The Trump cult is choosing blueberries over the judicial branch

by | May 23, 2024 | Politics/Government

photo from Indiana Capital Chronicle/Getty Images

While writing on Sunday night about the truly remarkable week surrounding a criminal trial in New York, I was captivated by the final story on 60 Minutes. It was titled, “The Album,” with Anderson Cooper reporting. The subject was an album of 116 photos discovered in 2007 that were collected by a Nazi leader at Auschwitz.  

“Here There Are Blueberries,” is the new Broadway play that attempts to make sense of the pictures by those connected to the victims there. Importantly though, it also provides context of the horrific events as seen through the eyes of those committing the crimes. The pictures make the killers appear happy to be there. One particular photo showed a large group of young German girls happily eating blueberries at an apparent party, while outside the frame, death surrounded them. It’s the source of the title of the play. 

How did these once normal, average people become the monsters we now know them to be? 

Last week in New York, U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson appeared outside the courthouse where the criminal trial of Donald Trump is nearing its end. He was there to hold a press conference to support his leader and to label the trial “election interference” and declare the justice system “corrupt.” 

The appearances at the trial of the most sycophantic members of the GOP, as Dylan Stableford writes for Yahoo! News, “began with a trickle, then became a steady stream.” Members of the U.S. Senate, former presidential candidates, and of course, a litany of House members have appeared there the past two weeks of the six-week trial. Their uniform reason to appear is to suck up to the boss, and to fan the irrational flames of the boss’s support network. 

The theatrics accomplish other things though, whether intentional or not. Most importantly is that it communicates that loyalty to this criminal is more important, more valuable, than the American judicial system itself. A large swath of the nation’s citizenry has arrived at a place where justice only exists in their eyes when it aligns with their loyalties, regardless of reality. It is that singleness of vision and commitment that allows the madness to grow. 

To answer the question above, this is exactly how average people become monsters. 

‘Say the truth’

The word “verdict” comes from the Latin word, “veredictum,” which literally means “to say the truth.” That is the goal of judicial processes in the American system: to reach a verdict, or to say the truth. For those with an interest in the outcome, sometimes the truth is uncomfortable or inconvenient, but that doesn’t make it less truthful. Sadly, gestures like the ones being made by this cadre of hangers on outside the Trump trial, is a monstrous way to solidify the post-truth reality of the era in which we now live. 

Much like 1930’s and 1940’s Germany, nothing is to be trusted by the cult unless the cult leader says it should be. In 2020’s America, it started with a now embedded alternative truth to a presidential election. That makes purposely diminishing truths like the ones being established in the New York criminal court seem small. Objecting before the inevitable and inarguable truth before it is reached is now a repetitive strategy.

Donald Trump is headed for a conviction on 34 counts of false business reporting for the purposes of withholding information from voters in 2016. Yes, the illicit affair with Stormy Daniels occurred. Yes, he paid her through his lawyer and fixer to keep her quiet. Yes, he illegally reported the payment. Yes, he reported it illegally to conceal its purpose: to get him elected. 

In all of history, there has never been a politician or government representative who I would have chosen over the ongoing legitimacy of our judicial processes. Zero. Not George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln. Not John Kennedy nor Barack Obama. The courts, in their entirety, are far more important than any one person. When they no longer are, they cease to credibly exist.

Amanda Gronich, one of the cowriters of “Blueberries,” told 60 Minutes, the Nazis at Auschwitz “didn’t wake up each morning thinking ‘I’m an evil monster, I’m going to do evil, monstrous things.’ They woke up each day and lived their lives, filled with justifications and beliefs in what they were doing.”    

Speaker Johnson and his caucus members displayed the same mindset when showing up to support their criminal, political leader over the court. Worse yet, it is definitely the mindset of millions of MAGA devotees. 

Supporting their leader trumps the third branch of government. It’s unlikely they will believe the conviction as the truth. And history will see our own season of blueberries as evil and monstrous too. 

1 Comment

  1. Robert Bobenmoyer

    Once again another spot on piece by Michael but the knot in my gut keeps getting tighter and I sense the outcome is sickening. I do not trust that the courts are capable of making just decisions.


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