The Irreconcilable Differences of This Presidency

Dear Friend,

I don’t think I can do this anymore.
I’m afraid we’re at an impasse.
I’m not sure it’s fixable.

Initially I held out hope that we could find some compromise here; that we could make an uneasy peace, that despite our differences of opinion we could forge some tenuous truce moving forward.

That was a long time ago.

Back then we didn’t know what we know about the person you voted for—and I didn’t know what I’ve learned about you as a result.

Back when you voted the way you voted, we didn’t know the extent of:
his sexual indiscretions,
his allegiance to the Russians,
his dangerous nepotism,
his revolving door Cabinet,
his contempt for the rule of law,
his disregard for the environment,

his oppression of refugees and dreamers,
his neglect of sick and disabled people,
his indebtedness to the NRA,
his defense of racists,

his attacks on journalists,
his reckless financial waste,
his golf excursions and Twitter rants,
his public war on the FBI,

his impulsive hirings and firings.

Before we knew all these things, I could give you the benefit of the doubt. I could imagine that you’d never have consented to such cruelty, such incompetence, such bigotry, such malevolence.

Before we knew these things, I could believe that you couldn’t possibly harbor such hatred in your heart for so many people sharing this country with you. 

Before we knew these things I could have made every excuse that it wasn’t racism or misogyny or nationalism or supremacy or weaponized religion that motivated you to vote the way you voted.

But we do know these things now about this man, and yet your support hasn’t wavered in the slightest—and this has been heartbreaking to witness:

Listening to you regurgitate FoxNews talking points, seeing your timeline fill with fake news, sitting through bitter holiday meal diatribes, hearing offhand, off-color comments that sound just like the man you voted for—and through it all, wondering where the rational, compassionate, loving person I thought I knew has gone.

I don’t recognize you anymore.

I see you dig in your heels and double down and amen his toxic filth, and I feel myself grieving the loss of who I once believed you were.
I feel the gap between us widening.
I feel the fracture deepening.

At first I did my best not to assign motive to you.
I assumed that you came to your vote as carefully and rationally as I did mine.
I tried to show you the legislative damage he was doing in hopes that it would move you.
I reminded you that we are a nation of immigrants and outsiders and refugees.
I asked you to consider the duress people were under now as a result of your vote.
I appealed to your compassion for the marginalized, poor, and hurting people—left more vulnerable because of him.
I showed you the words of Jesus about loving your neighbor and caring for the least and welcoming the stranger.

I hoped that any one of these things might reach you and that you’d show me your humanity, and I’d again see the person I thought you were when we were close.

I realize now that none of these things are effective; that no amount of data, no evidence in his words or legislation, no firsthand stories of the people being destroyed right now are enough to move you.

I understand that you have no desire to entertain any reality that threatens the story you wish to be true—and in many ways this makes you unreachable right now. It makes you less and less someone I feel good about being around.

And the longer this goes on, the less and less possible reconciliation between us seems; not because I don’t wish for it, and not because I won’t grieve it—but because I can’t compromise the lives of millions of other people just to keep the peace between the two of us. That isn’t a fair exchange.

Equality, diversity, and compassion are hills worth dying on for me, and if our relationship is the collateral damage of fully fighting for these things, I’m going to have to live with that.

I’m still hopeful one day things between us can be better, but I’m almost positive they’ll never be the same; because of what we know about him and what I’ve learned about you since this began.

And so this division, this impasse, this separation, as painful as it is—is far less painful than denying my deepest convictions or ignoring the suffering around me.

I need to be able to sleep at night and to look in the mirror.

Because of that, these differences we have may be irreconcilable.

 

 

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

79 thoughts on “The Irreconcilable Differences of This Presidency

  1. The Incarnation of the Word of Life
    1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

    Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness
    5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

    8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

  2. Pingback: The Irreconcilable Differences of This Presidency | williamlsyublog

  3. So this is what decent people in Germany were experiencing during the rise of The Third Reich. The circumstances are different. But the emotions are exactly identical. How can people I know do this? How can people I LOVE do this? Their shock and grief generations ago reverberates within our broken hearts today.

  4. Completely agree, John. We feel like we need to be in a support group with like minded people, since we live in conservative OC Ca — it is so difficult & depressing right now. Know of any churches or groups we could make friends in? Thank you for all that you do. Your words give us hope and are such an encouragement during these darks days.

    • To the person seeking a support group. I founded one, actually I was one of the founders. We formed the week after Trump won. We were devastated. Also I have found people of like mind in the Presbyterian Church. They are social activist types.

  5. You are far more charitable than I, John. Before this man even got “elected” – when I began to have the first rumblings of real fear about what might happen…on Oct 26, 2016, I posted it to my Facebook Page…If you want to stay friends with me, NEVER let me know that you voted for or supported Donald Trump.
    I continued: This goes for friends as well as family. I am NOT in the business of telling anyone how to vote, BUT this man is so objectionable to me, that I can no longer be friends with anyone who votes for him or supports him.

    Tell me you stayed home, tell me you voted to Evan McMullin, Gary Johnson, even Darrell Castle…or Jill Stein. I don’t care. If you voted for or supported Donald Trump, and you want to remain friends, NEVER tell me you did. Because I will unfriend you, and you will have no further place in my life.

    I should point out that, while I am a lifelong Democrat and Progressive, I have never felt the need to take this stand, not when it was HW Bush, not when it was Dubya, not when it mighta been Romney or McCain. Donald Trump is a disgusting man, an existential threat to my existence as a transgender woman, and an imminent threat to this very nation…and many of the people in it..people I love and care for. And I find I can no longer associate, in any way, with people so willing to see other hurt by this disgusting creature Donald J Trump.

    Something to that effect, anyway, I’d have to go back to get the actual wording.

    That said, I totally agree with this article…and you are far more charitable than I. I am to a point where I believe we need to just divide this nation and have done wit it…there are people now that I no longer wish to share a country with.

  6. Ever since the election I have been saying that the one thing that all the pundits and all the experts and all the people who claimed that Trump could never be elected president, the one thing they did not understand was the true character of the American people.

    I think you said it better.

    Thank you. It needs to be said.

  7. Excellent piece. I would suggest adding his attack on Women especially Women’s Reproductive Health. His comments during the campaign that women who have abortions should be punished, his statement that he would rather shut down the gov’t than fund Planned Parenthood…etc etc. Plus all his sexist comments “blood coming out of her whatever..” etc etc.

  8. I agree with all you have said. My daughter is a Trumpian and has come between us. To me, this is very sad. There are different kind of Trumpians. The haters, the religious right, the might make righters, the ignorant, and I’m probably leaving some out but the one thing the ones I know all have in common is authoritarianism. They identify with his strongman stance. That solves nothing, it just keeps me from hating them. And I suspect they saw the whip or paddle as kids. And I pity them. Still, it is an irreconcilable difference. Good article

  9. I a sure that you are sincere in the item you posted. I respect your right. However, the other side feels just as strongly that our choice is the right one. We live in a country that allows us to vote our conscience. I hope that you can accept that. That is what democracy is all about and allows you to express your opinions. That is the purpose of freedom of speech..

    As my late husband would say. You can be wrong if you want to.

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