Imagine that you're a normal person who knows Biden won the election. Now imagine that no one believed you and that it was guaranteed that Trump was going to stay another term. If you really strongly believe in our democracy and our rights, you might go storm the capitol. That's essentially what Ashli Babbitt's brother said she thought she was doing. She really thought she was defending democracy, and she died for it. Her actions were domestic terrorism, but that's not at all what she saw. That's what is most scary about this situation -she thought her actions were good and righteous. How many other rioters, who are now wanted by the FBI, also saw themselves as fighting for their freedom? How did they get that in their heads? The best way I can explain it, as a psychology major, is that they are in a cult.
According to a top researcher of a cults, they often meet certain characteristics. They believe their leader's word as absolute truth -we see this from how his supporters believe election fraud, despite his own appointees denying the claims. Any disagreement is punished -this is seen from their hatred of everyone who has done anything against Trump, like when Mitt Romney voted with the Democrats on one article of impeachment and suddenly became a fake Republican. His supporters also see themselves as enlightened next to everyone else, like how they know not to be sheep and follow the mainstream media, but rather trust Q. They also have an us versus them mindset, which started as America against the rest of the world, but slowly became their version of America against everyone else's version. The cult's leader is also not accountable to authorities - and as President of the United States, Trump clearly fits that bill. I could go on and on regarding monetary donations, people cutting ties with family over political differences, dictations on how all Republicans are supposed to think, the unprecedented amount of rallies supporters attend, the treatment of those who renounced the president after being by his side, etcetera. But, the biggest problem with a cult is how it can make people do things they would have never done in the past, like when nearly one thousand people committed suicide in the Jonestown Massacre because they were told to do so by their leader.
On Wednesday, we witnessed a different version of the Jonestown Massacre. We saw people, who wholeheartedly believed they were in the right, storm our nation's Capitol. We witnessed the murder of a police officer at the hands of rioters who claimed police lives matter. We saw 'patriots' replace American flags with Trump flags. We found bombs, likely meant to kill our country's leaders. And what happened afterward? These people bragged about what they did. They are genuinely proud of their actions. People in this group used to be real patriots, but now, Ashli Babbitt fought for our country, only to die fighting against it. But, what happens next? The only times we hear about cults ending are in scenarios like Jonestown, where everyone dies. That's clearly not going to happen here, so do die-hard supporters have to escape the cult one by one? Will we have three parties now? And what is going to happen to President Donald J. Trump? He lost his voice, with no social media willing to let him carry a message. He's going to be impeached and tried again next week. Will he pardon himself? Can he pardon himself? And how much has everyone in power turned on him? 20 resignations, his biggest allies in the senate turned against him, a Republican senator calling for him to go -it's shocking and unheard of. But with congressmen in more agreement than ever, maybe we'll get the unified America we all want. It's a weird time, full of unrest and change, but these are the times we get the chance to grow and shape ourselves into something better, which is one thing America is good at doing.