The Miserable People


Every time I see them, this is the word that prevails.

Whenever I encounter a supporter of Donald Trump on social media now, or scan the crowds at his propaganda rallies, or see his surrogates bloviating on talk shows or pounding upon pulpits, I am left with the same conclusion: they are a people bereft of joy.

There is so little happiness, so little benevolence, so little kindness.

The emotional deficit is continually on display:

In their contorted, sneering countenance; in their so readily brandished middle finger; in their steady spit shower of verbal filth. With each angry gesture and with every slandering epithet, they reveal in high-definition detail what it looks like when someone loses the light inside them.

War does this to the human heart. These people are at war with the world.

They’re against the gays.
They’re against immigrants.
They’re against Muslims.
They’re against foreigners.
They’re against scientists.

They’re against atheists.
They’re against Liberals.
They’re against the Democrats.
They’re against the Media.
They’re against teenage shooting survivors.
They’re against athletes and entertainers.

The world in their heads is composed almost entirely of enemies and adversaries—and as a result they are perpetually disgusted. If I had that many threats to fight, I’d be unendingly pissed off too. I’d probably pity them a lot more if I didn’t have to endure them.

These are the wildest of ironies: they had their president for four years, their politicians commandeering Congress, the Supreme Court tilted in their favor—and yet they still now manage to feel themselves oppressed, still picture the world unfair, still rage against a machine they’ve made and are part of. So many of them claim faith in Jesus, and yet live in almost polar opposition to his example.

The only time they do smile or show anything resembling joy, is to reflect the arrogant, self-satisfied sneer of their leader; almost always in the face of someone else’s heartache or misfortune, almost always when someone else loses something. They only happiness they seem capable of manufacturing, is in response to pain.

I try to imagine what it feels like to be so afflicted with contempt for the planet: to be so viscerally sickened by the breadth of diversity around me, to be relentlessly in a fear-birthed battle posture—but I can’t.

Thank God, I can’t. If you can’t imagine it either, consider yourself fortunate.

I realize that this has become the difference now; the dividing line in this version of America. It is between joyful people and miserable people; those who live open-handed toward the world and those whose fists are balled tightly; people who are driven by compassion and those fueled by anger; people who want a bigger table—and those feel it belongs solely to them.

As disheartening as it is to witness people this internally toxic, it’s a cautionary reminder of who we do not want to become, of what we can’t let the fight do to us.

We have to fight to keep goodness inside us, despite the outside badness; to never be defined by how many things we hate.

I want my default response to this life to always be hope and not derision.

May we who oppose this national malignancy, never become so devoid of lightness that we resemble those who celebrate it.

May we never applaud someone’s suffering, never weaponize our religion to do harm, never grow comfortable with hearts that are only capable of anger.

May we never lose our laughter, our softness, our lightness in this life.

May we never become as miserable as those who support our former President.

That is when we know we’ve really lost.




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299 thoughts on “The Miserable People

  1. Here in the UK, during Trumps visit there were two marches.
    The Anti-Trump march on Friday 13 July and the Pro-Trump march on Saturday 14. You could spot the difference if you took two photos and ‘shopped our the placards.
    One full of smiling, happy, laughing people. Children aloft on their parents shoulders. Humour, togetherness, trumpets, choirs but most of all smiles at the unity. The other; red-faced with anger, fist clenched, mostly middle aged men, inciting violence, shouting abuse at anyone and everyone.

    • Dear Brit: And what makes you think it’s so different in your country? We have the same human garbage in the US of A. Only difference is that we call ‘petrol’ ‘gasoline’. Our Louse In The White House has unleashed a wave of hatred, bigotry, misogyny, racism that will take generations to put back into its well-deserved sewer.

      • Seth, Brit Dean WAS talking about people in his country.
        And yes, unfortunately you have a creature in power that enables all the haters in the USA. I am fearing he’s doing more damage to the world than it can recover from–and I think he’s already sounded the death knell on the USA as it was once known.

      • Mr Lefkow you’ve just defined what the Democrats have created towards those they dislike. They lost an election and have so much bitterness that everything Trump does get spun into showing as a horrible person. Ever bad thing that’s thrown at him can be proved false. Get beyond your hatred and use common sense to veiw reality. The past administration was so damn corrupt and got away with it due to our current group not wanting to divide us further.
        Clinton didn’t care about the people of this country. She wanted to be the most powerful person on the planet period.

