A friend’s daughter was mesmerized by her cult leader. Her friends saw clearly the grave danger of her “leader” — abusive, tyrannical, arrogant. No one could convince her. I thought of Johnstown, of people following their guru, even to their death. I couldn’t understand, just as I can’t understand Trump’s loyal followers, willing to support him despite arrogance, lies, harassment, cruelty, firing anyone questioning his will, accusing all of “fake news,” “witch hunts,” “lynch mobs,” praising his greatness, demeaning whistleblowers, calling immigrants criminals, scientists ignorant and decorated military officers and distinguished officials ignorant “nonTrumpites,” as if only qualification for “truth” was total loyalty to him, no matter what he did. In the 2016 primary, the other Republicans, demeaned by him, were “not Trumpites.” Now, however, all are silent, fearful Trumpites.

Weren’t there once principled Republicans? The Democrats speak of climate change, climate justice, of education, housing, clean air and water and ending poverty. All I hear form this White House is: more mining and drilling on public land and waters, no regulation of clean air and water, building “beautiful walls.” I want regulations protecting children dying of asthma and lead, want protection from greed and corruption, compassion.

When Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord, I thought: He is a criminal, willing to sacrifice life for corporate greed. Ninety-eight percent of world scientists and all countries recognized the grave danger of climate extinction. Wildfires, floods, refugees fleeing drought. Coral reefs and oceans being destroyed, extinction of humans and animals. And he doesn’t care. Nor it seems does his base. What are they not seeing, concocting bizarre defenses for his harmful policies?

Trump’s favorite “tyrants:” Putin, Duerte, Balsanaro, Erdogan, Saudi Arabia — all criminals. I think of our precious Democracy, of Earth, life, all that is precious now threatened by greed, corruption, power and deep ignorance.

Bernice Mennis, West Fort Ann

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