The United States of Jonestown, Alive and Well

Several years ago, I posited the idea that this country was missing its opportunity to learn anything from the Jonestown tragedy and that – to the contrary – the same factors of destruction that led to the mass deaths were thriving in the U.S., and on a larger scale. And now, doesn’t it demonstrate the ripeness of this concept that both sides on any number of divisive issues call their opponents “Kool-aid drinkers”? How many who invoke their best-known legacy stop to consider whether it also applies to them? Perhaps not many, but it’s a good sign that the phrase is trending. It bodes well for the future, as a jaundiced eye to leadership is pervasive if not rampant. So is vigilance and determination, even if it’s not yet recognized. For many, there’s an immobilizing sense of flux, impermanence, insecurity and impending doom, whether economic, climactic, nuclear, or all three.

The revelations of 2016 have left both major parties in shambles, and independents now outnumber those registered in either of them. Democrats and Republicans are increasingly seen as the two posturing hands of one curtained puppeteer, performing their dance of gridlock, jumping up at the behest of the military-industrial complex to vote as one for war, which is almost unanimously opposed by their constituents. Meanwhile, President Wild Card at least obliges us by letting us know what he’s thinking, clearly the right man for his time.

There is talk of revolution, but it’s no easier to accomplish than it would have been in Jonestown. Not against President Trump, but against the puppeteer, the hulking shadow government that has made of the U.S. a democracy in name only. You could lose everything taking that route, and fail. You’d have to get off the couch.

Still, after 2016, Wikileaks, the travesty of the primary, the trumping of the anointed candidate, and the still-unfolding chaos that followed the election of the accidental president – all that has people more awake than ever before. Citizen journalists on the Internet have called the CIA or FBI on their false flags, overseas or at home, within a day of their occurrence, all through 2017. They have long memories, especially for what the mass media will not touch. They feed that deep-brain-stem addiction to get to the truth behind the lies, and share it with the world. We are not going back to sleep soon.

Mass media narrators rattle on in practiced and elaborate disregard of these changes – as they must, I suppose – but, under their makeup, you can see them sweating with desperation, even as they do their best to shoehorn listeners/viewers into the usual camps, at the usual loggerheads. It’s not working, but Hey! If we don’t let on, who’s to know it isn’t? they think. We have all the megaphones. Tomorrow’s another day to try again to herd the cats, control the narrative, find some solid ground and recreate that familiar landscape. 

But it’s too late. The landscape has shifted. The blinders are off. What there isn’t yet is an uprising of the people, concerted action. We know we have the power, but are biding our time, waiting for a leader. The whole world, maybe the universe, must be wondering when we will act or if we are capable of it anymore, seeing as we’re sitting pretty, relatively speaking. What will we do? If we do nothing, just try to maintain our comfortable routine, we will be, as Julian Assange said, “sleepwalking into oblivion.”

The U.S. is ground zero for a change that, if made, will mean nothing less than realizing our nation’s true destiny as a melting pot for humanity and an example to the world, instead of the rogue nation it has become, against our will and on our watch! If we wait for a crisis before changing course, we may be trapped unawares, as they were at Jonestown, and crushed. Whether we will be the last, best hope of mankind, or only the last, is what’s at stake here.

(Kathy [Tropp] Barbour joined Peoples Temple in 1970 with her companion, Richard Tropp, and was living in the San Francisco Temple on November 18, 1978. Her other articles in this edition of the jonestown report are Jim Jones, MK-ULTRA Poster Child?; The Birthday Project Comes to an End; and Status of Plans for Who Died, Edition 2. Her earlier writings on this site can be found here.)