Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cult of Personality



Things are really getting strange here in the “Land of the Free” …the “Broken Promised Land” …if you will. The American political machine is cranking up for the Grand Old Party’s second debate. Going into the debate with Donald Trump as the clear front runner begs the question… What the Hell is Donald Trump even doing on the stage?

Please know that this post is not an assessment… this is not an endorsement or a repudiation of “The Donald.” per se. It is a sincere quandary as to why has such a bombastic media personality… one with no real political experience or expertise… why has such a reality star/performer captured the fascination of the American public? What is it that so resonates with both Democrats and Republicans alike, within a political framework, that would place The Donald in serious contention for the Republican presidential nomination?

It would be understandable for The Donald to be popular within a pop media, Entertainment Tonight context. He is a reality star, after all. I can see The Donald right up there with the Kardashians, for example. Perhaps that’s why Kanya West announced his 2020 presidential candidacy… to re-claim market-share. The fascination of the American Public resembles, more than anything else, an infatuation with a charismatic leader.

Again, it is clearly not Donald’s political savvy… he has demonstrated that he has none. His position on immigration for instance, is to build a wall. To paraphrase his words: “It will be such a beautiful wall… and Mexico will pay for it... they’ll be glad to, believe me.”  That is his immigration policy, to date.

The question of “Why Donald?” becomes one of a phenomenon known as “Cult of Personality.” 

A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and at times, worshipful image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as "charismatic authority." A cult of personality is similar to divinization, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda usually by the state, especially in totalitarian states.

- Wikipedia

Donald has turned the use of “unquestioning flattery” on its head, by being rude, obnoxious and generally disrespectful, toward his rivals. A troubling aspect of this analogy… widely used by the American press… is the association of “cult of personality” with totalitarian states. Again, from Wikipedia…

Personality cults were first described in relation to totalitarian regimes that sought to alter or transform society according to radical ideas. Often, a single leader became associated with this revolutionary transformation, and came to be treated as a benevolent "guide" for the nation without whom the transformation to a better future could not occur. This has been generally the justification for personality cults that arose in totalitarian societies of the 20th century, such as those of Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and Ruhollah Khomeini.

This connotation is extremely unsettling, given the political climate in the US, ever since the Edward Snowden revelations… 

"The Simpsons" predict Trump Presidency

Read into the last statement what you will. The reality is that our political process has become a bazaar side-show in some dark, macabre circus… right out of the twilight zone. The problem is… this isn’t funny… this is not entertainment. Giving The Donald this kind of legitimacy is downright dangerous. The Republican Party... and the American public need to beware...

Be careful what you wish for... 'fore it will surely come true.