I’ve started hearing a lot of people using a term recently and I sincerely doubt most people understand what it means. I wonder if they can remember, if they are old enough, or imagine, if they are less than 40, the horror we felt when we first heard it.
I wonder why people use it now, so very wrongly…but first the phrase, then the context and then the reality of why using it the way it is being used today is so very very wrong.
Drinking the Koolaid.
Religious freedom, notwithstanding the attitude of some who think it means their way is the right way for all, here in the United States means that you may practice ANY religion or NO religion without any concern for discrimination. That is the law. It is not the reality.
From time to time there have been groups that call themselves churches who appeal to some, but alienate most because the belief system is challenged. Such as a leader who regularly expects sexual favors. A hierarchy that seems to expect everyone to kowtow to the strict rules except themselves.
When a group forms that classifies itself as a church but in reality is a political statement, it has a hard time meeting certain requirements for tax free status, for example. One such was Jim Jones’ People’s Temple. After forming the group in Indiana, Jim Jones then moved to California, in late 1960s, thinking its attitudes would not be that outlandish there. The People’s Temple expanded into social activities including building an agricultural project in land purchased in the northeastern South American coastal country of Guyana.
The things that attracted people to the group were part of the times: freer concept of private ownership, a concept of equality among people no matter their skin tone and more. But Jones’ activism started alienating him from former supporters in other religious and political communities and it soon became clear to him that he should move the entire Temple to Guyana. Over the next few years more and more concerns about the group were raised and several people, who had originally been strong supporters, left the community.
They actually considered it an escape and as the view of what life was like there, parents of young adults started to raise concern. As head of the Congressional sub-committee that deals with Americans living overseas, Congressman Leo Ryan (D-CA) arranged a visit, encouraging people who wanted to leave to come with him. He was attacked at the community, but left for the airfield where people from the People’s Temple attacked and killed Ryan and many in the group.
Following this attack, out of fear that he would be invaded by the government and held responsible, Jim Jones lead the 910-member group in a mass suicide, drinking Kool Aid laced with cyanide.
So, when I write a statement, usually something political, and someone writes back that I have been drinking the Kool Aid I am immediately concerned. It is apparent that my critic believes, despite engaging me in continuing dialog, that I am a dingdong with no ability to reason through issues that are not comfortable. That critic, besides me offering countless sources from various ends of the political spectrum to show I researched and can back up my opinion, believes only in what s/he believes in and see no reason to discuss anything. It just falls to a put-down.
If you believe that someone with an opinion different from yours is mislead, develop a persuasive discussion to lead them (me?) step by step, little by little, to your position. In sales training, I was taught to get the small agreements to make the final “sale” easier. The final sale (agreement) will never happen if you have not brought people along, using their position as much as possible and then moving towards yours incrementally.
If you fail to be persuasive, rework it in private. If you fail to see the need, then YOU may be swallowing something your party line is telling you. What flavor is yours?