        • It’s amazing given all the corruption of the Obama Administration how many of the people in his administration were indicted for one crime or another, isn’t it?

        • I agree, Bill! Also, I have friends who are conservative and liberal. What’s funny is the ones who are conservative don’t even say much because they are scared of getting cursed out, demeaned, shouted at, etc. I read this article and was thinking the whole time that all of the stuff he says liberals experience, are actually the very things they do to others who don’t agree with them! I have never in my life done anything that this writer claims conservatives do! I just started reading him and I do not think I have ever read articles that are filled with so many lies, as I have his. It is sad how much hate he has in his articles, yet at the same time is saying others are hateful? I feel sorry for him because he is so use to lying to himself and others just to make people he doesn’t agree with look bad!

  2. It seems to me there’s also the issue of education here, and I don’t mean a formal one which includes college. I mean knowing more tomorrow about something than you did yesterday. The one connecting factor I see among Trump loyalists isn’t necessarily cruelty or deplorable behavior, but an embrace of remaining ignorant about the pros and cons of immigration, trade, church vs. state, tax policy, etc.. Why would anyone want to go through life being wrong about something? While there are certainly those on the left who choose to remain ignorant about these issues as well, they don’t seem to be as proud of it. Whatever happened with the blue-collar worker who came home to read books and learn about the world (like my grandfathers?). They seem to be gone.

  3. I’m as opposed to the Republican Administration as anyone, and I’m angry at the people who voted them in there.

    But this is too hyperbolic for my tastes, especially the first half. It’s succinct, which I like, but it doesn’t quite honestly reflect what I see there.

    The list of what they dislike is spot on, various apologists notwithstanding.

    But I surf these people’s social media profiles. It’s true, there are a few of them who seem to be neck-deep in hatred. But many of them are experiencing joyful moments in life. They are happy to see their dear friends. They genuinely love their kids and grandkids. They savor stories of kindness and compassion.

    I don’t know if we can ever “reach” that many of them, but they are still people. May we never lose site of that.

    They deserve health care and education and safety and all the benefits of civilization as much as the rest of us.

      • And pro democrats (Hillary supporters) are all traitors ready to sell the country to the highest bidder. Most of their elected officials and their followers like Antifa and Black lives matter are payed stooges of Soros and the others trying to destroy a democratic America.

        • Is there no other response the GOP can come up with other than “they are being paid by Soros???
          By now there must be millions of people on Soros’ payroll. Seriously Republicans, lots and lots of us Democrats don’t need Soros or his money to oppose the current workings of the GOP and the administration. Your actions are motive enough.

          • The fact that the GOP has repeatedly said they will further cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security was enough to get me to oppose them. I’ve been protesting with Tell Them Tuesday in front of Lindsey Graham’s Greenville, SC office every single Tuesday since January of 2017. I’ve yet to get a check from Soros or anyone else. In fact I have laid out a considerable amount of my own money for gas, parking fees, and posterboard.

        • Tim, first it’s paid not payed. I’ve been to every NY protest. Never been paid by Soros. I’m an American patriot peacefully exercising my first amendment right of free speech. I am doing everything in my power to preserve a democratic America and to save it from domination of a foreign power.

          • The “Brit” wasn’t saying that they were different from anyone. They were merely describing the difference in the 2 groups that marched when the Bully visited THEIR country. What makes YOU think that they were. Best to read the post again…it’s right there.

    • There is no question that the blue collar worker in America has legitimate grievances. The key is to see the injustice in the world and not succumb to pessimism. If I did not have the daily experience of God’s love in my life I would undoubtedly fail at this just as too many in America have.

    • Try being married to a trump supporter and you’ll realize every word John wrote is true. I was comforted, encouraged, and grateful for words his words.

    • They want health care and education and safety when it benefits them directly. They do not want these things generally, and they certainly don’t want to pay for them. My brother is the perfect example. He’s a Trumpster who hates government, except when it comes to Medicare, which is paying all of his medical expenses, which are huge. He virulently opposes Obamacare but believes he has a constitutional right to Medicare. Typical Republican.

