Emil Guillermo: Rule of law in the era of CFDT34

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Photo by Jeenah Moon/The New York Times

I respect the rule of law. I don’t always like it, but I understand why we need it in a democracy.

For example, when the homicide laws did not favor a prosecution in the murder of my cousin in California in 2014, I was outspoken and critical.

My family still did not get justice. And unless there was some political will to change the law justifying shooting an unarmed man thought to be an intruder, I could do nothing but abide by our system.

That’s what it means to be an American.

So why is accepting the American truth so hard for CFDT34?The name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, and it is to our democracy.

But CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should all adopt.

It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt. This case wasn’t a minor indiscretion--34 guiltys represent a belief, if not a lifestyle. CFDT34!!!!!

We need to say CFDT34 aloud, as much as possible, as a constant reminder because too many Americans are in denial.

Especially CFDT34 himself.

CFDT34, of course, does not have the class to end his run to be president again, or to show that for once, he can set aside his ego for our country.

In fact, because he came close to overturning the 2020 election with fake electors and insurrectionists, CFDT34 feels he can come back even stronger to challenge any future election and live up to his dream of becoming president for life. Uh, that would be a dictator.

CFDT34, if given a second chance, will likely do all he can to defy any majority that votes against him. News reports say CFDT34 is already assembling teams and methods to undo and deny any unfavorable election results.

That would not be good for democracy.

What if CFDT34 did this instead: Make the magnanimous decision to immediately put an end to his campaign for America’s sake.

Think of the benefits—to all of us, but especially to him.

If CFDT34 demonstrated a modicum of sense for the public good, he would be automatically catapulted into ranks of the most memorable presidents in history.Washington, Lincoln, and Trump? He’d be closer to those two than to Nixon.

CFDT34 would be the only twice impeached president, criminally convicted of 34 felony counts, with three other criminal trials to go, who, for the good of the country, chose not to run.

That would truly be historical, the felon who saved democracy.

Instead, CFDT34 is determined to play out his hand. He is fundraising tens of millions of dollars. He is destroying the Republican party by having its leaders parrot his words in unison, or be abandoned like Liz Cheney. You heard them all weekend. Rigged system?Never should have been tried? Where was the crime? The Federal Election Commission didn’t see a crime? Just a misdemeanor?

All of that is baloney.

The evidence was overwhelming, and an independent jury was selected. The verdicts were fair and square, resulting in 34 guilty verdicts.

To hear the Republican leaders defend CFDT34 with outright lies is disheartening.

And then to see Trump in his first public statements on Friday rail out against what he called "the fascist system" against him is downright alarming.

Why stop with simple election denying? The man who would be fascist is employing a strategy of double-talk. He calls his opponents "the fascists" while paying no respect to the rule of law.

Worse yet are the right wing commentators adopting the CFDT34 talking points. One popular podcast with millions of listeners is saying it was a federal case and Biden was in on it. No, it was a New York state case, and Biden and his Justice Department had nothing to do with it. This was a simple business document falsification case that was elevated because CFDT34 wanted to keep the electorate from knowing about his affair with a porn star.

We can do as the former Republican Never Trumper and half-Asian American (Filipino) George Conway has done since the verdicts and just call out all the Republicans who appear on talk shows as shameless liars.

That, however, is much too direct for career politicos. Too close to home.

But the worrisome thing if we don’t do that every time: all the lies go unaddressed and become corrosive, further breeding distrust in our system.

Already a majority have some distrust in government according to Prof. Dan Gonzales on my “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” last Friday. “It makes it easy for Republicans to do what they’re doing.”

And that’s bad for all of us. It could lead, as Gonzales fears, to people not voting for CFDT34 or Biden, and voters just opting out this time.

The selfish nature of CFDT34 stains our democracy and emboldens public selfishness as a model.

Is CFDT34 really like all of us? God help us.

But look at what that attitude does to any idea of “government for the people.” Only if it works for me? It leads to partisan fights that never end, and where nothing gets done.

That’s not a good mindset for the future of America.

What to do? Time for all of us to act like founding fathers–and mothers. I know the original folks who founded the Constitution weren’t perfect. Some were slaveholders. But the great experiment has lasted more than 250 years. It’s still a good model to follow--if we care enough to save it.

It only continues in the right direction if we all stand up and respect the rule of law. That means honoring the jury’s decision on CFDT34.


NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on