Deification is a cultural sickness that is literally killing people. Americans love heroes, whether athletic, entertainment, political, entrepreneurial or any other. Our constant search for someone to admire seemingly has no limits. Being the best and showing others our best is considered the highest pinnacle of achievement. We pile on the accolades, follow each hero on social media, television, and every media outlet we can. We look up to our heroes, saying, “No one is better,” or “She’s the best ever,” or “He will never be beat.”
All of this glorification of excellence soon becomes deification: the hero can do no wrong. Often, the “hero” has asked for none of this. The hero may be diligently trying to be a top-notch athlete, senator, or businessperson, while the media begin to spin their tales, building up a story of “The Best.” But at some point the “Best” bubble pops. Why? The deity has shown themselves to be human. God forbid! What happens next is often tragic.
The public quickly turns away from their once-deified hero, now going in the opposite direction since that person spoiled their dreams of being an apostle to the hero-god. With the intensity once used to worship the deity, they now condemn them. The tennis or skiing star becomes weak, spoiled, talentless, mentally ill when not living up to the false hype created outside of themselves, everyone having forgotten, or never recognizing, that the hero is still the same person they were before deification. The media never take any of the blame for the building up and tearing down; for the scrutiny of everything this person does in their life, from who they love to what they eat to what they say and do in the privacy of their own property. Very quickly the hero disappears from all media, never to reappear unless they commit a crime or die, which is when the building up and tearing down is rehashed once again across the airwaves.
There is also a second type of deification, more flummoxing than the first, a polar opposite, an evil twin. This happens when the hero is self-knighted, then by hook and crook, becomes a deity that can do no wrong, no matter what he does or says. No matter what societal mores were up to that point. No matter if their behavior was condemned in the past when others did the same. Rape a woman? Sure, you’re a deity so whatever you did was not rape: the woman is a liar. Try to kill Capitol police, and do the same to elected politicians? Sure, you’re following what the deity told you to do, so it’s fine because you are a patriot. Everyone else is wrong. You too will be deified if you kill to get back what is rightfully yours, what was stolen from you.
Of course, Trump is the supreme example of this. He would have done very well at the peak of the Roman empire, when mere mortals would convince themselves and others that they were actually gods. And of course, gods can do no wrong. They tell you, I’m the best EVERYTHING, no matter what that is. Best president, best businessman, best friend of the disenfranchised and frightened white people. Whatever the hero loves, his followers love. Never mind if that is a foreign leader who kills and kidnaps and imprisons his own people. If Trump loves Putin, then his sheep love Putin, NO MATTER WHAT! If Trump hates Mexicans and Asians and Blacks, then his sheep hate anyone who is not a white Trump believer. Thus, the attack on the Capitol is believed by certain god-fearing Americans to be Black Lives Matter activists dressed up as Proud Boys doing the thug deeds. Yeah, right. Who the f-ck are these people, you ask?
The Deifiers, that’s who.
Believers who deify are probably the most dangerous people on this planet earth. They are the same group who brought you the Nazis, the Crusades, the Klu Klux Klan, Stalin’s Russia, Putin’s Russia, Isis, and the thousands upon thousands of genocidal and racists events in the thousands and thousands of years that humans have acted inhuman in the name of one deity or another. A voice from above, from the throne, from the altar, from the Oval Office who told a believer what to do and so they did it.
But why this love of apostleship? Why a desire so strong to put all of one’s belief into a single human being that he will be followed to the death, either of those you kill or of your own life, put forth in sacrifice to this deified human? How can people lose themselves, their own sense of right and wrong, their own will, and be subsumed into this creature of their own making?
Most frightening of all, is when the false god that has been deified finally takes the fall, suddenly those who followed either pretend that they never truly followed the person and they become a disavower (e.g., the many post-coital memoirs of the Trump White House advisors and staff); or they go underground, still believing in the deity, but knowing that they can’t show it (e.g., all the Nazis who slithered underground after Hitler’s fall). At least not until a groundswell of support for such a being returns again, as it always does, when the greatest of human weaknesses rises again. The senseless, mindless hate, murder, rape whipped up again into a frenzy against anyone who doesn’t love the deity that you love.
There’s a very interesting television series from Australia called Total Control (from Blackfella Films). It is about an Australian woman of Aboriginal descent, Alex (played wonderfully by Deborah Mailman), who enters national politics, soon wielding attention from the ruling white elite. As Alex gains followers and power, as she tells the truth about the established political structure, the opposition does everything in its power to rip her to shreds. As we see all too often today, social media trolls begin a campaign of terror against her, telling Alex that they will rape, kill, maim, destroy her, kill her son, rape her in front of her son, and worse. Her crack IT guy finds out who is perpetrating this terror campaign against Alex. He’s a young man, in his 20s, working in a staff position in the office of her political rival, who knows what his underling is doing, and likely orchestrating it. Rather than report this to the media, Alex goes to her stalker-abuser’s house. She makes him read aloud to her everything he said he was going to do to her. By doing this, she made him understand, as nothing else would have, that it was not just words and not just politics that he was spewing about her. He understood the full implications of the cruelty, misogyny, racism and abuse that gave others permission to do the same. But only when one of the abused stood before him and made him actually speak out loud, to her face, did the sword yielded in support of the Deity’s power fall to the ground and shatter.
When the young-man abuser kills himself a few days later, obviously of shame about the magnitude of what he had done, of course Alex is then attacked, again, the bitch murderer. Nary a word about his abuse and terror campaign against her. She is the lesser, aboriginal, Black nobody, trying to enter the superior white world of politics. No matter what she does, she is questioned, second-guessed, betrayed, underestimated, harassed by those who have self-deified and now see it as a god-given right that they do, and take and abuse and do whatever the f-ck they want. While the woman of no-means, except her own intelligence, personal strength and want of a better life for her people, becomes the enemy against which this Deity’s mob will direct all their anger.
Anger about their back-breaking jobs, their kid’s meth addiction, their run-down house, their shitty marriage, their inability to advance because they never went to college. Their jealousies against those who have more, do more, express more, all begin to spin together and then are ignited by the human-deity who tells them at whom and how to direct this hate. The power over others becomes a desire, almost sexual, a frenzy of addiction searching for its orgasmic relief: the suppression of others. Because within that suppression of those seen as lesser than them, there is feeling of being better than they were before. Actually superior to the poor white trash they suspected they were. It’s the hypnotist’s ruse, used by the self-crowned deities to gain faithful followers. It seems almost fool-proof. And it is. For a while.
My Dad always said that if a salesman talked too fast and wanted you sign something, to get up and walk away. In many ways, he was describing the political deities worshipped by some Americans, and others around the world. They too are fast talkers, trying to sell something to people. People who are grasping for anything or anyone who will acknowledge their disappointment in life and give them something or someone else to blame besides themselves.
No one is a god. No one ever will be. By trying to make gods out of mere mortals we really do break a sacred commandment, a sacred trust that we all agree to be human, act humane on this small planet that we all must share.
So, check your trigger-happy deification urge at the door of the middle-ages and join the 21st Century where all the humans live. Peace out. Love to Ukraine. Fuck Putin.
From Lady Proverbs, somewhere on the Oregon Coast.
For more from Lady Proverbs, go to Pulaypress.com