I see this was written three years ago. It's a narrative that ruined true, and is even more true today. Very insightful. CPAC conference this weekend…. Golden Trump statue? That's what made me start to really think about it this way.
So, some supporting evidence: r/the_donald usually refers to trump as “God Emperor”, but it’s the internet after all.
I see your points that Trump is infallible in the mind of his supporters, but I don’t share the take-away that it’s religious. I can see it as very logical. For a person who perceives Washington and the liberal agenda as marginalizing them for years on end, Trump is a necessary evil. His gross attitudes/behavior run orthogonal to what he represents… rebellion.
In that sense, I like the characterization that he’s a false prophet instead of a false deity. This theory is also falsifiable. If there were a candidate who was authentic, cared more about the concerns of Trump-voters, and hated washington, then Trump supporters would pick that candidate instead.
Interesting hypothesis. I agree that, if this is indeed the case, it cannot easily be changed by an argument.
I wonder how effective a comparison would be, if it began by asking a question regarding who the individual considers to be the higher power in their life. Choosing one over the other, who would he/she follow first? Trump or their religious patron?
With a few follow-up questions, I’d assume it’ll allow them to think about whether Trump aligns with the basis of their faith - or even who they consider themselves to be.
Definitely not an easy hypothesis to address and a difficult path to take - but I’m interested in seeing how this unfolds.
While true of hardcore Trump supporters, I feel that most of this could be said for any American politician at the moment (i.e past few decades). Hillary was a god to some, Bernie was a god to many. Obama, Reagan - both gods in their own camps to some degree. And the side effects are the same. People turn a blind eye to actions these politicians take even though it is counter to what they value or want.
It reminds me of an Aeon article on the good guy vs bad guy trope that seems to have dominated storytelling for the past few hundred years. The gist being that story tellers (in what seems originally may have been a political act) seek to unify a country or a group by telling stories when the good guys fight for values selflessly and the bad guys seek to rule so that they can impose their own heinous values. This complete lack of moral sophistication in the writing has consequences. If you see yourself as the good guy, there is no act that your side can make that will make it inferior to the bad guys because you have morals and they don’t. Robin Hood stealing is okay, despite the fact that we are not okay with stealing, because he was the ‘good guy’. Seeing the other side means abandoning your morals and being evil.
The author makes the point that this was not the case in earlier folktales. The Iliad had ‘sides’ - but neither Hector nor Achilles stood for something so purely evil as to be unsympathetic.
My take away was that we need to start writing better stories. We should make a sci-fi movie or book, where the sides are not Luke vs. Darth Vader - but two sets of reasonable, rational, and loving people who have a disagreement over a resource or plan. Perhaps the ‘better god’ you suggest is moral sophistication and complexity, rather than binary views of us versus them.
Very great points. I enjoyed reading this, especially since I wonder whether or not a comparison would be effective. Not particularly a comparison of bad vs. good - but of alignment, resemblance, similarity.
This makes me think of Jonathan Haidt who talks about “sacredness” - the real reason people are immune to Trump is that he upholds ideals and morals that are sacred to them (and sacredness here has nothing to do with religion of the Christianity type).
It might be interesting to understand what it the Trump religion really holds sacred. Its probably rampant racism, not caring for the weak or for anyone who looks different than you…what else? If someone preached in the Church of Trump, what would they say every Sunday?
If I look at my home country (we have plenty of examples of fallen gods, and the current prime minister is a good one) his voters turned against him when he didn’t <sarcasm> “end the modern German and IMF occupation of Greece” </sarcasm> particularly in regards to taxes. People expected very immediate and significant economic relief when he got to power, they didn’t get it, and they weren’t happy. Not sure this can apply to all of America of course, but it might to some groups.
I think that we should be discussing and reading about more than just American politics - the solution to Trump could come from learning from political maneuvers outside the US.