I’m An American. He Does Not Speak For Me

I’m an American.

I used to feel confident saying that.

In the past, when I’d be traveling across the world, it was a declaration I made without reservation. It was a source of pride. I never thought my country was perfect by any means, but I believed in what it aspired to be, in what it was trying to stand for, in what it got right much of the time.

I no longer feel that way.
I now wince at that truth.
I now feel a bit sick.
I now feel ashamed to be an American, because I know the association that word now has in the world.

I know what and who that title automatically aligns me with; the reality that as I am American, I am now represented in the world by a person lacking humanity, one devoid of decency, one who is the very antithesis of what I believe this country’s best aspirations to be.

The name American is now a off-color, global joke—and he is its horrible punchline.

Because of this, I need to speak simply right now.
I need to remove any ambiguity.
I need to tell the watching world the clear, unadorned truth: he does not speak for me.

His incoherent, vile, grammar-murdering, 4AM Tweets do not speak for me.
His nonsensical press conferences, fully disconnected from truth and reality do not speak for me.
His malevolent, narcissistic, hateful sycophantic surrogates do not speak for me.
His horde of amoral trolls, his white supremacist preacher army, and his predatory cabinet does not speak for me. 

He does not speak for me regarding Muslims, women, people of color, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ people, global warming, religion, healthcare, America, nazis—heck, pretty much anything he opens his lying, snarling, Russia-loving mouth about.

In early December our President shared a fraudulent, anti-Muslim propaganda video. In any other time in our history, this would be fully alarming and cause for universal, nonpartisan American outrage. It would initiate discussions of impeachment and of his mental and emotional fitness for his lofty position.

It is now simply Wednesday in this country.
It is business as usual with a madman at the wheel.
It is just 2017 in America—and that is shameful.

I’d wanted to apologize to all Muslims for him then and I did—but I’d be remiss if I stopped there, actually.

As one of the vast majority of Americans who did not vote for this President, I’d like to apologize to the world for him.

I’m sorry for what he says and who he is and the trauma he brings. As an American trying to be part of the best version of this nation that we can be—I am fully ashamed of him.

He is a national embarrassment to most of us. He is that racist, lecherous uncle who’s had too much to drink at his niece’s wedding reception, who has commandeered the microphone and is now spewing forth a rambling, facepalm-inducing diatribe and will not relinquish the floor.

We the people, are the horrified hosts, sick to our stomachs at the ugliness on the microphone and wondering how we’ll ever be able to fix the damage being done—and wishing we could disappear into the upholstery.

I am an American still trying to make this place what is was supposed to be.
I am an American who knows America is not perfect but also that it should not be this.

I am an American pushing back against the hatred we are still afflicted by.
I am an American who remembers we are a nation of immigrants and disparate souls seeking refuge.
I am an American who takes that Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of happiness stuff seriously.
I am an American who believes the Constitution should matter.
I am an American who is tired of being represented by a monster.

I am an American—and he does not speak for me.

46 thoughts on “I’m An American. He Does Not Speak For Me

  1. John, you always speak the truth in such an eloquent way. But today…this one hit the nail on the head as much as any words that have come before. I hope somehow it is spread far and wide…as an apology and acknowledgment that this is not who we are…at least most of us. Thank you.

  2. John, thankfully the majority of right-thinking, God-fearing people in this country, (the United Kingdom), understand that the American president, President Trump does not, and never will speak for the majority of right-minded, God-fearing Americans. the words in the Book of Galations come to mind whenever I think of the liberal elite, evangelical Christians who have support him “Oh foolish Galations who has bewitched you!” Neither do the extreme right wing fascist groups in this country who preach the politics of hatred and division speak for me or any right-minded God-fearing, inclusive Englishman.

    • First: Galatians. And if you think it’s the “liberal elite” that supports Trump, you need to inform yourself. It’s the hard-right bigots and so=called “conservatives”.

  3. Thank you once again, John Pavlovitz. I could not have said this better. I actually had this same conversation with a German friend today. She grew up in post WWII Germany and we are both so saddened by this so called leader of the “free” world. Although none of us can choose where we were born, I voiced to her that I am ashamed to call myself an American now. It is a sad world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. But, we must stay strong. Your writings help me every time I read them and I know from what my friends have told me, they help them too.

  4. Thank you for saying what the majority of us feel, but are to angry to find the words. You stated it so eloquently and from the heart. I am the first generation born in American and can remember my grandfather crying when we landed on the moon saying ” God Bless America “and my father in the USAF for 29 yrs… crying at the national anthem. Now I am afraid my tears are for a completely different reason.

