Making People Believe

As many of my regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Heather Cox Richardson’s daily newsletter. She provides considerable facts and figures that many of us probably would never know about because we don’t do the in-depth reading and research that she does.

But I also like that she writes from a factual perspective — and provides numerous source links to back up her reporting.

In her most recent newsletter (9/25/20), she pinpoints how the Trump administration (and most particularly Trump himself) is doing all it can to influence voters in the upcoming election. Of course, many of us are familiar with these maneuverings, but sometimes putting them all together in one place can be very revealing.

Consider her thoughts in this paragraph from the referenced issue:

Trump and his cronies are trying to create their own reality. They are trying to make people believe that the coronavirus is not real, that it has not killed more than 200,000 of our neighbors, that the economy is fine, that our cities are in flames, that Black Lives Matter protesters are anarchists, and that putting Democrats in office will usher in radical socialism. None of these things is true. Similarly, Trump is trying to convince people that he can deploy the power of the government to remain in power even if we want him to leave, creating uncertainly and fear. By talking about it, he is willing that situation into existence. It is a lie, and we do not have to accept it. 

I emphasized those first three words of that last sentence for those who see Trump as the Savior of America which, according to the video below, many people do.

When I first watched this video, my immediate reaction was how much Trump’s followers resemble people who belong to a cult! They are totally convinced that anything and everything their Leader says is Truth. Even when, as shown in the video, they are confronted with facts and evidence, they continue to believe their Revered Leader.


Trumpism can be understood as right-wing political extremism transformed into a cult. This is not just a metaphor. Trump’s lies, his assault on reality, his threats of violence, his cruelty, his demand of absolute loyalty, his manipulation of willing subjects who choose to escape empirical reality, and his shared state of collective narcissism with his followers all fit the definition of a cult.

What is truly scary is how difficult it is to deprogram cult members …

Culture Shock

The following is from a post written by “Emma.” She explains that within a few years after migrating to the U.S. from Poland (over 25 years ago), she wrote a piece that described her feelings at the time. While her entire post is quite touching, for me this particular entry from her earlier piece really hit home.

The first one [stage of adjustment] was related to a tremendous culture shock – everything was so different that not being able to understand, I despised it. I hated everything: food lacking taste and full of preservatives; huge, ugly cars; commercials on TV and in magazines; being called by my first name, the striking omnipresent urge to impress everybody around with one’s possessions and status. My first impression of America was depressing: it seemed to be a country being destroyed by mighty commercialism, and deeply split along the lines of gender, race and class. A place populated by salesmen, where everybody was in the never ending process of buying or selling something with the highest profit, hardly appeared friendly or hospitable. Those temporarily not involved in the selling circuit were busy trying to get in touch with their inner victim.

I don’t think many of us can deny that her “culture shock” aptly describes the American way of life. And it’s not very flattering.

While the post is personal, she offers a bit of political insight by showing how her feelings/experiences were/are similar to “Trumpism.”

I urge you to read the entire post.