“Sean, when are you going to say something about America and the pitiful state we’re in…? A lot of people are speaking out… Have you heard the song “Rich Men North of Richmond”? It’s about American oppression… But you have remained silent and are thus part of the problem.

“…The longer you turn a blind eye to our national troubles, the more respect I lose for you. When are you going to call out what’s wrong with this country?


Dear Jan, I’d like to tell you about a scene I saw about four years ago.

I was at a Piggly Wiggly in a no-name U.S. Southeastern state. I was traveling on business. I was almost to my hotel when I stopped to buy some Chili Cheese Fritos and, God willing, a six-pack.

As I was wheeling into the store parking lot, I noticed a young woman and her two kids standing on the corner. They were begging.

I have a policy. I give to people who beg. Not because I am a good guy. I’m not. I am a selfish American who spends more money on streaming video services than I do helping the needy.

But I once had a cousin who was addicted to meth. This cousin commonly resorted to panhandling on street corners.

My cousin once told me the amount of cars that passed by when he begged was staggering. He once said, “You never feel more invisible than you do when you’re on that street corner holding that stupid sign.”

This mother was holding a cardboard sign. She had scabs all over her face and arms. I don’t know much, I know what the scabs are all about.

The sign read, “My kids are hungry.”

The woman’s kids were standing directly beside her. And she was dressed in rags. I parked in the parking lot and I watched her for a while.

Finally, I bit the bullet and walked over to her. But I wasn’t the first. There was an old man who beat me there. The old man said he was with a local church. He was offering the woman a place to stay. No strings attached.

The woman began to cry. She told him she was in an abusive relationship. She admitted to the man that she was a drug user and she wanted help, but she didn’t know how to get it because her boyfriend wouldn’t let her leave.

The woman said she just wanted to feed her kids. And she also admitted that she was afraid of going through withdrawals, because she was addicted to meth.

Do you know what happened next? The old man got on his phone. He called people. Within minutes several strangers were standing on the street corner. One person brought sandwiches from Firehouse Subs. Another brought Gatorades.

There were others who arrived from a local homeless shelter. They were offering her a place to stay. Offering her safety from her abusive relationship. They were offering her a way out.

The woman was frightened, you could see it on her gaunt, scabbed-over face. But do you know what she did?

She got into the car with a bunch of strangers, with her kids, and she decided to give rehab a shot. I will never forget watching her step into that Subaru. And I will never forget seeing those kids wolf down those subs in the backseat. I will never forget the tears she shed. Neither will I forget mine.

Two years later, I got an email from a man at the shelter where she ended up.

The man said she died at age 49. And she died sober. And during her last few years of life, she had helped approximately 32 young, addicted mothers leave abusive relationships.

She helped one young woman with AIDS pass peacefully. She helped other people’s children find stable homes. She helped people get off methamphetamines.

I am not a smart man. I know nothing, admittedly, about how to save this country. But do you know what I keep thinking about?

I keep thinking about the thousands of cars that passed that woman by. I keep thinking about all the cars that daily pass all the young mothers in America, and young addicts, and homeless persons, and veterans, and alcoholics.

And I can’t help but wonder if these aren’t the same cars with motorists that love to get on social media to talk about what’s wrong with this country.

—Sean Dietrich


  1. Lynn - August 19, 2023 11:56 am

    Sean, I salute you for focusing on the good things you see all around you, wherever you have been traveling. There is a lot more — A L.O.T. M.O.R.E — the this country, this world, and the people in it, than we will ever see on the news! Most of it is just ordinary people going about their ordinary lives, impacting other ordinary people in the most amazing and helpful ways. This is NOT a Pollyanna dream. It’s real. I see it all the time. And so do you. So does anyone with the sense to get out of the media and their own heads, and just bother to look!

  2. Mac - August 19, 2023 12:03 pm

    Amen Sean.

