Maine Voices author Robert Klose argues that, in the words of the subheadline writer, “devotion to (President) Trump is a religion, and his followers can’t be swayed” (July 1).

How does one reach out to another for whom all definitions and answers are in? How does one reach out to those who believe that their life’s mission is to get others to see the shortcomings and errors of their ways and transform them into “true believers”?

How does one seek to persuade or compromise with those for whom life contains no ambiguity regarding right and wrong, moral and immoral, friend or foe, just and unjust, good and evil, etc.? Is it possible that tolerance, which is accepted by many to have a positive connotation, is something to be condemned since it permits the existence of “evil”?

Only individuals and groups for whom absolute certainties exist can readily identify their enemies. Such certainties may bring a measure of security in their lives, but they also serve as templates for authoritarianism. Is there an iron law of the universe that assures us that our democracy is an impregnable fortress against the rise and cultivation of individuals and groups who view maximum choice in thought, belief and attitude, as toxic to the worldview of “true believers”?

Do I sense a cultivation and growth of such “true believers”? Does anyone know of a democracy that can function without the cardinal values of toleration and compromise so indispensable to it? Such values, however, are impediments to “true believers” and their apparent requirements for order and certainty.

Perhaps the real questions are not whether or not “true believers” who are immune to rational discourse exist, but rather what is their genesis, and what sustains them. The answers may lead to some antidotes.

Charles Scontras

Cape Elizabeth

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