Republished with permission from John Pavlovitz.
He’s been indicted again, this time for trying to override the voices and votes of the American people in order to steal an election and permanently install himself as a dictator.
These are offenses of the presidency more traitorous and sobering than anything we’ve witnessed in our young nation’s turbulent lifetime.
Sadly, that isn’t the story here.
There were days when far less than these charges would have elicited repulsion from patriotic Americans.
There were days such things would been deal breakers.
They aren’t anymore.
That is the story.
In any other iteration of America’s history, a single one of these grievous accusations against any politician, let alone a sitting president, would have disqualified them as an option to those claiming true patriotism or basic human decency. Their revelations would have triggered the fierce and sudden implosion of campaigns and alliances and movements here. This kind of homegrown violence against our collective safety and sovereignty would once have been the occasion of nonpartisan disgust.
Crimes against America were once intolerable to Americans.
They still should be.
And yet again, as with every other abuse of power, every former filthy diatribe, and every past act of contempt for the systems and safeguards of this nation—Donald Trump has today engendered greater passion from his sycophantic base, deeper devotion from his beholden political partners, and increasing cultic fervor from his fear-addled disciples.
The indictments of this man have been indictments of his supporters.
They have served to ratify with laser precision the the complete tribal sickness that a terrifying portion of this nation has found itself afflicted with. There is no bridge too far. There is no uncrossable line. There is no unpardonable sin. He is incapable of losing their steadfast adoration.
The cognitive dissonance we’re living around simply escapes comprehension:
- 10 Commandments-wielding Christians embracing a profane and predatory pathological liar proven to have sexually abused at least one woman.
- “Don’t Tread on Me” patriots continually falling prostrate before the very one with his foot upon their collective necks.
- Self-identified morality police celebrating a prolific purveyor of every kind of wickedness.
Figuring out how to collaborate or even coexist with such people is a near impossibility; a truth which sits like a massive boulder in the center of our chests as we navigate our workplaces, churches, neighborhoods, timelines, and living rooms. There is no irreducible truth, no objective reality, no accepted virtue to connect our shared humanity anymore. When moral or legal laws no longer apply, there is no common ground to carve out.
We may have to come to terms with the fact that this day is not coming, that we will not experience that beautiful dream in America’s waking hours, that we will need to dream a different dream without them.
These indictments are indictments of those who voted for him the first time, those who knew what they knew in 2016 but who empowered him anyway.
They are indictments of those who voted him a second time, staying faithful through his COVID incompetence and his four years of unthinkable executive overreach.
They are indictments of the people continue to defend him through sexual assault and election fraud and violent insurrection and high treason; who again today abide atrocities they’d have loudly condemned in any other human being at any other time.
Many of us have wasted countless hours trying to figure out the whys of this recent mass exodus from decency: these denials of Science, celebrations of discrimination, defenses of fascism, embraces of cruelty. This is a natural but fruitless pursuit at this point.
It may be that a cocktail of indoctrination and manipulation have rendered people unable to diverge from Donald Trump.
It may be that political self-preservation keeps them tethered to the Republican Party no matter how low the bottom runs.
It may be that pride prevents them from simply admitting that they once made a terrible mistake, and to avoid such a confession they will continue to make it.
Either way, we are left with the same sobering, infuriating, terrifying truth: to a large swath of the people we share this place and time with, it doesn’t matter what he does or how many people are irreparably harmed by his growing legacy of documented crimes and moral offenses—they are riding him into the abyss.
The rest of us cannot be pulled in with them.
We who remember what this nation aspires to and who believe simple goodness is a still hill worth defending (regardless of their past political affiliations), need to make sure that power is not placed in hands of someone like Donald Trump or those whose hearts provide safe harbor to his hatred.
In the coming days we need to find our collective influence and use it to declare unequivocally that this nation will not allow its legacy to be decided by this man and his movement.
If we fail to protect this nation with all that we know, that will be an indictment on all of us.
John 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.