  3. Michael J. Walter - August 19, 2023 12:21 pm

    Superb…..thanks Sean

  4. Julie Hall - August 19, 2023 12:34 pm

    Mic drop

  5. Karen - August 19, 2023 1:13 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for NOT forcing your political views on us daily. There are plenty of places we can go to read or listen to people expressing their opinions on the prevailing issues in our country. We turn to you to escape the screaming voices. Reading your stories is like a refreshing break from the heaviness of the world’s problems and a glimpse of the beauty that is all around us if we keep our hearts open to it. Again, thank you for being a messenger of hope and not despair. Thank you for “calling out” the good, the right things, in our country. God bless you. And Jan, too.

    • Laura - September 3, 2023 8:52 pm


  6. Donna - August 19, 2023 1:36 pm

    Wow! Your post nailed it on the head, Sean…AGAIN. Thank you for writing and for giving us hope in these hard days.

  7. J - August 19, 2023 2:21 pm

    I agree that there is good to be found if we look. I also understand, and live around, the sad state of things our world is in. It is not just the social media crowd that sees this. I personally use social media to connect with long lost friends and distant family and rarely anything else. Jesus spread his message of hope and love, but it was amongst the people who were being oppressed. He also spoke out against oppression. I get that you do not want to be controversial and instead want to bring joy…which you do. But, if you have a stage (which you do), people kind of hope to hear your thoughts on things like this as well.

  8. Will Lowry - August 19, 2023 4:38 pm

    God bless you Sean. Your love for humanity is inspiring. “The Lord be with you.”

  9. Becky Souders - August 19, 2023 5:17 pm

    Bravo, Sean Dietrich! Good one.

  10. pattymack43 - August 19, 2023 6:14 pm

    I totally agree with you Sean!! The “good people” of this nation far out number the nutty people in DC running the government. As God’s word tells us, “…there is nothing new under the sun.” In the meantime, the good people keep on doing what is right. Please keep writing about them!! Blessings!

  11. Jane Sparacio - August 19, 2023 8:39 pm

    KABOOM! Landed right where it should.

  12. Karen Snyder - August 20, 2023 3:38 am

    There have always been things “wrong with” this country from someone or another’s vantage point. I can and do sometimes get mad enough to spit nails over my perception of what’s “wrong with” but maybe my neighbor wouldn’t see things that way at all. Everyone of us has an opinion, but opinions aren’t worth much over the long haul if they don’t lead to solutions of the “wrong withs.” Think I prefer Sean’s approach of doing what you know and do well, and contributing to the good when and where you can.

  13. stephen e acree - August 20, 2023 6:45 pm

    Nailed it again. Instead of ranting about what’s wrong actually do something to help. Your words and stories help. Showing decent people being decent helps. Your thoughts and feelings come through loud and clear to me. The naysayers will always take something wrong.

  14. Steve Leachman - August 20, 2023 9:37 pm

    I wonder how many of those cars have people in them like me. They have family members who are addicted to something. They’ve tried multiple times to help by giving money and taking them to rehab and feeding them and giving them a place to stay. They’ve believed every time when the addict says, “this time I’ll get sober and stay sober.” Only to have their addicted family member steal from them, drop out of rehab and go back to their addiction for the umptieth time. Maybe they’ve reached the point where they say “ENOUGH!” I can’t give you anything more. I lived it with my sister-in-law. It took my wife saying “don’t call anymore if you’re not sober” for her sister to get that the well was dry. She finally did get sober and has stayed sober. She says an addict has to get to the point where he or she says “God help me! I can’t help myself.” Then the addict has to go to AA, get a sponsor and begin the 12-step program. And they have to attend meeting and stay with the program. Till then giving money only feeds the addiction. My sister-in-law has helped lots of people get on AA and stay sober. She’s a wonderful person now. Better than me. But she can spot a BS line a mile away. She says “You know when an addict is lying? When they’re lips are moving.”

  15. Timothy Wood - August 21, 2023 11:36 am

    Love the way you responded to this. Stay true, my brother!


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