  5. Why is someone who carries the responsibility that this man does habitually tweeting at 4.00 am? How can he make decisions that impact on the safety of the whole world when he is suffering from sleep deprivation?
    Very worrying for us all.

  6. All peoples around the world are constrained by their leaders, even overseas, people know that leaders don’t always represent the people themselves. Look at Putin for an example. The Russians have no voice that isn’t manipulated.

    I will never be ashamed of being an american because I have an idiot for a leader. But I can be ashamed of people That didn’t bother to vote because they thought no one would be ignorant of Trump’s past or even present behavior to vote for such a man.

    They apparently knew nothing about the christian right and just who Trump was courting.

    Or people that didn’t bother to turn the channel to find out whether Trump was being honest. Or people that just didn’t vote period, because they believe their vote doesn’t count, for decades the Right has done a good job of promoting such beliefs by design.

    Or for people that cared more about a petty, authoritarian, and religiously motivated agenda they believed Trump would honor, than they cared about their fellow man. The later being the most ugly of reasons to vote for this president.

    If Trump stepped down tomorrow and Pense took over, the only thing that would change is the clownish temperament of the President, but the ugly mean spirited christian right agenda would continue. Worse than Trump being president is who is running the country, and that’s the christian right.

    The media has done a poor job of following the Christian Right for decades, and the people themselves never took them seriously. Well we are forced to now and may have to for decades to come.

    And these people love this president because they believe he will be their vehicle to complete dominance of this country under their authoritarian version of Christianity.

    There is little to no difference between Trumps attitudes and the Christians that follow him. They love his brashness, his meanness and his willingness to openly voice their prejudices toward minorities, women, gays and anyone that isn’t part of the CHRISTIAN RIGHT’S AGENDA.

    When you have Sara Huckabee Sanders telling you that the truth doesn’t matter, we should believe her.

  7. Worse than having him leader of our country is the fact that so many voted for him. Or did they vote for him? Did the Russians hack the voting systems? However he got into office the masses appear to be defending him now and even supporting his crazy rants and racist, anti semitic rhetoric. The majority are okay with everything he does, that says more to the world than anything else.
    We as Americans should be ashamed of him, but we are not. Somewhere along the way our parents, our school and religious leaders never taught us about treating others with dignity and acceptance. In Jesus’ immortal words – Love your neighbor as yourself.

    • No Dori. The masses are not supporting him. A small number of people support him, the xtian right wing evangelicals support him, the wealthy and big corporation support him and his dishonest, money hungry party. But the masses do not support him!

  8. I am an American too.

    Welcome to our Democratic Republic ~ the part where you live with not winning every time.

    Welcome to being part of a Representative Democratic Republic ~ where our Representatives, for good, or ill, REPRESENT us.

    I am represented by a Governor and US Representative who are both from the Democratic Party … and I accept that as being part of OUR Democratic Republic. I won’t always get what I want. Yay!

    Perhaps your rhetoric would carry more sting … if not so many of the Resistance had never given ’45’ a chance … but you have always hated him.

    Before he won the Electoral College, the Resistance challenged the electors to act falsely to their pledges.

    You have beseeched Congress to impeach him even as he was being sworn in.

    The Resistance has asked the VP and his Cabinet to declare him unfit for office before most of those officers even had names.

    The Resistance has claimed he is both been bought and paid for by Russia AND will start World War III against them … at the same time.

    He is crass, crude and ‘un-Presidential’ … which is basically the same person who won the election November, 2016.

    And now, after a year of hatred, it has turned out Donald Trump was guiltless of any of the accusations of sexual misconduct which dogged his Presidential bid … while many of those on the Liberal Progressive side are being exposed as serial predators … so the Resistance’s answer it to focus its rage on … another Tweet. Or, in this case, another re-Tweet. SMH.

    And I’m pretty sure this post won’t make it past moderation either. Oh well.

    • Do you mean a chance like the Republican Congress gave Obama when they met on the evening of his inauguration (before he had a chance to do one thing) and decided to fight him on everything or when they decided their one job would be making sure he wasn’t a 2 term President?

      Do you mean like the Tea Party Protest. You remember the Tea Party – all those protesting high taxes and US Debt? Where are they now? Oh, they are Republicans in charge. If you are one of the recipients of the Republicans newly minted permanent gift to those who honor the money God, Merry Christmas to you. The rest of us got a few years worth of pats on the head along with our lump of coal. But you know Trump said “believe me” when he said he would be hurt by these tax cuts.

