When I was in college, I focused some of my studies of the Moonie cult. I was a Com major and studying a cult was a given for me, having grown up in the Bible Belt, having spent so much of my early years facing my own form of indoctrination both inside and outside the church.
Cults fascinated me. Even then, long before I became a journalist and/or writer, I had a gazillion questions about cults: Why did people join them? What made people so devoted that they’d walk away from family and friends, from jobs and homes, from community and education to be a part of a cult? And why were they so willing to suspend all logical thinking in order to serve somebody?
Back in that era, parents were hiring people to kidnap their kids from cults like the Moonies. They’d have those kids whisked away to some isolated location where they were then “deprogrammed.” I am not exactly sure how a person gets deprogrammed in a weekend. It’s taken me decades and years of therapy to get deprogrammed from some of the fallacious teachings I grew up under, specifically, the notion that black people are “less than” and women are “less than.” Maybe that’s why so many of these deprogrammers failed – they were trying to undo in 48 hours what had taken root over a lifetime of learning. Some parents went so far as to having priests come to their homes and performs exorcist-like rituals on their kids.
But then the Rev. Sun Myung Moon became friends with Jerry Falwell, even bailing him out of debt, and voila! all of sudden the Moonies became respectable members of a legitimate religion and not a cult.
I was thinking about all of that because of the excellent new Netflix series Wild, Wild Country. Have you seen it? It’s a documentary-series about when Antelope, Oregon – a wide-spot up the road a’piece – was overrun by a far-flung cult group, the Rajneeshees.
When they first showed up on the scene in Oregon, a lot of us shrugged our shoulders and thought they were a bunch of hippie-weirdos. They all wore these raspberry-colored garbs, which made them look like pink Smurfs running around in the rugged canyons and scrub-brush of Central Oregon. When people dress like Smurfs, it’s hard to take them seriously.
But as the documentary makes clear – and as the clan of ranchers and farmers and otherwise isolationists of Antelope knew all too soon – these folks were not to be trifled with. They were serious as the AR-15s they stockpiled on the sprawling ranch.
We were living in Portland when all this was unfolding. During that time, I had no idea the width and depth of the cult, nor the dangers of it. Probably because I had a newborn and was far more focused on my little world. Yet, as the film series reports in detail, the cult folks moved in and took over that farming and ranching community, displacing people’s lives and livelihoods and the town’s government.
They were immoral, yet, insisted that they had achieved a higher, clearer plane of consciousness.
They poisoned people, literally poisoned the unsuspecting, and yet insisted that they were there only to be good neighbors.
They threatened the towns people and law enforcement officials, yet insisted that they were the victims of a corrupt system.
They scammed people’s monies – sometimes whole life savings – all the while insisting that materialism would not bring anyone happiness (except the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh apparently).
They lied, bold-faced and without any sense of moral obligation to truth or law or even a Creator.
While watching the series, I kept being reminded how willing people are to suspend all logic, all sense of right from wrong, all sense of personal responsibility, all sense of fiscal responsibility, all sense of what is moral and good and descent whenever a charismatic personality comes along who makes them swoon.
Just like on our national forefront now.
We need to quit acting like what is happening is in any way, shape or form the result of an inability to work in a bipartisan way. We need to quit pretending that Republicans are going to wake up from this trance that the Bhagwan Trump has them in.
Innocent good-hearted people came to Antelope to check out this new age way of thinking. They became devoted Rajneeshees because of the wild orgies. Literally. Wild orgies.
Just like now. Republicans have traded in their core beliefs because Bhagwan Trump is hosting orgy after orgy of self-indulgence and the daily rape of our government, our land, our economy, our voting systems, and our way of life.
The motto of the cult of Republicans is the same as the motto of the cult of Rajneeshees – get all you can every day that you can for as long as you can.
We have to quit looking to Republicans to grow a backbone, or to get common sense, or to have a change of heart about Bhagwan Trump.
It’s never going to happen.
This base Media keeps referring to are in every way members of the cult of Bhagwan Trump.
Shaming them isn’t going to work.
Calling out their better natures isn’t going to work.
It’s very probable that these people will never ever come out of the cult.
What we have to do is what the people of Antelope did – find lawmen willing to hold these people accountable, willing to bring to bear the full force of the law against them, willing to wrestle the Constitution back out of the hands of those who are employing it to destroy a nation and a people.
Reasoning with a people in a fervor over a Bhagwan will never work. There is no reason when it comes to cult personalities. All belief systems are suspended in favor of the Master.
We need lawmen committed to upholding the laws of the land. Not lawmen enraptured by the Master himself. He’s playing them.
If we ever hope to see this country survive, if we ever hope to regain our way of life, we are going to have to wrestle control of the territory back from the hands of the cult members who have overtaken our land.
It’s up to us.
Karen Spears Zacharias dropped out of Brownies because she never could tolerate “group-think” or “group-allegiance.” She has never been the member of any cult, which is more than you can say for Jeff Sessions or Scott Pruitt.