The departure of the psychotherapy cult known as Kids of El Paso ends one of the most bizarre chapters in the history of our community. It's still hard for me to believe that such a sinister operation was possible in our sleepy, big-little town. If we look carefully, we should learn some lessons about politics, money and the evil they can sanction. But we also can take comfort in the ultimate sovereignty of the people once they have been informed by a free press. A few years ago, a handful of monied parents whose bank accounts exceeded their parenting skills heard about a drug "treatment" program that assuaged their guilt at being failed parents who had lost their kids somewhere in the maze of materialism. This program convinced them that these children deserved to be brutalized in almost every way imaginable. And so the cult pursued its perverse mission with a vengeance, and the toll on families torn apart and children embittered and abused never will be known fully. Slowly, some of our own institutions of government that are supposed to protect children began to operate. Soon, money and politics got in the way. A state senator whose cavalier attitude about morality, government and money is a matter of public record, a couple of local politicians whose appetite for power is only starting to become apparent, and an attorney general who allowed himself to be compromised by local politics all combined to put the fix in the cult, and instead of prosecuting it for its abuses, set out to persecute those that dared expose it. But in the meantime, the people were becoming informed, and the magnitude of this evil proved too great to be hidden from an often too apathetic public. For that reason, a recent fund-raising effort by this evil thing failed. Sadly, left behind are various victims, most importantly, too many young people whose lives are permanently scarred. They are followed in the parade by mothers, fathers, siblings and in some cases by grandparents who recognized the evil for what it was but who, for various reasons, were powerless to prevent it. Bringing up the rear are the do-gooders who dared to intervene and upset the vile applecart and incurred the unending wrath of the octopus that gave the cult its genesis and then sought to protect it. We, the people, remain the ultimate sovereign. But it is so important that we know what happens around us. Only by knowing and acting can we foil those forces that sometimes make our democracy seem illusory. If we yield our power, the aristocrats gladly will take it from us.
*** El Paso