A reader from Australia texted me last night. He’d been watching the news and said he wanted to check on me.
We’re heartbroken to hear what’s going on there. he wrote. Is it really as bad as it looks?
Another sweet friend from England messaged me this morning, with
similar concern for me and for our nation based on what she’s been
reading and seeing in the media.
Over the past few months I’ve had many kind-hearted people from all
over the world make similar inquiries about America, asking if it is as
dire and alarming up close as it appears from a distance.
Yes, it is.
In fact, it’s far worse here on the ground, because all the ugliness
you can see from thousands of miles away (outside of a few politician’s
faces) is probably still rather abstract—a largely undefinable, faceless
wave of malice and bigotry, something to be analyzed and studied later.
But here on the ground this malignant sickness has a face, one that is far too familiar:
It’s the face of family members whose newly revealed racism is regularly leveling us around the dinner table.
It’s the face of former church friends, who have completely abandoned
the Jesus they claim faith in and chosen the vilest of idols.
It’s the face of once pleasant neighbors who casually regurgitate extremist propaganda in sidewalk conversations.
It’s the face of childhood friends spewing anti-immigrant filth on their social media profiles.
It’s the face of storeowners and hair stylists and restaurant workers,
the interactions with whom, have become walks through minefields.
So yes, it’s the staggering cruelty of those holding the power
here—but just as much it’s the people we know and live alongside who are
so gladly empowering them.
Yes, it’s the complete bastardization of the rule of law and the
systems of protections our forebears put in place to avoid putting our
nation in such peril—but it’s our coworkers and uncles and classmates
who don’t seem to give a damn about that.
Yes, it’s one political party’s sociopathic lack of empathy and their
unrepentant viciousness—but it’s the people we’ve shared Thanksgiving
dinner with and served on mission trips alongside, who share their venom
and boost their signal.
Yes, it’s Republican politicians’ incessant attacks on LGBTQ people
and immigrants and Muslims and the sick and the vulnerable—but it’s the
once kind-hearted people we love, who have been so poisoned by partisan
talking points and perverted Christian theology that they celebrate all
That’s why this is all so bad.
We’re certainly losing the big things here: the integrity of our
elections, the stability of our Republic, the faith in our systems, the
illusion that our Republican leaders will put anything over power and
But we’re losing much more than that.
We’re losing the soft places we called home: our families and our churches and our circle of friends.
We are swiftly and almost hourly seeing the relational fractures that
may have always been there beneath the surface, but are now visible and
We’re trying to decide whether to fight for relationships we’ve spent
our lives nurturing, or whether we need to severe those connections in
the name of self-preservation.
These things will never make the news or make a global impact—but they are rocking our personal worlds to the bedrock.
So we’re marching and protesting and working and resisting in the
face of this monumental and historically malevolent national political
cancer—and while we’re doing that, we’re also trying to preserve our
families and our friendships and our workplaces, which are also hanging
by a thread.
This is a Constitutional crisis and it’s a family emergency.
We’re wondering what happened to our nation—and to people we once
loved and respected; to our parents, grandparents, siblings, neighbors,
and best friends.
Yes, our Democracy is in peril, but our most treasured relationships with people are in tatters too.
We are trying to salvage both and it’s exhausting.
So yes, friends around the world, thank you for caring about us in America.
It is as bad as it looks from where you’re standing.
But it’s far worse, too.
By John PavlovitzJohn Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North
Carolina. A 25-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry,
John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and
outside faith communities. When not actively working for a more
compassionate planet, John enjoys spending time with his family,
exercising, cooking, and having time in nature. He is the author of A Bigger Table, Hope and Other Superpowers, Low, and Stuff That Needs to Be Said.
Thanks for stopping by Enchanted Revelries.
I hope you'll return and I'll be more in the holiday spirit! Have a wonderful weekend.
(¸.•´ (¸.•´) Tristan
I understand your feelings and you're not alone in feeling them. Pavlovitz is so good. I'm doing my best to deck halls and find some joy in the pretty because the rest of the world is very ugly right now and I don't see it getting better soon. All that and Stephen Sondheim. It's a bad week.
Take care, my friend. Try to find the joy.
Get lost in the magic of christmas decorations and twinkling lights, hot chocolate, warm gingerbread with butter. You are a master of all things bright and beautiful, bibbity, bobbity boo! Love you!
A long time ago, I made the decision not to go on Facebook or Twitter. Occasionally, I do watch some cable news, though I try to limit my exposure, but I have to say that I see hateful rhetoric from both sides. I don't feel that it's exclusive to one political party or another.
I will be holding you close in my heart and prayers. Choose joy for your heart. You can make it work.♥
It is a sad state all around us, and I have any number of moments where I am just sad. No advice, just sending hugs and good wishes across the miles.
Post a Comment