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I am the Alt-Left, Mr. President


Thank you for giving me a name today. I wasn’t quite sure until now, but you helped me find myself.


That’s what you said. That’s what you called me, what you called us. Apparently of the two supposedly equally hateful sides in all this, I belong to that one.

Opposite us in Charlottesville this week (on the other side), I saw men with torches and handguns, men screaming “blood and soil”, men intimidating clergy, men beating people with pipes, men screaming anti-Semitic slurs, men so fueled with rage for strangers, that one of them plowed his car into a crowd of them.

Heather Heyer was among that crowd, Mr. President.

Heather Heyer died there in the street.

That was her name, since you couldn’t be bothered to learn it.

She was 32 years old.

Heather was apparently on this side. She was among the Alt-Left you condemned today. She was one of us; the supposedly equally hateful ones, the alleged partners in this carnage, those you claim to be equivalently culpable for the bloodshed.

She was to blame.

Heather marched on behalf of people she didn’t know, but valued greatly. She spoke for people who are so often silenced by people like you. She stood for those who are pushed to the margins of this life by people like you. She declared the worth of all people, regardless of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs. She lived this way; open-hearted, generously, sacrificially, humbly. She died proclaiming that another life was as precious as her own; that every human being is intrinsically valuable, that every person is worth dying for.

And if that is the Alt-Left, Mr. President, you can count me in.

That’s the side I choose. That’s the side I will live and gladly die with.

I want to be on Heather Heyer’s side.

I want to be on the side of equality.

I want to be on the side of justice.

I want to be on the side of compassion.

I want to be on the side of decency.

I want to be on the side of love.

I want to be on the side that stands opposite men with torches and contorted faces and taunts and pipes, and weaponized vehicles targeted at strangers.

I want to be on the side that stands opposite those screaming “blood and soil;” those consumed with rage for people because of their pigmentation or their God or the person they love.

I want to be on the side that stands opposite the preachers spewing venom and damnation upon those who are working to make this country as diverse as Heaven is supposed to look.

I want to be on the side that stands opposite those who believe their bloodline or their place of birth makes them superior to anyone.

I want to be on the side that stands opposite racists and Nazis and radicalized Christian terrorists.

And I want to be on the side opposite you, Mr. President, because you’ve made it clear where you stand.

You’ve made it clear your allegiance. You laid it out in black and white. You shown us all which side you’re on.

You are on the side of the men with torches and contorted faces and taunts and pipes, and weaponized vehicles targeted at strangers, and I find that unacceptable.

You are not worthy of this country, you aren’t worthy of leading our people, you aren’t worthy of the beautiful lives you endanger with every second of your hateful, fraudulent, toxic tenure. And most of all you aren’t worth the grief hateful people emboldened by you produce here.

And so yes, thank you for crystallizing it for me today; for all of us.

Thank you for aligning people of every race and religion, every age and orientation, every native tongue and place of birth; the millions who will not stand by you or with you—but against you.

Thank you for showing me where I want to be in all this.

Thank you for choosing the sides for me.

Yes, I am the Alt-Left, Mr. President.

If those opposing bigotry, discrimination, and dehumanization are Alt-Left, then I will be that too.

And I’m in good company.

John Pavlovitz

Jessi Paetzke

Originally published on as I Am the Alt-Left, Mr. President

John Pavlovitz launched an online ministry to help connect people who want community, encouragement, and to grow spiritually. Individuals who want to support his work can sponsor his mission on Patreon, and help the very real pastoral missionary expand its impact in the world.

About The Author

John Pavlovitz

John Pavlovitz is a 20-year ministry veteran trying to figure out how to love people well and to live-out the red letters of Jesus, both online in this global community.


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