“Convicted felon Donald Trump”

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In her famous 2013 interview with professional cyclist and proven drug cheat Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey began by saying, “Everything I’ve seen and everything I’ve written begins with the word …”, and Armstrong finished with her with the word “disgraced.” That word became and remains an integral part of Lance Armstrong’s identity, as surely as if he’d legally changed his name to it. He will deservedly carry that cognomen with him for the remainder of his life.

Though at first he strenuously denied that he used performance enhancing drugs to help him win seven Tours de France, in January of that year Armstrong finally admitted it was true. Even he came to realise how stupid any denial looked in the light of the overwhelming weight of objective evidence. But it makes no difference whether he admits it or not. It’s an objective fact. Lance Armstrong is forever “disgraced.”

In the same spirit and with the same certainty of correctness there is a call to refer to Donald Trump from now on as “convicted felon Donald Trump.” It’s a call I have taken up with enthusiasm, and I have made a point to do so in print every chance I’ve had since that wonderful day at the end of May when a jury of his peers convicted him of 34 felony counts. We always knew Trump was a criminal, we can now call him that without legitimate contradiction until the day he dies.

Of course, Trump’s new identity has enormous political cachet. Now that he’s a convicted felon, Trump must live with it as a reality, a reality that will devastate him politically and quite probably fatally ruin any chance he might otherwise have had to be re-elected. We cannot be gaslighted into any other reality. MAGA desperation to erase that fact, or attempts to pervert it into a kind of martyrdom, avails them nothing.

How is this different from, say, Adam Schiff deserving to be forever introduced as “censured Congressman Adam Schiff”? Because we are not stupid. Because we are not blinded by political bias. Trump was convicted without fear or favour by a jury of 7 men and 5 women, empanelled and approved by his own lawyer, presented with evidence by his own lawyer. Congressman Schiff was censured by a kangaroo court of rightwing fanatics. There is a difference, and we should embrace that difference. We are, objectively speaking, on the side of truth.

I don’t say that because I hate Donald Trump and love Adam Schiff. I say that with the same certain confidence with which I avow that a flat-earther is objectively wrong to say the earth is flat and I am objectively right to say it’s spherical. I say it with the simple confident certainty of knowledge of an indisputable scientific fact.

Facts don’t change merely because stupid people believe otherwise. Reality is not a democracy. It’s not up for a vote where the majority wins. We can’t legislate the law of gravity, it will continue to kill us every time we step off the edge of a fifty storey building, even if the Supreme Court of the United States should suddenly declare it’s suddenly safe to do so.

It’s time for us to admit out loud what and who we are, brothers and sisters. We are on the side of truth. We don’t have to be embarrassed about it or apologetic about it. We don’t have to explain ourselves or attach a list of caveats or philosophical niceties. There really is such a thing as truth, and we are steadfastly on its side.

So say it aloud and say it with confidence. Write it on paper and chisel it into walls. Donald Trump is a convicted felon. He is and always will be “convicted felon Donald Trump.” Convicted felon Donald Trump. Convicted felon Donald Trump. Convicted felon Donald Trump. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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