The farce of the Obama inauguration is mercifully in its final day, but the required mood of blind faith and non-specific hope is only entering a middle.
On his show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh brought up the topic of Jim Jones, the mass murderer slash spiritual leader of Jonestown. Rush skirted around the similarities between the two, but failed to discuss Jones' history before the horrible ending that garnered so much press. Before leaving the country to set up in Guyana, Jones was enmeshed in the politics of San Francisco.
Mayor Moscone, Governor Brown, Harvey Milk, Walter Mondale, first-lady Rosalynn Carter; all these powerful figures met with Jones repeatedly, speaking at his Peoples' Temple, using his volunteers for their campaigns, toasting him at special dinners where he was compared to Chairman Mao, MLK and Albert Einstein, pledging support and receiving aid from his ever-expanding cult. He was appointed to the Human Rights Commission as well the Housing Authority Commission. He bussed in his followers from other parts of the state and country to cast illegal votes for Moscone, and physically abused any followers who did not help to steal the election (which was completely successful.)
The general impression among democrats and newspapers of the time treated Jones as a modern-day Jesus Christ, which is exactly the role he cultivated once he decided to use religion as a means to his socialistic ends. The democrats saw his 'extended family' getting healthcare when they needed it, getting legal aid when they needed it, getting food when they needed it, and praised him for it. They knew they must keep on his good side in order to benefit from his massive base and 'volunteer' work force. They gushed and complimented and showered him with platitudes about hope and change, and a better America.
It is the defining characteristic of socialism to have a God-like figure leading the pack while preaching equality. It seems all one needs to do to gain followers is combine vague American-sounding ideals with powerful rhetoric. But that is a severe understatement, as the ability Jim Jones' had to manipulate and control the minds of other human beings is considered legendary and nigh inexplicable. Which is merely a way of describing his power over others as a rare, evil trait that is impossible to recreate.
Only it has occurred countless times throughout history; Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Chavez, etc. etc. Anywhere there are people, there are those who desire leadership, someone to make decisions for them, be responsible for them, care and guide and reassure them, whatever the cost. They are more than willing to forsake free will and whatever morality they once had for the promise of something easier.
Jones found this early. He used democratic ideals from the start, advocating desegregation and equal rights, cleaning up the bedpans of black patients in hospitals, adopting black children. His progressive convictions not only ensured his place in politics, but the brunt of his deadly loyal followers of which the majority was black.
So either people believed in his message, in him, or were just waiting for someone with a podium to come and tell them what to believe.
I think the parallels with Obama are obvious. His politics are vague and his promises change daily. He is the camp counselor who talks to you like a friend and in the same voice says "Everybody needs to pitch in" which you suddenly realize is an order. He is the epitome of liberalism; appealing to nebulous optimism and easy warm emotions we all share, and using them to advance whatever ambition and ideology he truly harbors.
The amount of deeply intelligent people I hear blindly repeating the same soundbites ("I never thought this would happen in my generation") horrifies me. That unity is so desirable we would sacrifice our personal beliefs for the sake of the whole is so un-American, so truly antithetical to freedom and what this country was created for, that I feel sick in contemplating the possibilities of the next four years.
It is classic science fiction. Only it isn't. The Flavor-Aid is being passed around, and there are only a few of us whose spider sense is tingling. I pray that the true American is strong enough an individual to discern the reality for themselves, to look past the sugar of easy rhetoric to the substance beneath, or the lack thereof. None of us deserve what we haven't earned. Our history, our freedom, our way of life is being threatened, and before we realize it and reach for our weapons, the fight will be over.