      • I agree to a point. I think that an important demographic has been overlooked here. I would call them the selectivity naive. These are the happy, predominantly white, folks who live in their gated communities, married, with 2.5 children, who belong to a country club, and divide their week into work, church, golf, and getting their children to all of their activities. They actually choose not to think about anything that would make them miserable, such as the starving children in Yemen, the murder of journalists, needy immigrants, or others who are oppressed and discriminated against. They vote Republican, no matter who it is, to preserve their way of life. They shrug off the less fortunate as people who should have made something of themselves, like they did, by going to college, or marrying well. If you met most of these people you would think that they are friendly, positive, good Christians, but by turning a blind eye, they are complicit in harming millions of people in the world, destroying our environment, and allowing the pervasive corruption in our government to continue unchecked.

        • Jill, I know so many people like those you have described. They scare me because they will never take a stand for what (I suspect they know) is right. This is a much, much bigger demographic than many of us realize. They will not look for, understand or initiate change unless something in their equilibrium has been badly rocked. These are the folks who may keep King T in power. Hoping for some serious equilibrium-tipping B4 2020.

  4. Supporters of President Trump are devoid of joy? That is a hilarious misrepresentation. I spent a few years involved in the social justice warrior scene of leftist activism. I have never experienced a more consistently angry, seething, bitter and joyless group of people. It was the same on the west coast, the coast, the Midwest and in Texas. They were always fuming and pointing the finger at everybody… anybody but themselves. They are full of pain and internal conflict that they are unwilling to own up to let alone take responsibility for resolving. It was the lack of joy and in-fighting of the left that I initially walked away from but with some time and space away from the deeply codependent & anger driven people I saw the insanity that is prevalent in leftist politics. In that vacuum of misinformation I also believed conservatives to be unhappy people but it’s quite the opposite. These last two years have introduced me to themost loving, generous, thoughtful and supportive people I’ve ever known. This article is completely inaccurate. It isn’t Trump supporters who are marching through the streets threatening violence against anybody who expresses a different opinion, smashing Windows, burning police cars or screaming like infants in a tantrum.

    • You are completely confused as to who is really marching through the streets and threatening violence, It is the democrats! Trump supports tend to be Republicans or Independents, you know the people who can think for themselves. Its because of poor journalism such as your little article here, that have the us people confused, and you my friend are a disgrace to journalism.

    • M. Ponz,

      I’ve noticed this pattern several times elsewhere. An apparently committed adherent to a group finds some element of it objectionable and flees to an opposite group, regardless of the many differences of philosophy between them. I have to wonder how much their commitment to either group was really based on its ideology.

    • M. Ponz….it is all in your perspective. I have a family and 2/3 of my church who are exactly like John described…they snub me and others constantly because I am “one of those crazy, angry liberals”….NOT! I spend a good portion of my day serving others and finding joy in that. I monetarily help those who are in need. I read the Bible and good books, I enjoy nature, I smile at people i don’t know and say “Hi, how are you?” I volunteer for many worthy organizations. And, there are many more like me than you give credit for….I know because I talk with many who think like I do and who do the same things I do………

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  6. Empathy is in such short supply with these so-called xtians. It makes me sad. I hope I never become that empty inside.

  7. “God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like these Trumpsters.”

  8. No, the trump supporters are more comfortable spewing their venom in secret, dark places where they think they won’t get caught. Your comment was pretty reasonable up till your last sentence!

  9. Trump’s supporters tend to be uneducated, uninformed people who are unhappy about a lot of aspects of their life. This makes them vulnerable to being easily manipulated by hatemongers. I would pity them, except they’ve done a LOT of damage to this once-good nation.

    • How condescending! Liberals like you act as if you sit on a superior perch of judgment. filled with baseless accusations against your fellow human beings that did not vote for the Presidential candidate that you supported. It is YOU who are prejudiced with your name calling. You know nothing about what is really going on.

  10. I wonder how well they would take it if you told them
    their bible says eagles are an abomination too
    according to Leviticus 11:13

    Maybe suggest they need to go delete all their
    “I’m a ‘real’ patriot” memes because you know

    Gods Law

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  12. when I see such a demonstrative diversion from loving faith as this, I can’t help but think of ‘the remnant’: the 10% that remained faithful – in every event when the children of Israel turned from God, there would be noticed a 10% that remained faithful to God and His Word and teachings. That wasn’t exactly a good return on His investment, but it does speak of the soul of the creature man. May all that wish to – may they remain within the remnant.

