I really don’t care about him.
I know you think I do, but my sadness really has nothing to do with him.
I know who he is—and more accurately, I know what he is.
I know that he is just a mirror.
He has simply revealed clearly the disfigured ugliness of the place I call home and the people I live here alongside—and that is the thing I grieve over. And this is not the mourning over a singular loss, it is a daily grieving.
I grieve when I see elementary school teachers dressed up like a border wall for Halloween.
I grieve when I see white a woman screaming obscenities at two Muslims teenagers at a stop light.
I grieve when I see a Jewish professor’s office littered with spray-painted swastikas.
I grieve when I watch a father of four being tackled by ICE agents outside immigration offices.
I grieve when I witness white high school seniors making a “Heil Hitler” arm gesture during class photos.
I grieve when I see the contempt from white friends, when young black men die at traffic stops.
I grieve when I find the most vile sickness on my social media feed, hurled toward people of color and women and transgender people.
I grieve when I hear professed Christian pastors calling for the killing of LGBTQ people.
I grieve when I see rambling, racist tirades on subway cars filled with families with young children.
I grieve when I see supremacist candidates being elected and re-elected.
I grieve when I overhear dehumanizing conversations from old, white men, about Democratic women leaders, in crowded cafés.
I grieve when I sit across holiday tables, and witness bigoted tirades that I’d have thought people I knew and loved were not capable of.
And though all of these things are undoubtedly emboldened by him and encouraged by him and celebrated by him—that is not the source of my despair. It is the reality that all of this vicious, toxic, filth that we are infected with today—is something you are largely fine with. The rising hatred is not alarming or discomforting enough to you, to move you to action or to speak against it.
Oh sure, you might inwardly twinge with discomfort at one or two of the most egregious offenses, but by and large you’re good with it all.
With your silence as much as with your volume, you show me you are more with him than you are against him, that you are more like him than different from him—and that you and I are increasingly morally incompatible.
So yes, he is a mirror, and I am seeing you my countrymen and women through him.
That is why I grieve, friend.
That is why I don’t see America or my church or my neighborhood or my family the same anymore, and I’m not sure I ever will again.
The greatest tragedy to me, isn’t him. It isn’t that the person who once led our country and seeks to again, lacks a single benevolent impulse, that he is impervious to compassion, incapable of nobility, and mortally allergic to simple kindness.
The greatest tragedy, is how many Americans he now represents.
And that he represents you.
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277 thoughts on “I’ve Never Grieved Over His Cruelty. I’ve Grieved Over Yours.”
You are just projecting your own issu es on him. Show me one thing racest he has said. All of your insecurities are pouring out because you finally have found someone it is ok to blame all the worlds problems on.
I grieve for the people who believe your lies and your self-loathing liberal hatred toward whites- Liberals who hate everything including late -term fetuses that get their spines cut with scissors…thats what I grieve for
Very sadly, I concur with you. It is defeating to attempt any conversation, for they will defend him. Grieving definitely describes my emotions regarding their ‘going alomg’ in favor of such a vile human being. This insanity must stop. We are better than this hatred that continues to rear it’s ugliness. So much anger.
John, I share your pain and grief. It is a hard struggle to have faith that the “better angels of our nature” will prevail and that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
I am reading Jill Lepore’s, These Truths, which provides a thought-provoking narrative of U. S. history as a struggle to achieve a just society. We’ve come a long way, but we have “miles to go before (we) sleep.”
I grieve too. But I knock on doors, lots of them, while I hope and try to change things. I get my hands dirty trying to change this situation for what I believe will be the better. I appreciate thoughtful comments but more I appreciate work directed toward changing those things for which we grieve.
So consider working for your precinct. That is called grass roots politics and that is where change starts.
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