At Long Last, A Criminal Verdict for Donald Trump

At Long Last, A Criminal Verdict for Donald Trump May 30, 2024


The American flag with the outline of a cross shining through the fabric
image via Pixabay

Today’s the day.

Donald Trump finally got a criminal conviction.

You’d think I’d have planned all kinds of things to say, but I’m feeling tongue-tied.

In the spring of 2016, just before Easter, my friend Sam asked if I wanted to start a Patheos blog for writing about Catholicism. In November of 2016, then-Father Frank Pavone put a 40-year-old corpse on an altar in order to shill for a con artist and serial adulterer who was trying to get the Christian vote for president. I blurted out that this was hideously wrong and that the pro-life movement ought to grow a spine, and my rants went viral. I somehow became big-fish-in-a-small-pond famous, in Catholic writing circles, for pointing out the obvious: that Trump is a criminal, his toadies lack all moral conviction, and white Christian nationalism doesn’t speak for Christ. That claiming to be pro-life doesn’t excuse being a tyrant and an abuser. That this man is a bad man, and those who supported him would regret it.

Since then, my family got bullied out of our parish, I’ve been harassed countless times and called all kinds of nasty names. I’ve been told again and again that I’m going to hell for not bowing to their idol. That’s not going to change. Nobody who didn’t know Trump was a monster before will believe it now. They’ll say the trial was rigged, or that it doesn’t matter because important men should be allowed to crassly use women and break the law.

In a real way, today’s verdict changes nothing.

He won’t see the inside of a jail cell before the election (if at all). And if Trump is re-elected, it doesn’t matter. We have to keep fighting, even harder than we’ve been fighting so far.

Still, in another way, it matters quite a bit.

Our country is so very flawed. There is so much that’s wrong. But we’re still a country where twelve anonymous human beings can sort through a pile of evidence and decide that a guilty man is guilty, even if that man is rich and famous and was once their most powerful citizen. That means something. That means something very profound. Our country came extremely close to falling to the worst of men, and it may yet do so. The tyrant could still succeed; that’s a very real possibility. It could happen this year. But in the time between 2016 and now, we’ve awakened to the danger. We voted him out of office by a huge margin. We’ve held him financially accountable for digital rape and for libeling his rape victim. We’ve held him financially accountable for some of his shady business dealings. And now we’ve held him accountable for trying to rig the 2016 election by covering up his dalliances with a porn star.

Eight years ago and change, Donald Trump was running a successful candidacy for president. Frank Pavone was the king of the pro-life movement. America had no idea how much danger we were in, nor how powerful we were.

I thought the pro-life movement stood for life, not licking the feet of disgusting criminals. I thought the Christians around me actually wanted to serve Christ, not men. And then I started to learn how wrong I was. And I started to try to tell everyone else.

Now, Trump is a convicted felon thirty-fout times over: and for the dirtiest, tawdriest, most shameful and humiliating of crimes. He’s ineligible to vote in his home state of Florida. He’ll be sentenced four days before the Republican convention. Frank Pavone is no longer a priest. We’ve been awakened to the dangers of Christian Nationalism.  So many now realize what I had to come to realize: that the so-called pro-life movement was nothing but a confidence game, because we see that abortion rates are increasing after they got everything they wanted, and we who value human life have got to go about safeguarding it some other way. You didn’t have to sell your souls and your credibility to a narcissistic swine. You did that because you wanted to, and now you see the results.

I told you so.

I told you so.

I told you so.

God bless America.


Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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