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Trump Cult Cards

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Jeremy Sherman says all cults have one thing in common – an answer to every question and relief from our responsibility to struggle with the truth. 

Winter of ‘76 – Jim Jones and his cult followers had just drunk their poison Kool-Aid in Guyana – 900 dead, and I was off to Guatemala with my spiritual commune to do poverty relief work. My family was worried.

They were also annoyed by what I had become, a know-it-all, confident that I could beat any challenge to my smug, all-knowing spiritual truths. I had fallen for the cult mindset, that heady sense that you hold all the cards, a high so self-aggrandizing that people are willing to drink the Kool-Aid.

‘Aid’ is the operative word. Though my commune was wholesome, I pretended it fool-proofed my life, like it had issued me a deck of trump cards to trump all challenges to my humble authority, the greatest aid any of us could ever crave.

Life is an anxious affair. We all fear failure and therefore might be tempted by the fake trump-card aid that cults provide – I once was lost but now I’m found instead of I once was lost and could be still.


Today, we wonder whether the GOP has become the Trump cult. All cults are trump-card cults, issuing to members the same deck of fake get-out-of-fail-free cards. Cults don’t brainwash, they head swell. People throw all in to cults so they can keep all self-doubt out.

Cults come in all ideological flavors. What they have in common is that deck of fake trump cards, cheap-trick ploys for feigning infallibility, invincibility, and unassailability so members can make everyone else wrong for not agreeing with them.

Our common enemy, what we must resist all together, is trump-card cults. Because such cults gloat from all sides, we must grease our turrets.

Whatever floats your boat in life’s white-knuckle ride but not if it’s trump card gloating that sinks everyone who gets in your way.

I eventually got off my high-horse, much to my family’s relief. I surrendered those fake trump cards and got back to facing life’s white-knuckle ride. I’m so much more alive for it.

With a Perspective, I’m Jeremy Sherman.

Jeremy Sherman is a psychology and origins of life researcher.

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