Cult of Personality

A hit song of the late 80’s made a bold statement about abuses of power by political leadership. Many of today’s young people don’t know what the term “cult of personality” refers to, and sadly, neither do their baby-boomer parents. That is extremely surprising to me as a former 80’s peacemaker wannabe teenager.

I was going to join the Peace Corps, save the Ethiopian children, and die in my service to mankind, if necessary. Bands like U2, Public Enemy, The Clash, Bob Marley, and Nena inspired me to become socially conscious and politically involved. One of my history classes in high school focused on cults, terrorism, and genocide. Although I never made it into the Peace Corps, I would never forget the lessons I had learned.

The cult of personality has reawakened today. Rich and power-hungry political leaders use their charm and the media to woo their followers. The propaganda is flowing at levels unequalled since World War II. The public supports the most entertaining ones rather than the most experienced ones. Mere complacency cannot excuse our current thirst for blood sport – we crave entertainment and war nearly as much as the roman republic did.

Most of our so-called “leaders” today are using the same old narcissistic tactics that have been used by dictators in the past. We are observing the masses blindly clinging to them in our churches, schools, and governments. Worse yet, we are seeing these events occur in countries that have been hailed as beacons of freedom and democracy.

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