How far will his followers go?
I have no doubt that the president has finally reached the pinnacle of culthood, by holding rallies and speaking to largely unmasked throngs from the White House balcony during a pandemic. Cult leaders often demand more and more from their followers to satisfy their insatiable egos. The ultimate test is whether followers are willing to sacrifice their lives for them. Although Trump may not be doing so as openly as David Koresh or Jim Jones, he is clearly asking his followers to risk their lives for him. Will no one stop this madness?
Trump’s ‘bread and circuses’ are light on the sustenance
In the declining days of the Roman Empire, the emperors sought to mollify the citizenry with “panem et circenses,” or bread and circuses. Donald Trump is set to hold yet more rallies without first addressing the need for pandemic relief. In the declining days of our American empire, our would-be emperor has apparently decided to skip the sustenance and provide only the entertainment.
Maybe voters’ fancies aren’t so ticklish now
In his preface to the edition of Shakespeare’s plays that he co-edited in the mid-1700s, Samuel Johnson comments that “fanciful invention may delight awhile . . . but the pleasures of sudden wonder are soon exhausted, and the mind can only repose on the stability of truth."
Let us hope that many of the voters who were drawn four years ago to the “fanciful” inventions of Donald Trump will, in the 2020 election, choose to “repose on the stability of truth.”