Cult of Personality, 80s tune or fortune telling?

As we all sit back and watch another Presidential election and have one side of the other call people names, lash out, or insult 1/3 of the voting public at any given time I find myself thinking about this 80s tune more and more. Cult of Personality by Living Colour. Other than some iconic guitar work the song brings an amazing message that is applicable as much today as ever.

Let’s look at the lyrics.

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

We see right off the bat that they are talking about politicians, and get the hint that the lyricist doesn’t trust them.

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
Then a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

President Obama won the Nobel Prize before he really did much in office, and that’s fine, it doesn’t bother me just a ton. The majority of former Presidents and some world leaders are given the Nobel Peace Prize and hey, Nobel committee, good for you, but if this is a “given” just for being elected does that make the prize a huge deal or just a “oh here ya go” kind of thing (at least the Peace Prize, as someone with a degree in Physics, the other prizes really matter).

I tell you one and one makes three
I’m the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Now they are letting us know that politicians who are being voted for because “well that’s my guy” can say just about anything and get away with it, and expect their followers to just believe it. How often have we seen flatly untrue things said during this election and people believe it. Far too many in my opinion.

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set you free

Go back to the refrain. Just for a reminder.

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your own god’s name
I’m every person you need to be
Oh, I’m the cult of personality
I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of personality

Politicians are trying to be everything to everybody. They can’t be. Leaders do what is the right thing to do, not the popular thing. They have limited powers, despite all the Presidential contenders promising to “lock people up” for reasons we don’t completely fathom (we have a thing called due process). We have allowed them to become these cults of personality, we have given them power, fame, fortune, and yes, some people hold certain ones above God.

If you haven’t seen it, head over to YouTube and watch the video.

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