      Where is your proof that Trump is guiltless in regards to his treatment of women. Is it because he calls them liars? Well I call Trump the biggest liar we have ever had the misfortune to have as a President. Most other Presidents at least could pretend empathy – kind of like buying us dinner before they screw us over. He can’t even fake it. Oh, maybe that’s the part where he tells it like it is – when he makes every single thing about himself. Awesome! He is everything I raised my sons not to be.

      Roy Moore also calls his accusers liars and hides behind God. He says it is all a conspiracy by leftists, LGTBQ and abortionists.
      So a Republican just has to call women liars or call himself a follower of God and all is good?

      You know I have wondered for 10 months who Trump could shoot in the middle of 5th Avenue that might cause a Republican to feel a little uncomfortable. Can you tell me who that might be? Anyone, anyone, Bueller?

      You are an excellent science fiction author, but your attempts to rewrite history is a different type of fiction.

    • If our president had his way we would be sharing cyber security with Putin, remember ? If he had his way foreign people would be interrogated and detained, turned back from airports for no reason, remember? We would have all sanctions taken off of Russia, with silent for Russia to further infiltrate our voting as trump denies it, remember? It is correct no intelligent person felt trump could represent the US in presidency from the get go, why ? Hate spewed campaigning with negative unheard of remarks against women, LGBTQ, the physically challenged, minorities, immigrants. He is vile, and presents a daily danger to US citizens while in office.

    • ” it has turned out Donald Trump was guiltless of any of the accusations of sexual misconduct which dogged his Presidential bid”

      Ya, no. Some of these are still being prosecuted.

  9. Your title is spot on. Our President and his Republican Congress and the rest of his sheeple do not even speak for the people who misguidedly put them in office.

    The whole world sees Trump for what he is. The Republicans stand silently by just so they can pass their reverse Robin Hood move their donors have ordered. The rich and powerful making up so called tax reform to benefit themselves and the even more rich and powerful. I wonder how much it would take to fill that hungry beast. How much money is enough? Of course Trump has said he is not going to be helped by this tax cut. He even threw out his “believe me” line except everyone knows his word is less than worthless.

    Where is the truth anymore? Trump and his ilk have all but obliterated it.

    Funny how we have almost gone full circle. Until this year, the only immigrants who actually came to this country, plundered someone else’s land and annihilated the people was the white people who all but wiped out the Indian nation. Since that time the rich and powerful have made every wave of immigrants (even other white people) their “lesser than” – from sweat shops to working on the railroads to internment camps to even bringing in slaves to empty their chamber pots. Since we need a wall to keep out other colors that might tone down the whiteness the rich and powerful are only left with the “lesser than” American’s pockets to pick while forcing their hypocritical pretend Godliness on everyone.

    Just like the chance of getting mowed down by an automatic weapon this too must be the “price of freedom”. Kind of funny because it really isn’t free for all of us “lesser than” especially those non straight white people, people of color, the disabled, the homeless, the lost, so we must pay the price. We will be helping to pay for yachts , cars, houses, vacations, etc. We just won’t actually be using them or owning them or even seeing them. If I had a choice I would rather spend that money on schools, parks, helping others and so many other things that would actually help most Americans.

    Peace

  10. You can’t rule out the complicit Republican congressmen and senators and judges. And the media continues to dance around calling him what he is……………crazy!

  11. I am in tears just now because you expressed my feelings completely and so well. Today I called a company whose products I have used for years. The voice and accent of the man on the phone was new to me, so enquired where the person was from. He was from Sierra Leone. His accent was beautiful and I told him how happy I was that he was here to enrich our nation with his culture and experiences. I meant it… I truly did. I think he was surprised because of the hate that is being generated. But, we are a nation many cultures and That IS what makes us special. That we would judge this being of courage, to journey this far and join us knowing the barely disguised hate that is here, is amazing. I said welcome to him and hoped that his life would be safe and good and that he would share his culture with us.

    At a restaurant last year was a Muslim woman working in her head scarf… I went up to her and could not help my self, I gave her a big hug and told her not to pay attention to those that hate, that I was very happy she was here…. we must do that …love and respect everyone, not just those from foreign lands, but the people who look differentfrom the people around us. They could be East Indian, Native American, African or Black Americans… it does not matter, they are part of the puzzle that is humanity… all with beauty of their own, all with something wonderful to teach us!

