John Pavlovitz: “We were wrong about America”

John Pavlovitz is an American Christian pastor and author, known for his social and political writings from a liberal Christian perspective. John Pavlovitz was born in Syracuse, New York to a middle-class Italian family, and was raised as a member of the Catholic Church. After college he joined a Methodist church. He attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and became a youth minister at the church.

Pavlovitz has a blog called “Stuff that needs to be said” in which he writes about a myriad of topics and has garnered criticism for his politics and preaching. On November 4, Pavlovitz posted the following:

EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by John Pavlovitz in his column are those of Mr. Pavlovitz and do not necessarily reflect those of the blog. The article is well written and does indeed offer thoughts that are likely going through many Americans minds and is published to encourage discussion.

“The delayed results of the presidential election will be revealed soon, but in many ways, those results will be secondary to what we already know now: we were wrong about America.

The fact that it was even close, the fact that more people voted for him a second time, the fact that a higher number of white women inexplicably affirmed him—it is all confirmation that whether we remove the very visible, unsightly symptom or not, the pervasive disease is still horribly afflicting us.

Numbed by a cocktail of optimism and ignorance, many of us imagined this was a sick, momentary aberration; a temporary glitch in the system that would surely be remedied: after so much ugliness, such open disregard for people of color, such inhumanity toward migrant children, such a sickening failure in the face of this pandemic—sanity would surely come to the rescue.

We were certain that we would collectively course-correct; that the pendulum that had so wildly swung toward inhumanity would come roaring back to decency in these days; that we would presently be basking in the glory of a radiant dawn referendum on all this bloated bigotry.

We thought we would be dancing on the grave of fascism.

We thought, of course the good people of this nation would come to their collective senses, leaving behind political affiliations and superficial preferences and ceremonial ties, to rescue us from a malevolence that had proven itself unworthy of its position and toxic to its people.

We were certain there would be a mass repudiation of the racism that this man has revealed and the violence he’s nurtured, because for all its flaws we really believed America was better than this.

We were wrong.

We were wrong to believe that white people weaned for decades on supremacy, would suddenly embrace disparate humanity and make more space at the table.

We were wrong to believe that white Christians would finally have the scales fall from their eyes and abandon their blind adoration of this vile false prophet of enmity, and once again embrace the expansive, compassionate heart of Jesus.

We were wrong to believe that kindness and science and facts and truth and goodness would be found more valuable than the fool’s gold of sneering, star-spangled, American greatness.

We were wrong to hope that more Republicans would cross party lines in order to defend their country from the greatest terrorist threat in our lifetime.

We were wrong to believe that hope would rise up to cast out fear.

And most of all, we were wrong about people we know and love and live alongside and work with and study beside; about our parents, spouses, siblings, uncles, best friends, and neighbors: they are not the people we thought they were and we do not live in the country we thought we lived in.

We believed the best about this nation and we were mistaken.

To many oppressed and vulnerable communities, to people who have long known the depth of America’s sickness because they have experienced it in traffic stops and workplace mistreatment and opportunity inequity and the bitter words of strangers—this may be less shocking news than it is to those of us with greater privilege and more buffers to adversity and the luxury of naiveté.

But this is the sober spot in which we stand now: realizing that our optimism about the whole of this nation was misplaced, our prayers for the better angels of so many white Christians were unanswered, our childish illusions that people were indeed basically good and decent, seared away in their reaffirmation of something that the rest of the watching world finds reprehensible.

And now, we’re left with two terribly unfortunate choices: leave the America we have, because it is so very different than the America we hoped for—or stay, realizing that we are surrounded by so many people for whom racism is not only not a deal breaker but a selling point; in a place we know is less safe and less decent and less kind than we wanted—not because of any politician but because of those who embraced him a second time, people who share our kitchen tables and churches and break rooms and cul-de-sacs.

I don’t know what the right decision is.

Right now, the only thing I know is that I expected something beautiful and life-affirming was going to mark this day and it isn’t.

I was certain we were better than him, but we are not.

I was so sure that even though I know hatred dies hard, that America was going to let love have the last, loudest word.

I thought I was wrong.

But maybe, I just have to wait to be right.

The link to the John Pavlovitz blog is here:


It takes 270 electoral college votes to become President of the United States. A person can win the popular vote, yet lose in the electoral college.

In 2016, it was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton who won the popular vote. She secured 65,853,625 votes compared with Trump’s 62,985,106. However, Clinton lost the electoral college vote to Trump 232-306.

As of Friday morning November 6, former Vice President Biden had 50.5 per cent of the popular vote at 73,573,006 compared to 47.8 per cent for the president at 69,672,023 or upwards of 4 Million. However, the race had not been called and as of Friday morning November 6, Biden was deemed to have at 254 electoral college votes and Trump was at 214 electoral college votes, but the poling numbers had Biden winning in states yet to be called.

Biden made history on Wednesday, November 4 by earning the most-ever votes cast in a US presidential election, a record previously held by President Barack Obama with 69,498,516 in 2008.

On November 5, President Trump gave a press conference insisting he has won and vowing to go to the Supreme Court to overturn the election results. He complained he did not understand how one day he was leading in all the states and now losing in battleground states.

CNN Reporter Anderson Cooper said it best: “That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world. We see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over.”

The waite continues as to who has been elected president. No matter what happens we can take comfort that our democracy does indeed work, but we all must vote to make it work.

This entry was posted in Opinions by . Bookmark the permalink.


Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.