  13. John’s article inspired me to do some writing this Labor Day:

    As incensed as I become at the daily antics and mind-bending audacity of this administration and its supporters, I believe that continued outrage isn’t the answer. Ultimately, it isn’t going to change anything. Their minds are as set as ours. The key to breaking down the barrier between “them” and “us” lies in identifying and discounting the extremists on both sides and look for common ground somewhere in the middle. It’s the only way to a somewhat united nation that serves as many as possible for the benefit of the most.

  14. John’s article inspired me to do some writing this Labor Day:

    As incensed as I become at the daily antics and mind-bending audacity of this administration and its supporters, I believe that continued outrage isn’t the answer. Ultimately, it isn’t going to change anything. Their minds are as set as ours. The key to breaking down the barrier between “them” and “us” lies in identifying and discounting the extremists on both sides and look for common ground somewhere in the middle. It’s the only way to a somewhat united nation that serves as many as possible for the benefit of the most.

  15. I can not believe these comments. Its not the trump supports that are miserable. Democrats are so miserable that their blinded by their own hate. Its funny , if a republican doesn’t agree with a democrat then they are:
    against gays.
    They’re against immigrants.
    They’re against Muslims.
    They’re against foreigners.
    They’re against scientists.
    They’re against atheists.
    They’re against Liberals.
    They’re against the Democrats.
    They’re against the Media.
    They’re against teenage shooting survivors.
    They’re against athletes and entertainers.
    At the end of the day you live in America and if you don’t want to like a gay, a muslim or people that kneel to the flag then guess what it is our right to do so. You guys hate us republicans all because we voted trump in. Get over it already you guys all sound like whining babies.

    • Put down the beer can and listen. You didn’t ‘vote him in”. Almost three million (can you count that high?) more Americans voted the Ms. Clinton than for Mr. Drumph (his real name). He was appointed by the anachronism called the Electoral College.

      • We are the only democracy in the world that uses the system like the Electoral College. It’s simply has to go and we must elect buy a simple majority. It really is the only thing that reflects the desires of the people. The Electoral College is unfair and an abomination with regards to our system of one person one vote. Look at what it got us this time. A narcissistic liar. We must vote him out.

      • It’s called “The Constitution”, Einstein. The fact you view it as an anachronism says a lot about your midwit acuity. Don’t like it? Then change it. There’s a process for that. Whining like like two year old doesn’t cut it.

  16. The fellow in the WH seems to enjoy cruelty, and the folks at his rallies seem to enjoy it too. Mocking the disabled, characterizing all liberals/progressives/democrats with sweeping (generally erroneous) and insulting generalizations, lying incessantly – why would anyone support this kind of deplorable “leader” whose only success seems to be in draining the economy and appointing other deplorables to positions of power? I don’t understand a mentality that finds it acceptable for a “leader” to condemn fellow citizens and work only for the minority who support him.

    Instead of being a true president, working for all Americans, this one seems to operate a for-profit administration that benefits only the wealthy, as even his own supporters are discovering when illness or unemployment strikes them.

    I am afraid for the USA. Democracy, the rule of law, the idea of equality – rest in peace. It took less than two years to bring America down.

  17. Most Trump supporters are pretty happy with the state of political affairs, but they keep it to themselves, out of good manners towards their political opponents and a well-founded fear of inciting some of the rage-freaks on the left.

    • It is not “good manners” that keeps Trumpsters quiet, it’s the fact that they are not proud of the way they feel about their fellow humans!

  18. The only thing I can think of is 9/11. That’s when the poison first took hold. We got so scared. And some of us never got over that fear. And it has festered for so long. And we became selfish.

    I’m sure it existed before then. But the politics of fear were allowed to take over. And people turned to people like Alex Jones who had answers. They weren’t correct answers. But they were answers. Not sure how we can reset from that.

  19. Can they claim to be such patriots -such lovers of America-when they hate most of the people who live there?

  20. That’s funny….You, John Pavlovitz, are the one whining, crying, being overly critical, judgemental, twisting scripture and spewing hate with every breath you take. Sounds like you are the one who is miserable!

  21. Marie-Antoinette had a similar view on the french revolution supporters. Your attitude is more than arrogant towards people, that may have had a less luckier life. Compassion with those, who suffer is a moral imperative for anyone considering themselves on the left part of the political spectrum.
    In my opinion, Trump won the election in that moment, when Hillary Clinton said her infamous words about ‘deplorables’.

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