Trump Succeeds Where Charles Manson Failed

Manson dreamt of race riots, blood and fire, Trump is making it all come true

Cult leader, Photo by Christyl Rivers

Trump recently cleared a path for a photo opportunity with bible in hand. Human beings were swept away with flash grenades and tear gas.

I watch television these days veering between crying and fury.

Trumps speech is heavy on weaponry and threats, and very light on public reassurance, calm, and inspiration. He doesn’t speak of George Floyd, or of oppression at all, he rants about vengeance against thugs.

Alright. I’m on board at least for justice for thugs, but Trump reveals that what we call thugs are what he calls “Law and order.”

Charles Manson dreamed of a race war he called Helter Skelter. Manson, and his nutty followers saw him as a great, white savior of an elite class that would dominate all others.

Trump, who also sees himself as a chosen, white, privileged man is making Helter Skelter a reality. With access to all white women, fawning masses, authoritarian power, all our money, and no accountability, Trump’s tacit cruelty has unleashed fire and fury in the streets, the likes of which Manson could only dream of.

Again, tonight, our nation braces itself against the dark forces gathering themselves against America, and it’s not people of color that I mean, it’s a weaponized state militia.

As we still reel with grief, Trump is amassing whole armies to stop our tears.

There are difference of course, between Manson and Trump. Trump calls the race war “Domination”, not Helter Skelter. And, although no one knows what divine, and fiery music Trump hears in his head, it is not the Beatles White Album, but his own inner demons, that drives him.

The story of Helter Skelter, is far more intriguing and bizarre story than I knew about. We all know that Manson set himself up as a patriarch to a mess of a gullible outcasts. We know he orchestrated the murders of nine individuals in four locations. We know he wanted a race war, but he wasn’t as effective at igniting one as our present leader is.

But there is so much more to it. The Manson family story has elements of mental illness, a race war, Biblical plagues, Hollywood, conspiracy (the Beatles were ‘directing’ Manson to start Helter Skelter)and an underground paradise. There is also the Beach Boys, pornography retirees, plenty of rape, Scientology, and of course, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And, that’s just the beginning.

I will touch upon some of this, but a deep dive into the insanity of Helter Skelter, in trying to understand our present predicament, is worth the effort. First, let’s look at some eerie similarities, and some differences, between Charles Manson and Donald Trump.

They are both white.
They are both powerful men.
They are both mentally ill.
They are both racist.
They are both sexist.
They both believe in conspiracy.
They both believe in prophecy.
They both use religion, but aren’t religious.
They both are con men.
They both let others do the dirty work.
They both see violence and war as solutions.

Manson was convinced (having realized prophetic Beatles lyrics) that there was an underground paradise beneath Death Valley. He, and a few select men, along with many, many tons of white women, were to dwell in this land flowing with ‘milk and honey’ while above them, a race war burned down all the cities. His prophecies also told him that most white men would be killed, by black men. Any surviving black men would be humiliated due to “no access to white women.” Afterward, these men would become a servant class for the Manson followers.

When the above ground was cleansed, Manson would rise up to take domination. When asked what happens afterward, to African Americans, he said “I would scratch the fuzzy head and kick him in the butt and tell him to go pick the cotton and go be a good nigger.” He doesn’t say a word about black women, perhaps because like Trump, he has only a vague notion of their existence.

The people doing all the real work are invisible until your food doesn’t arrive.

Certainly, we are led to believe that society has evolved some since the 1960’s. We try to call out everyday racism and sexism, but it is very telling that Trump almost entirely ignores the existence of black women at all, all while lamenting about black and brown men who are “terrorists and criminals.” It is particularly chilling that whereas Manson believed he would have armies of thousands to protect him, Trump literally holds the power to enact such a possibility.

Yesterday, Trump reported that he was “dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers.” He had already said earlier that protesters would face “vicious dogs and ominous weapons.”

But, don’t worry good people, he wants to protect your second amendment rights. So, maybe bring more guns like other ‘freedom fighters’ and see how that turns out.

It is also very telling about a person’s beliefs when everything is framed with him at the center, and the role of women is entirely centered on sex, power, and domination. Manson believed that the race war was inevitable because black men would suffer so much humiliation at having all women follow the great white savior into the bunker, that they would snap.

What does it say about a man when he thinks that the first thought a black man has at being told “no” by a woman is “Kill whitey” homicidal rage?

