Home Columns OPINION: American Horror Story: Cult lays out a clear political agenda

OPINION: American Horror Story: Cult lays out a clear political agenda

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This season of American Horror Story makes it clear that Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy have no qualms about setting a clear political agenda against President Trump. Columnist Kayla Wood reviews the first two episodes of AHS: Cult. 

Last Tuesday night saw the season premiere of American Horror Story: Cult on FX. With it came an unveiled political message pertaining to the 2016 Presidential Election — Americans love fear, and fear is what drives their decision-making.

Evan Peters’ character this season, Kai Anderson, represents the most radical of Trump supporters post-election and the fears those supporters evoked. Using human nature’s inclination toward fear as a justification for the election results, Kai discusses how people need fear in order to gain true freedom — a message vastly different than real-life radical Trump supporters who claim that liberals who feared the results of the election were too delicate and sensitive.

He later sticks with his message, though, in a threatening confrontation with Sarah Paulson’s character, Ally Mayfair-Richards, in the second episode, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” While campaigning for the city council seat left vacant by a violent murder, Kai speaks to Ally about her own fears, which he should have no way of knowing. He leaves her with a comment about how it’s not fun to be the one “they’re chasing.”

He likely means the political party in power, which for the past eight years has been the Democratic Party. Now, though, the Republican Party has come back to power, and with it a threat to historically oppressed groups. For years, far-right radicals have been publicly persecuted for their beliefs, specifically on politically correct culture. Now, they feel free to speak their minds.

Following the election, neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups felt emboldened to terrorize minority groups both physically and mentally by attacking people unprovoked and staging mass demonstrations, such as the one in Charlottesville last month. AHS: Cult does a great job of presenting those attacks and fears in a more physical way with the gaggle of murderous clowns that appear to be targeting Clinton supporters in the show.

The clowns appear first to Ally while she’s trying to complete the simple task of going to the grocery store. When she first walks in, she hears a clip of Donald Trump making his acceptance speech and quickly learns that the store’s clerk is a die-hard Trump supporter. The tone of the scene immediately shifts to one of terror. On her way through the store, the clowns begin to appear around her, committing crude acts and eventually chasing her with a knife. Her fears, which become embodied as the clowns, could represent the fears many Americans felt any time they left their homes after the election due to the emboldened radical Trump supporters who threatened their existences.

This escalates throughout the second episode in which we realize that Ally’s fears are not internal, but real threats that can harm her and her family. These fears and threats also show how the election and the effects thereafter affected family life and could have torn families apart.

AHS: Cult thus far has been an audacious statement on the political atmosphere in America after the election, and I can only assume it will become more daring as the season progresses. That the creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy used real footage from the election season and the election itself only tells us that they will continue to boldly jab at the president and that he has yet to speak out against his radical supporters who have used his victory as a reason to spread hate, fear and violence.

AHS: Cult airs every Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on FX.

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