I had online conversations with two Trump supporters, one of whom is a radio personality and the other someone I’ve known for years and is a friend.
Caiden Cowger is a teenager in West Virginia whose “Cowger Nation” radio program and website have gained a pretty good following for one so young. Last summer, Cowger called out fellow teenager (Cowger’s now 18) CJ Pearson on not being who he said he was and turned out to be correct–but 13 year-olds don’t always know what they believe, especially when they become enormously popular overnight. Pearson now supports Bernie Sanders after first joining and abandoning Rand Paul’s campaign then Ted Cruz.
Cowger is an unabashed Trump supporter. He’s old enough to vote so I consider him of age to make his own decisions. His latest rather dunderheaded hit piece against Ted Cruz takes on the topic of Cruz drinking alcohol, sanctimoniously pointing out scripture (1 Cor 6:9-10) about drunkards not inheriting the Kingdom of God. From one too young to imbibe, it’s particularly lowbrowed to accuse Cruz of being a drunkard because he sips an occasional Scotch.
I can’t stand Scotch, probably because when I was young and stupid I drank too much Crown Royale and suffered the inevitable results. I prefer a good Bourbon, if I drink hard liquor at all, which is extremely rare. I do drink real wine for Communion however. Does that make me a drunkard too?
The Facebook conversation with Cowger went like this:
Me (in reply to another comment noting that Trump probably drinks): Trump is a teetotaler. Always has been. But he has no problems with adultery or gambling or lying.
Cowger: What has he lied about?
Me: Seriously? Start here. (Dana Loesch’s piece on Trump’s past ties to organized crime et al)
Me: And you get extra Trumpoints if your response is to insult Loesch or me.
Cowger: Dana Loesch lied about Trump and said he supported Common Core. Trump never has. Not a good source.
After some more back and forth, Cowger cited his own tweet accusing Loesch of lying about Trump, then “everyone at TheBlaze hates Trump. It’s the job requirement.” I pressed him, ignoring everyone else’s opinion, just looking at the public sources Loesch quoted, (in all CAPS to make sure he knew I was shouting): “DID HER SOURCES IN THE PIECE LIE ABOUT TRUMP or were they telling the truth?”
Cowger: They probably lied…
He then went on insulting Loesch and Beck, calling them liars. To Trumpkins, Donald Trump is the most lied about man on Planet Earth. Everyone who utters a word against Trump is lying, and only Donald Trump is telling the truth. They all hate him for no reason.
The other conversation (which I won’t document in fairness to a friend who didn’t speak on the record) centered around America’s greatness, encouraging me to quit living in denial because America isn’t so great. When I suggested that America’s greatness was a result of Godliness and moral clarity, I was asked if I thought America should be poor and more Godly rather than people having liberty, freedom of religion and opportunity.
My answer: “I think given the choice, I’ll take Godly (which implies liberty, freedom and opportunity) over rich at any cost. Yes. That’s true greatness. I’ve written about it. I’ve stayed on topic on this for months. It’s exactly true. If you believe Godliness does not lead to true freedom, liberty, prosperity and greatness then I don’t know what your idea of Godliness is.”
I think this is where many evangelicals are in their thinking. They’ve lost sight of God’s provision and divine prosperity of the United States of America because we were founded on Godly principles. They believe Trump can do something God hasn’t done.
These two conversations are troubling because they point to a classic cult of personality. They highlight people holding Trump up as a messiah. People are willing to abandon their own cherished beliefs to drink Trump’s muddy water. He first says that Bush is responsible for 9/11, then retracts it on CNN with “I don’t know,” then tells NBC “And you know, I really don’t even know what I mean, because that was a long time ago, and who knows what was in my head.”
We certainly want a leader with such clarity of thought and consistent leadership, don’t we? (Trumpkins: Don’t answer that, it’s sarcastic and rhetorical.)
In short, talking a Trumpkin out of Trump’s cult of personality is nearly impossible because they become so defensive and paranoid. It’s like dealing with Scientologists and telling them David Miscavige is a thief and L. Ron Hubbard was just a novelist. They go all beast-mode on you.
Unless non-Trumpkins can band together and stop the man, we have a large problem. Actually, I’d say we’re screwed.