Conservative Christian Trump supporters are gathering by the thousands in Tulsa, Oklahoma today, for Trump’s first “campaign rally.” These men and women, sometimes with their children or grandchildren, will crowd into the Bank of Oklahoma Center, most will not wear masks, and they will listen as Trump throws out racist red meat. They will cheer when he calls journalism the enemy of the people. They will scream with joy when he “others” those they hate and fear. And they will experience an orgasmic fervor as Trump preaches racism, divisiveness, ignorance, and lies.
Writing for Vanity Fair, Neil Sharlet has crafted an eerie and dystopian view into the mind of the most ardent Trump supporters. For these passionate people, Trump is no longer just a president, he’s a deity. Hand-picked by their god to lead America, his decisions are not to be questioned, his misspellings and poorly-worded tweets are secret code, his leadership, perfect.
I spent every summer of my childhood and young adolescence in Missouri, with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. One of my cousins developed a crush on a local right-wing Protestant youth pastor, a very handsome young man who drove a sparkly gold Trans Am. A few years later they married, the pastor became a small-town deputy, they had a daughter, and by all accounts, were living a perfect life. Until that ex-youth pastor put his service weapon in his mouth and blew his brains out in his own patrol car.
He took his own life because, it turns out, under the perfect veneer and the shiny gold car and the speaking in tongues and the judgement of everyone who wasn’t just like him, he was a serial, predatory pedophile. And he shot himself rather than go to prison.
You may be asking what my cousin’s dead ex-husband has to do with Trump and his cult-like supporters. A lot. My cousin didn’t see beyond the perfect hair, the spiffy car, the pretense of perfect Christianity. I knew something was off about him, but I was too young and naive to understand what. If she had just scraped a little of the veneer, she would have discovered the monster beneath the glamour.
And that’s all Trump is, really. He’s veneer. Cheap, made in China veneer. But he says all the right things, he hates all the right people, he preaches all the right racism, which makes him the perfect deity for conservative Christians.
Conservative Christians believe in White Jesus™. A Jesus who looked like Anders Breivik, a Jesus who hated and divided, who promoted violence, who loved the rich. And White Jesus™ would love Donald Trump as much as they do. White Jesus™ would tell his followers that, if they come to his Sermon In Tulsa during a pandemic and contract COVID-19, it’s not his problem.
Jesus, according to historians and anthropologists, most likely looked like this:
Dark skin, wiry black hair, brown eyes. You know, the kind of guy conservatives would be uncomfortable sitting next to on a plane. So in order to feel comfortable, conservative Christians made Jesus white and racist.
Donald Trump is not the second coming, he’s not a deity, he is undeserving of conservative Christians’ love and adoration. He is a malignant narcissist who hates the majority of people not just in this country, but all over the world. He is a man who loves dictators who murder their own citizens. He is not a good person.
And holding a rally today, a rally where people who believe Trump’s lies about the coronavirus and refuse to wear masks or social distance, should tell you all you need to know about Donald Trump. He doesn’t love you. He loves that you love him.