Trump Is Our Mess, America. We Should Be Ashamed.

by John Pavlovitz
donald trump
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Whoops, our bad…

This is on us, America.

We’re gonna have to own it.

Donald Trump is not the problem now. We can’t blame him anymore. This isn’t about him any longer.

The truth is none of this is out of character for him; the never-ending parade of verbal gaffes, hateful tirades, and childish tantrums. There is plenty of precedent. History loudly testifies on his behalf.

His business practices, his bankruptcies, the wreckage of Atlantic City, his marriages, his reality TV tenure — that’s some body of work.

Donald Trump has always been horrible.

The problem is that, right now, 38% of America is justifying, defending, and celebrating horrible. We are sanctioning it, funding it, claiming that horrible speaks for us. We are asking horrible to lead us and represent us in the world, to steward the futures of our children.

Thirty-eight percent of us are repeatedly excusing bigotry, rationalizing recklessness, explaining away allusions to violence, giving a pass to brutality.

Thirty-eight percent of our people are choosing to look the other way while it’s all hitting the fan, because we’ve decided that we don’t mind the mess or the smell.

A third of us are shrugging off the most despicable, vile, irresponsible behavior and claiming it’s somehow what we need to be great again.

And that is the national tragedy here.

This election season is an X-ray, revealing something about the core of who we are. It is illuminating the insidious cancer that we find ourselves presently afflicted with. It is showing the anger and racism and homophobia, and most of all the toxic fear embedded deep within the marrow of America.

And a third of us are fine with this. More than that, we’re consenting to its metastasizing.

Thirty-eight percent of this country doesn’t care how ignorant of the issues Donald Trump is, how untruthful he is, or how low he stoops — none of that matters. It’s all somehow fine — acceptable collateral damage of what we deem the bold moves of a rugged outsider who voices our frustrations.

Making fun of a person with a disability, calling for protestors to be roughed up, calling women fat pigs, suggesting his opponent should be murdered: These are apparently acceptable leadership qualities today.

This is freakin’ presidential stuff now.

We’ve fallen this far this fast.

This is the problem, that a third of us refuse to let facts or reality or reason interfere with how we feel, with our desire to rage against the status quo.

Thirty-eight percent of us are riding this terrible train even if it’s heading straight off into the abyss because we don’t have the guts to admit our mistake and pull the damn brake wire. We’d seemingly rather save face and deal with the impending impact, terrible as it might be.

This all isn’t the fault of one dangerous person. It isn’t the fault of those 35% who support his cause. No, 100% of us need to own this because we’ve all played our part.

We have become this frightened, this angry, this vulnerable, this divided — together.

Churches, politicians, corporate America, public servants, working folks — ordinary people of every color, creed, and persuasion — we’ve all had our hand in it. This has been created on our watch.

No matter what happens in November, this is where we are now. This is who we are now.

This is the country we’ve all built together, and this is what we’ll have to deal with together.

Yes, we should be afraid and embarrassed and disgusted right now.

But don’t look at Donald Trump, America — look in the mirror.

This is our mess.