They stood by him time after time, ignoring the warning signs. The video exposing him as a sexual predator didn't hinder their support. He was still elected to the highest office in the land. The "fine people on both sides" statement after the "Unite the Right" rally caused some consternation. Still, his supporters carried on, convinced it was a misunderstanding. His background as a wealthy reality television star enhanced his charisma and charm. He said he cared about them, was one of them, and they rewarded him with the adulation and attention he so desperately craved.
Children in cages, tax cuts for the wealthy, payoffs to porn actresses, teargassing peaceful protestors at a church to shoot a photo-op, the worst response of any country to a pandemic, impeachment and 313 days of golfing: None of those acts during his term of office caused any loss of faith among the followers.
He refused to accept his loss for a second term, claiming that his opponent rigged the vote. Despite the lack of evidence for any fraud, The Leader kept repeating the lies. He said he won in a landslide. His followers still believed him and were hell-bent on ridding the country of communists, socialists, foreigners and any who opposed The Leader.
Conspiracies were invented, posted on social media and repeated by The Leader, and taken as truth by his followers. The lies came easily from The Leader's mouth. Attempts to show the truth of the lies were ignored because reason and logic have no place in a cult; it may sway you from the proper path.
His followers love him. They pour over every word he speaks, looking for hidden meanings. He won't give in and concede the election because he must have a plan for staying in power. He tells them to fight because he is fighting for them. No matter that the election votes were certified by every state. No matter that The Leader's legal team lost 59 of 60 appeals to the courts. Members of his own political party told The Leader that the election was fair, which enraged him further. He will deal with the traitors in time.
The last chance to retain power was for his Second-in-Command to step in and convince the weak politicians that the opponent's electoral votes were invalid. The Leader demanded action, telling the Second that he would earn rewards for his bravery. One more rally, staged while the Politicians began certifying the Electoral College votes, could give The Leader the chance to urge the faithful into action. So he raged in front of them. He told them to fight, to stop the stealing of the election from him. The Politicians were weak because they didn't believe The Leader's opponent stole the election. "You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."
And so, The Leader urged his followers to march to the Capitol and take back the country. But he did not lead or attend the march. He returned to The House and watched the proceedings on television. He became enraged that the Second did not prevail in changing the votes. He then saw his people arrive at the Capitol, overrun the police, smash windows and break doors. He cheered their actions but was confused that those around him were not sharing his happiness. The Leader began doubting his actions but did not move to stop the carnage.
The mob entered the building, several hundred strong. Journalists were harassed and beaten. Offices were broken into and vandalized. They ignored orders from the police and fought them. They smoked marijuana, took selfies, and posted videos of themselves to social media sites. Most did not wear masks, which made them more easily identifiable.
A police officer was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher and later died. Police shot and killed a woman as she tried to enter a secure room. Others died of "medical emergencies."
The Leader sensed a shift in the People's opinion of his actions and recorded a polite message to his followers, telling them to cease their activities and go home. He said they were "special," and "he loved them."
After about five hours, the police retook the Capitol from the mob. Many were arrested. Some expressed regret, their tone similar to waking from a drunken blackout. A few argued they did nothing wrong, that The Leader inspired their actions. Some lost their jobs, most lost their dignity. Many felt anger toward The Leader when he later denounced their actions.
But many in the mob were elated. They had tested a government building thought to be secure and breached it. Their actions made them bolder. They do not care about democracy, fair elections, or "peaceful transitions of power." They are anarchists, bent on causing chaos. Their Leader may fade away, but they are confident in finding another to shape weak minds into unthinking followers. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Chiang Kai-shek, Nehru, and Castro were all charismatic despots who preceded The Leader. All enriched their lives at the expense of those who followed them. Some of The Leader's closest allies are willing to step in and continue the work. You will recognize the New Leader when you see minorities suppressed, the disabled mocked, and the Free Press attacked. He has no empathy for the grief-stricken, no interest in the well-being of others, and no loyalty to those from whom he demands the same.
The Leader has another week left in his term of office unless his enemies prevail and remove him. His media feed was canceled, isolating him from speaking out, but his rage continues. The cult is still at large, seeking vengeance at the behest of The Leader. Plenty of time to destroy institutions, spread fear, and use violence to retain power.
Pray that sanity prevails, before the cult does more damage.
-- Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.