Functioning community can't succumb to a cult

My friends know that as a psych nerd, I’m fascinated by cults. This passion began as a child watching the Jonestown Massacre unfold on Thanksgiving weekend of 1978, claiming 918 souls.

At the time, we were in transit from Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, to Tucson, Arizona. It was momentous for me, as the two events were unfolding simultaneously, making each one stick all the better.

Later, we moved on to San Diego, where 39 perished in the mass Heaven’s Gate suicide in 1997.

But those two cult catastrophes both occurred on a localized scale. We had an awareness of the two cults beforehand, but it was strictly an outside awareness.

Now, we’re living with a cult on a national scale — literally. It seems about one-third of our population is under the firm control of one person — Donald Trump.

Usually, a cult affects only its members and the families who worry about them. Here in the United States, we have a cult whose behavior affects all of us, including those who never swore its allegiance.

How is this cult different?

All cults thrive on disinformation, scapegoating, character weakness, avoidance of responsibility and exploitation of vulnerabilities. But this cult displays a wanton disregard for the lives of all those not firmly in agreement. It doesn’t even care about the health and well-being of its own members, if that comes into conflict.

This cult is dangerous on a macro level. It will affect every American for decades to come.

It is deeply embedded into our government at all levels, from local to federal. So it will change the direction our country is headed in profound ways.

With the merger of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, it has doubled in size. No cult has been so entrenched in our government before.

When was the last time we saw this play out on a national level? Germany in the 1930s.

How do those of us still grounded in reality push back? 

One of the things we value most as Americans, individual liberty, may be our greatest weakness. If everyone sees himself as a  sovereign, how can we come together, even when it’s critical for the common good?

We had unity after World War II and 9/11, and we need it again to battle COVID-19. But it hasn’t been happening.

The pandemic has exacerbated an already stressful time in our nation’s history. It has laid bare weaknesses in the systems we have created to serve us — weaknesses in our safety nets and sense of community.

We are a community, and acting on concert as a community makes us stronger. One person can change a light bulb, but it takes a team to build the infrastructure necessary to make it work.

Lisa McCracken is a U.S. Navy veteran who formerly served as an assistant veteran services officer with Yamhill County. She ran an unsuccessful McMinnville City Council campaign in November.



Lisa McCracken's comments about what is a cult? Her following diatribe lumping Trump voters as a cult could very well be said about far left liberals and democrat legislators.
Thank god she was unsuccessful in her City Council campaign. Her editorial
does nothing to unite both sides.


I think you forgot about the golden idol at CPAC. It’s nice that you just try to divert attention from you cult.


Golden Idol anyone?

Earlier today I suffered through the key note speaker at CPAC. It was at once nauseating and chilling. I would estimate an average of two or three absurd and malicious lies per minute. The cult leader can depend on the outcome though: if he utters it, it magically becomes the accepted version of truth……no critical thinking can be tolerated…..only the gospel according to the cult leader. The crowd was beyond enthralled; they hung on, and cheered every word. They chanted “We love YOU!” He wallowed in the worship and adoration.

Trump denigrated many of his fellow Republicans by name again today, and at length. Because, if you won’t accept self-proclaimed perfection and the alternate reality spun by dear leader, if you dare to speak truth to his power, you MUST be condemned. Message: it is not enough to divide the country, the GOP must be divided too. To justify his election loss he continued to undermine faith in the integrity of our elections and the free press. Divide, delude, and conquer.

When the celebration of delusion ended, the Faux pundits called it “optimistic and hopeful.” If it is even possible, deprogramming this cult is going to be a heavy lift.

Bill B

@treefarmer; Why are you watching that crap?


Must have been feeling masochistic? :-}