I drank Kool-Ade as a kid, like millions of other folks. Somehow we managed to survive. I may have had a Kool-Ade stand – a more modern version of the lemonade stand. I don’t think I could stomach those hideous colors and flavors today. Do they even still make Kool-Ade? With all the warnings about food dye (especially red), artificial flavors, and too much sugar I don’t see how it could be profitable.
What I really want to talk about is not that kind of Kool-Ade. I want to talk about the other kind. The kind that killed 918 people in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978.
The kind that induced Charles Manson cult followers to murder the pregnant Sharon Tate and four others on August 9, 1969.
The kind that convinced German citizens to look the other way and soldiers to carry out the deed when Hitler murdered 6 million Jews.
Abundant atrocities are committed around the world daily by those who have “drunk the Kool-Ade” poured into them by a convincing and charismatic leader. Whether it is on a large scale, such as ISIS, or a small scale such as white supremacist cells in the US, there is plenty of Kool-Ade to go around.
In the recent presidential elections, both sides were accused of drinking the Kool-Ade provided by their favored candidate. Some would have us think that liberal arts colleges are the guiltiest, or the media, or churches. Let’s face it, there is a copious amount of the sweet beverage, enough in each for all to share the blame. I am reminded of the Bible warning from Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
The scary thing is, in today’s frenzied pace of life we all want something to believe in. In our world of 24 hour instant media access it is easier than ever before for anyone who wants to make a buck or hide something to anoint the rest of us with their own flavor of Kool-Ade. I have become downright cynical, not knowing who can be believed, from the highest government official to the friend or co-worker who innocently starts a conversation with, “…well, I
heard…”, I resist committing to an opinion or position until I have what I hope is reliable information from people or sources I trust. Yet, no one can be fully trusted, and that, is the saddest part of all.
Where does this leave us? Use whatever phrase works for you. There are warning enough to heed. Let us not be like lemmings, sheep, or horses with blinders. Be vigilant. Search your hearts. Go with your gut. Do the research. Use your brain to think. Don’t believe everything you are told. Be curious, nosy if you must, or even downright suspicious. If you believe in God, pray for discernment. Ultimately, we mostly believe what we want. Sorry if this post is such a downer, so finally, if you don’t believe that metaphorical Kool-Ade is alive and well, I have some waterfront property in Arizona I’d like to sell…