actions to take. Don’t be impulsive, take time to weigh the pro’s and con’s.
Be willing to admit when your assumptions and beliefs are wrong and make the appropriate adjustments. Don’t be emotionally attached to a truth or a belief.
If a leader is a bully and calls people names, threatens them or abuses them, he is a abusing his power.
Does the leader behave like a dictator or does he subscribe to a democratic method where the majorities input is unlisted and abided by.
If the leader is caught in multiple lies, fabrications and embellishments, his words are no longer to be trusted.
If the leader is a braggart and makes claims that are blatantly false, he is to no longer to be believed.
If a leader is divisive and dehumanizes those that challenge him, he is using hate speak to maintain control and power over followers.
If a leader lacks moral authority he is extremely dangerous. If he uses his power and position to abuse or encourage abuse of others, he is not fit to lead.
Democracy depends on the personal involvement of its citizens. In order for a fascist leader or an authoritarian leader to rule, it requires it’s citizens to no longer remain engaged in the political process. When citizens stop turning out to vote they are relinquishing their personal power. To combat fascism citizens need to hold their leaders accountable for the things they say or do. A healthy democracy includes a free press that fact checks politicians without being ridiculed or called “fake news”.
We are once again at a pivotal point in the struggle to preserve this grand experiment known as democracy. I encourage you to do your research and fact checking to draw your own conclusions regarding President Trump and his ability to lead this great country. I have come to the conclusion that he lacks the moral fiber, mental stability and trustworthiness to be a leader of a democracy.
I do agree with one thing that Mr Trump has touted, and that is we need to “Make America Great Again”. Lets start by stripping Mr Trump of his power by exposing his embellishment, fabrications and out right lies. Lets question his moral character by calling him out on his veiled racist statements as well as his past abuses of woman. Lets pull the covers on his corrupt administration and his flawed leadership. Don’t give up hope, stay involved, vote, call and write your representatives. Demand that your leaders speak the truth, have good character and lead with compassion and empathy.
You think you’ve grown up
but there’s still an eight year old inside you
still a 14 year old, an eighteen year old
A twenty something, thirty something
and so on and so forth
All these remnants are still
pieces buried within
Even after surviving all these life milestones
of age and time
The specter of these past characters
still rumble about
within you, they inhabit your
subconscious, slipping out
when least expected
Reach back and find
the little pieces of yourself
that live behind
the mirror, beneath the veneer of adulthood
Cry like a baby
stomp your feet
Scream “no” to everyone who
wants you to obey their rules
Play like its the last day of summer
Make love as if it’s the first time you’ve
ever felt the breath or skin of another
Lie, call in sick, sleep in
and then go to the beach
Take the long way home
because the radio is
playing a string of songs that
fit like a perfect soundtrack
to the swirling scenery passing
by your window
And it’s good to be alive
and you know it, as it’s
Keep on driving, miss your turn off
go to the woods and build a bonfire
sing songs, Skinny dip
hike unmarked trails
Call someone you miss
and will always miss
call and let them know
you’re thinking of them
Shove her up against the wall
and watch her look of surprise turn to desire
all that uncontrolled passion
that ache to be touched
melting between thighs and sighs
and muffled screams
Skip dinner and eat
chocolate cake with your hands
foster your imagination
All of life is a fantasy
make it up
as you go along
Never surrender your incurable curiosity
want everything, at once
all the time
Ah, yes—-to be alive
I run my hand along the rough red brick wall. If you could touch truth, this is what it would feel like, if you could wear yesterday, it would fit like this. Brick buildings never age, unlike most things, they never grow old, they are the silent sentinels keeping watch at eternities gate. Time is in the raindrop that erodes away the mightiest of mountains one patient drop at a time—-We never seem to notice the passage of time until one day the mountain is gone.
Brick and mortar merges man’s creative life-force with natures unfaltering power to endure. ——Such walls keep some things out and other things in——-it all depends on what side of the wall you find yourself falling or standing——
I envision all of those perfect rust colored bricks meticulously hand laid, so even, so artfully composed——-the craftsman’s sweat droplets mixed in the slurry and forever embedded within the cured cement—–blood, sweat and tears, like long lost fossils hidden between the layers of time.
Long after another generation’s life-story has been told and then consigned to oblivion, these edifices remain as statues to a forgotten past—— bricks like memories, one stacked upon the other—— one timeless moment entombed within a dying eternity.————-Tell me this? Why the brevity of life, we’re here then gone, everything and everyone just passing through, my grip on the ephemeral is slipping, the impermanence of it all has me chasing tomorrows horizon on this lonely highway.
Skyscrapers are impressive because of their hight. But there is no romance in their architecture. Their birth pushed out into loveless cement forms and fitted together with the support of I-beams. The spaces we live in define our culture. Our cities are gray, cold and crowded with despair, boxes within boxes, where men while away their lives in cubicles, sucking recirculated air, no songbirds cooing outside the tinted windows, only the ever present monotonous hum of air conditioners—–there’s no place to hide from those harsh florissant lights, the computer screen is our window to the world, the feel of cool damp grass no longer beneath our feet——it’s a landscape of migraines, mind-games and lost virtues. All the symmetrical lines make the few remaining trees and plants seem out of place.
All the old buildings in my hometown are constructed of stubborn bricks. There is grandeur in those old buildings, the church with its pious stained-glass windows, the honorable courthouse and contemplative library. These buildings of stone reminds us of our need for safety, shelter and community. I feel holy when standing in the ancient brick church with it’s towering steeple—-it pierces the heavens like a hypodermic needle, injecting god’s blue sky with silent prayers.
The first time I saw rain, I asked my mother what it was, this water falling from the sky. And she said it’s rain. I thought a child’s thought, how wondrous, this thing called rain, water falling from the sky cleansing the streets and sweetly scenting the world. Who’d of thought up such a phenomenal thing?
The rain made all the old red bricks appear new again. Everyone was in a hurry to escape the rain, but I stayed outside to enjoy this spectacle of water falling from the sky. I stood there with hands outstretched, head tilted back, mouth open, tasting rain, feeling rain.
I once asked my mother about the tiny specks of light twinkling in the night sky. She said they are stars and that there are billions and billions of them—- they are like our sun, but millions of light years away. She said some of these stars have already burned themselves out and we are looking at light from their past. I thought a child’s thought, these things called stars are even more mysterious than rain. I sat on the porch staring up at the Milky Way galaxy—–Rain and stars, how unbelievable yet beautiful.
Maybe this is what Buddha contemplated while meditating under his Bodie Tree. At peace with oneself and the universe, walking the middle path of love between the yen and the yang——intertwined with everything yet separate…….Insignificant and small, yet omnipotent and omniscient———wandering between the birth and death of each moment———Nirvana——-