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“Long before the day when whole families swallowed the poison together and nurses (actual nurses!) used hypodermics to squirt death down the throats of squalling infants, Jim Jones was preparing his followers for their apotheosis with fiery sermons and suicide rehearsals he called White Nights. He first filled them with paranoia, then hypnotized them with the glamour of death,” Stephen King wrote in “End of Watch.”
I find the parallels between Jim Jones and Donald Trump to be strikingly similar. The fiery rabble-rousing rallies, the “Drain the Swamp” chaotic messages, the glamorous notion of destroying a democracy to those who felt left behind.
Fully one in every three people who were eligible to vote was in this impoverished camp. There were two candidates who spoke in resonating tones to those people. One offered retribution for their troubles. Punishing the industrialists who had left them hanging out to dry. The other offered aid and assistance to crawl out of the holes that they found themselves in.
The GOP got their man nominated by default. The DNC subverted fairness and denied their chance for a win.
Now chaos reigns. The promises of destroying the industrialists have melted away. Those same industrialists and all of Corporate America just got a trillion-plus-dollar gift for their New Year’s present.
The death of democracy in favor of oligarchy is growing ever nearer. The price for stealing democracy? Jobs.
Have the promised jobs arrived? Ask the ones promised. Ask the coal miners whose numbers have actually decreased. Ask the rust belt manufacturing areas who have seen an increase but are soon to be replaced by robotic workers.
And ask about the state of American life. Ask the millions of women marching to finally get equal rights, equal pay and equal justice.
Still, the one in three is hurting. The sad thing is that they fell prey to a wolf in shepherd’s clothing who promised them a better life. And still they wait. An still they hope. And still they believe.
Donald J. Trump. The 21st-century Jim Jones? We’ll see, won’t we?