National Commentary

The Stadium Chants, ‘Lock Him Up!’

The epic revival of the fortunes of the Washington Nationals baseball team in the sixth game of the World Series Tuesday, evening their chances of winning the world championship in the final, deciding seventh game (the outcome coming after the deadline for this column), as compelling for their fans as it was, can best be appreciated as a karma-infused reward for their role in the most historically memorable event of this and maybe any other such series.

That event came Sunday night, when over 40,000 baseball-crazed Washington D.C. area citizens packed their home stadium, sitting in the shadow of the Capitol dome, caught sight of Trump waving from his box as shown on the park’s gigantic video screen.

The reaction was spontaneous and unscripted, unlike with the carefully-choreographed stadium rallies that are constantly being organized for Trump to assuage his monumental ego.

It was a torrent of sustained “boos,” mixed with chants of “Lock Him Up!,” and according to eyewitness accounts, it was really, really loud, some reporting it topped 100 decibels. At the same time, a giant banner was unfurled reading, “Impeach Trump!”

A Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak wrote Tuesday under the headline, “Hear the Chant? That’s What Unites D.C.,” ”abhorring President Trump is what unites D.C.” And she reminded readers that the sentiment did not come from residents of the District alone, but from the suburbs, where the vast majority of fans at the game came from.

For those of us who appreciate what a criminal scumbag Trump is, it was a heartwarming and reassuring moment. Hopefully, it will inspire many others in the land to do more than just sit passively with wide eyes and mouths agape as the Trump criminal enterprise offends the sensibilities and the institutions of lawful democracy. If it gets them on their feet and joining “Lock Him Up!” chanting, then that is an important step toward the kind of activism the nation needs to expel this ugly infestation of corruption and sociopathology that has temporarily occupied the White House.

What a bad move for some, even some strongly opposed to Trump, to chastise the fans for their honest and robust spontaneity. Theirs was the spirit needed to roust him out, to overwhelmingly roust him out with a powerful exercise of democracy.

Meanwhile, as the evidence emerging from the impeachment inquiry underway in the House reinforces the findings of the Mueller Report and whistle blower accounts more recently chips away at the shrinking core support for this unsupportable cad, the most persistent support base he has is rooted in the craven hypocrisy of so-called “evangelical leaders.”

He assembled a gaggle of such usual suspect hypocrites around him in the Oval Office Monday supposedly to pray for him, but in reality for a photo op for them to use on their websites to raise money from sadly gullible followers.

The roots of “The Cult of Trump,” as described by cult expert Steven Hassan in his new book by the same name, lies a lot in the trappings of heretical religion and shallow ideologies that these “ministers” and other hucksters and posers exploit to drive the hurting and unwitting to act against their self-interest.

Their “gospel” is grounded in fear and hatred, not love, fomented by the same kind of lying, empty promises and platitudes that Trump uses in his staged rallies and speeches.

The vast majority of honest political and social leaders simply do not appreciate the way this phenomenon works, because they have not had direct experience with the nasty reality of mind-bending cults, most of which grew out of the misguided, devious covert counterinsurgency operations of U.S. and other intelligence agencies from the 1950s onward.

The reason Trump continues to double down on his mantras about “fake news” and claims that all his adversaries are “scum” and traitors is because this is how cult-based control mechanisms work.

That’s why it is so important that actual reality imposes itself against this, reality such as the rude reception 40,000 baseball fans provided this week, and hopefully voters in Virginia will provide in their state legislative elections next Tuesday.

Nicholas F. Benton can be reached at