Trump does not talk about “Blackie and Whitey, or use the N word as Manson freely did, but he is a severe racist nonetheless. Modern racism, being more insidious, is that much worse. Calling for the murder of innocent black children and locking up brown children in cages with the power to do so is worse than the worst language.

In his inauguration speech, Trump spoke about how he was stopping “American carnage …right here and right now.”

Manson fantasized about such carnage, but failed miserably, Trump, forever bragging about his amazing job of everything he does, has succeeded in dividing everyone, burning it all down, and with bible in hand, finding an actual underground refuge from all the mayhem.

America pays for it, as well as for the militarized forces and focus that could otherwise be helping with all our COVID-19 and Climate justice emergency needs.

While Trump is infamous for his lies and his ability to incite violence, he rarely mentions the power of women. I think this is because the power of women is so resilient, enduring, and fierce that it scares him to death.

Without a human shield and might phalanx of women to do all the dirty work, Manson’s name would be unknown. With Trump, he ignores that there were millions of women and allies marching the day after his stopping “American carnage” speech. He ignores that it is women who founded Black Lives Matter, and #Me Too.

Manson was insecure, too, about his manliness and sex appeal, so he needed harems of females around at all times to stoke his ego. He was abused, beaten and raped as a child, and whereas this may not have caused his schizophrenia and paranoid delusion disorder, it certainly must have contributed. Impoverished and locked up for most of his youth, Manson did manage to become a husband, twice, and a father, through an act of rape, at least once.

Contrast that with Trump who was born wealthy and privileged. Trump, instead of charm, relies upon bilk and money, and its power, to get his way. Trump’s need for surrounding himself with sexy women comes from the same sort of narcissistic need. Trump has had a lavish life, not a deprived one, but he will never feel he has enough success, or “winning” to feel anything like confidence or real self-pride.

Rather than being grateful for an entitled life, Trump resents his need to have to protect it.

Trump is best known for getting his way through fraud and lies, but when that doesn’t work, he seeks scapegoats. Trump, like Manson, is a master at getting people so infuriated that they don’t even realize they have veered over into self-destruction.

I think that when Manson saw his gaining notoriety he was thrilled at the attention. Not Trump. When Trump sees his star being tarnished, he sulks. He points fingers at Obama, or Clintons, or China, or Mexico, or “thugs” or fake news, or anyone convenient that he thinks his followers can hate at.

Surprisingly, this tactic works perfectly for him. Or at least it has until this week? We shall see America great or grate. Probably both.

Whether or not Trump or Manson are diabolical criminals is debated. Just for the record, though, they are. What is not debated is that certain men are granted an outsized talent to make others do things they are too cowardly to do themselves. This often comes with a savior complex which sets them at the center of every show.

Conspiracy theories abound more now than in Manson’s time. While just a tiny whacko sect believed the race war was imminent (and is best set off by killing rich people and blaming black men), today millions believe that Obama had some kind of Obama-gate, Clintons and others are murderers, and the Chinese unleashed COVID from a lab.

Manson literally believed himself to be Jesus Christ. The Beatles, who in the biblical book of Revelations, Manson identified as locusts invading the land with their prophetic music. They were also described by him as angels. At no point did Manson see them as important as he was. Trump has described himself as “chosen” and clearly seeks hero worship as well.

As a psychologist, I find it fascinating that such Bigly egos could be so massively insecure that they cannot live without idolization.

Manson saw himself not only as a bigger deal than the Beatles, he thought he was a better musician. Trump see himself as being smarter and more skilled than his generals, his advisors, and scientists. For both men, religion is only something if it makes you important. Trump likes the occasional photo Op of himself holding a bible — his favorite book after Art of the Deal — but we’re certain he has never read it.

Manson, obsessed with only one book of the Bible — Revelation — dabbled with Scientology too. He dropped it when he, as Jesus, saw that it didn’t involve himself, and was in his words, “Too crazy.”

At his sentencing Manson spoke about an unjust and criminal war in Vietnam, and he responded to his accusers about racism, and how marginalized people are treated, saying that, his devout followers were “Just people that you did not want.”

Trump has fanned the flames of hatred so high that he can’t see his own guilt either. He can’t sing or play guitar, like Charley, perhaps, but he does fiddle while his empire burns. He can’t see his own racism. He can’t see his Us versus Them mentality that engulfs and consumes us if we don’t reach one another in the hazy smoke.

Ironically, it would be useful for Trump to heed Manson’s courtroom words about America:

“…I think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in.”

Sometimes I wish our own cultish leader, instead of dividing our precious people, could say something so sorrowfully true.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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