    In nursing school in Detroit, so many years ago, there was a beautiful young African American girl with the name of Arlee. WE only worked together for two days and I never saw her again. She told me that when she was younger she would pray before bed, that when she awoke her skin would be white. It broke my heart, I have never forgotten her or the gift she gave to me. She taught me about the pain of feeling ‘less than’, because of the hate others feel for no reason! It is just not worth it, to damage another human, because of a judgement.

    This nation, must get past this. Making someone feel smaller or less does not make us more and multiply it by thousands, it makes life a miserable experience and fills no ones heart.

    These people taught me… and at a Lakota Sun Dance, run by the best human I have known, an older Holy man, Wicasa Wakan. He has gay men, Winkte, come to the Dance, when others do not allow them and has them preform the sacred rites they did before the Whites tried to destroy this great culture. They are considered sacred, because they walk with two spirits. I know of no other that does this. And, the men do Inipi, sweat lodge ceremony, two days with the men and two days with the women. It is a four day fast and ceremonial Dance. To hear those men cry in the sacred Inipi telling of the pain they suffer at the hands of others, is a great teacher! It is humbling to listen to their experience and know that it does not have to be this way!!

    So, to read you words about the lack of humanity that is being spread across the nation and the encouragement to do violence and to hate, is so distressing and that so Called Christians would pick up that hateful banner and encourage others in the great separation, so discouraging. Thank-you for you kindness and your words. WE have much to heal. If we only touch one person a day or a week, if that is all we are able to do, to love someone, feel and demonstrate kindness to onewe do not even know… then we are not part of the problem. The great good love expressed can not be limited, but will heal. As human conscious beings, it is our joy and responsibility to create more love and compassion in the world. IF we do not do it, who will….. thanks and am so happy to have found your site!

    Mitakuye Oyasin…. we are all one Doreen

  12. I am in tears just now because you expressed my feelings completely and so well. Today I called a company whose products I have used for years. The voice and accent was strange to me, so enquired where the person was from. He was from Sierra Leone. His accent was beautiful and I told him how happy I was that he was here to enrich our nation with his culture and experiences. I meant it… I truly did. I think he was surprised because of the hate that is being generated. But, we are a nation many cultures and it IS what makes us special. That we would judge this being of courage, to journey this far and join us knowing the barely disguised hate that is here, is amazing. I said welcome to him and hoped that his life would be safe and good and that he would share his culture with us.

    At a restaurant last year was a Muslim woman working in her head scarf… I went up to her and could not help my self, I gave her a big hug and told her not to pay attention to those that hate, that I was very happy she was here…. we must do that love and respect everyone, not just those from foreign lands, but the people who look different than the people around us. They could be East Indian, Native American, African or Black Americans… it does not matter, they are part of the puzzle that is humanity… all with beauty of their own all with something wonderful to teach us!

    In nursing school in Detroit, so many years ago, there was a beautiful young African American girl with the name of Arlee. WE only worked together for two days and I never saw her again. She told me that when she was younger she would pray before bed, that when she awoke her skin would be white. It broke my heart, I have never forgotten her or the gift she gave to me. She taught me about the pain of feeling ‘less than’, because of the hate others feel in their hearts. It is just not worth it, to damage another human !

    WE must get past this. Making someone feel smaller or less does not make us more and multiply it by thousands, it makes life a miserable experience and fills no ones heart.

    These people taught me… and at a Lakota Sun Dance, run by the best human I have known, an older Holy man, Wicasa Wakan. He has gay men, Winkte, come to the Dance, when others do not allow them and has them preform the sacred rites they did before the Whites tried to destroy this great and sacred culture. They are considered sacred, because they walk with two spirits. I know of no other that does this. And, the men do Inipi, sweat lodge ceremony, two days with the men and two days with the women. It is a four day fast and ceremonial Dance. To hear those men cry in the sacred Inipi telling of the pain they suffer at the hands of others, is a great teacher! It is humbling to listen to their experience and know that it does not have to be this way!!

    So, to read you words about the lack of humanity that is being spread across the nation and the encouragement to do violence and to hate, is so distressing and that so Called Christians would pick up that hateful banner and encourage others in the great separation, is so discouraging. Thank-you for you kindness and your words. WE have much to heal, but if we only touch one person a day or a week, if that is all we are able to do, to love someone with kindness who we do not even know… then we are not part of the problem. The great good love expressed can not be limited, but will heal. As human conscious beings, it is our joy and responsibility to create more love and compassion in the world. IF we do not do it, who will….. thanks and am so happy to have found your site!

