Recently, AL.com’s Paul Gattis wrote a piece about Alabama’s unwavering, zealous fealty to Trump that should make all Americans sick to their stomachs. The bottom line is that no matter how corrupt, immoral, crude, illegal, or reprehensible Trump’s words or behavior have demonstrably been, or will most assuredly be in the future, a majority of Alabamians love Trump to the point of pathological, cultish obsession. This Trump Derangement Syndrome defies logic, reason, and legal evidence. It is the very definition of cognitive dissonance mixed with disturbing elements of Stockholm Syndrome, white privilege, and externally manipulated confirmation bias.

If Trump did, in fact, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue as he once boasted, Alabama Republicans would not only vote for him again, they would probably petition to replace the party’s elephant symbol with an AR-15.

As Gattis wrote in reference to Winston County, AL, “…the county’s devotion to Trump could perhaps approach defiance. No Trump supporter who talked with AL.com last week could give voice to any line in the sand that the president could cross that would change their vote.”

Any line in the sand. Not criminal activity. Not defying the US Constitution. Not pornstars, not a Trump charity or Trump University shut down for illegal activity. Not even hanging our allies out to dry as they get slaughtered by Turkish forces.

Certainly, not Alabama soybean farmers whom are going bankrupt due to Trump’s ill-advised trade war with China. Definitely not the folks who are dying daily as the opioid crisis continues to rage throughout the country. Not the wall, or children in cages, or the elimination of critical environmental protections throughout America. No matter what line in the sand, no matter what, Alabama Republicans gonna trump for Trump.

To them. it’s all a witch-hunt hoax and fake news and political persecution. To them, the economy is amazing even though the debt and deficit are at historic, unsustainable highs in the midst of stagnant wages and suffocating wealth disparity. To them, universal, affordable healthcare isn’t nearly as important as building a wall with a moat infested with alligators.

Alabama Republicans will never question Trump’s self-described “great and unmatched wisdom” that seemingly only rivals his expertise on literally every subject, or his profound display of Christian values including profanity-laced speeches and petty, obsessive political vendettas.

At this point, if you’re still reading this, it’s likely that you’re part of a minority of Alabamians firmly rooted in reality who see Trump for what he really is – a narcissistic, Machiavellian grifter who deserves incarceration, as well as historic scorn and ridicule. It’s your mission to vote and to continue to embrace, and voice, the truth.

To coin a hackneyed phrase, “I’m sure there are good people on both sides,” but, the folks that Gattis interviewed in Winston County, AL make me fear for the survival of our nation and the rule of law. It’s not their intense adoration of Trump that’s so deeply disturbing, it’s the rapidity with which they have forsaken the values that once defined them and the absurd lengths they will go to as his enablers and apologists.

Gattis’ article was profoundly significant because it explains how average people come to enthusiastically follow despots and tyrants. It explained quite simply how people can so easily turn a blind eye to truths that don’t fit neatly into the narratives they’ve chosen to believe. It shows how easy it is to make excuses or construct fantastic stories to justify plainly horrible things.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is strong in Alabama because Alabama has always viscerally loved the idea of defiance. Hell, the ALGOP once adopted the moniker “We Dare Defend Our Rights!”

Now, it’s up to all the rest of us in Alabama who aren’t afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome to adopt the moniker, “We Dare Defend The United States From Enemies Both Foreign and Domestic.”

With the added emphasis on the “Domestic” part…


Clete Wetli
Clete Wetli is former Chair of the Madison County Democrats and a liberal political activist.