    Mitakuye Oyasin…. we are all one!
    Doreen

  13. John Pavlovitz – you can speak for me anytime
    Thank you for your measured, intelligent, thoughtful words. You say what I cannot. This post & your recent ones on grief have been so very helpful.

  14. I so agree. Our country is being held hostage by greedy thieves with no sense of decency. And our elected senators and representatives are shuffling along and taking their orders from liars and crooks. Gutless and dangerous.

  15. Are there stickers, posters, coffee mugs, t shirts, bumper stickers, tote bags, etc. of this? for us old throwbacks who want something more tangible than posting a meme on Facebook? Where can i get them? Get thee to Zazzle or I will do it myself! 💙

  16. Thank you. I’ve had trouble putting to words my dismay at our circumstances. Appalling?
    There is an ever present, growing dread within me that fears the worst. It is already this bad and yet nothing seems to matter, when is enough enough?
    Anyone unwilling to fight against this abomination is merely another polite German turning their face away from horror.

  17. I agree

    YOU must be accountable for your own actions

    but the bible says clearly to Pray for leaders, serve them as loyalty to God, Not man
    Obey masters, leaders, those in authority over YOU
    Real clear of : Rebellion or Humility
    Pride or Humility
    Servantude vs slavery
    If you really want to know
    Trust God, Thru Jesus Christ, Ask God To reveal Truth , Pray for leaders and our government

  18. The videos that President Trump retweeted were from ‘Britain First’, an extremist organisation here in the UK that very few support and most find abhorrent. Retweeting these videos on their behalf is no different to Islamists retweeting ISIS propaganda videos.

  19. I’ve spent a lot of my life loving my country and being ashamed of its government. As usual, I am getting through this period, even though the shame is deeper than usual, by reflecting that I did everything I could – registered to vote, helped others to do so, voted, raised funds and campaigned for the candidates I supported – to keep our current disaster from happening.
    Any American who isn’t happy with their government – and any American who is – should immediately register to vote, help others do so, get to the polls and vote, and help others do so, as well as informing themselves about the issues and candidates of the day. Start as soon as possible, in view of the fact that about 20 states controlled by Republicans have passed laws making it harder to register and vote. To quote one B. Obama – don’t mourn, organize!

  20. Dear John
    Why do you profess to know the word but continue to disobey what it say. John I encourage you to read –
    Titus 3
    New International Version (NIV)

    Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

    At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

    John Polvolvitz why are you willing breaking covenet? Why are you leading so many astray?

    Praying for you.

    • Mr. Boggio, I can appreciate your concerns. I don’t want to be unkind and I will try not to be. You quote, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone, ” is a good one.

      May we apply this scripture to our “leader?”

      Obedient: we have rules for our “rulers” (although we call ours an elected president since a ruler implies complete authority..like a king). Do you apply the SAME rule to a president who ignores the constitution?
      Do whatever is good: Banning innocent refugees from coming to our country because they are not Christians..or white…or rich – NOT GOOD, ignoring the plight of our still-suffering brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. Working to eliminate the subsidies that help people afford health insurance and CARE.

      Be peaceable and considerate: Peaceable does not include threats to North Korea. Considerate doesn’t include pushing another world leader out of the way to get in the front of a line during a photo session.

      Slander no one (BTW – speaking truth is not slander): 4 am tweets that criticize Gold Star parents (because they don’t say what you like), calling Mueller names and questioning his impeccable ethics and devotion to truth, spreading lies about President Obama’s birth place, Accusing people who quote facts to be liars, accusing the now cleared Central Park

      Be gentle: Bullying people through the media, almost nonstop , derisive, childish name-calling ( little Marco, crooked Hillary, lying Ted, low-energy Jeb, Rocket Man, loser…).

      I could go on forever, but I believe your advice might be better applied to the current president, whereas I’ve not yet read anything that is a lie, mean-spirited, or untruthful on this blog. I’ve read reflections of anger, sadness, frustration, empathy…but nothing that I personally conclude that John is not following Titus 3.

      • complete the phrase, “accusing the now cleared Central Park” to
        “accusing the now cleared Central Park of still being guilty despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary.”

        • “accusing the now cleared Central Park Five of still being guilty despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary.”

          (Final attempt at correction. Wishing I could just go into original comment and edit. )

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