I don’t hate the President of the United States.

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On November 8, 2016, I sat in a bar in San Diego, California with my friend Peter, and I watched Donald Trump become president of the United States.

I cried into my whiskey ginger until my eyes burned red and my blood boiled over.

I could smell the tension seething from my comrades as the bartender shut off the television and we all raised a glass to…our futures?

Each of us said a silent prayer: for us, for others, for the unknown. We sat in silence and stared at one another in complete disbelief of what we’d just watched. “I came here to celebrate…” I distinctly remember thinking to myself. The sticky bar top became our anchor as we drank and contemplated what was to come over the next four years.

In the last year, Donald Trump has removed the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, repealed a rule allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military, reversed a rule that would ban gun sales to those deemed “mentally defective” by the government, and cut the number of migrants and refugees allowed to enter the country from several at-risk countries.

Recently, babies were separated from their families at the U.S. and Mexico border to be put on planes and sent to foreign states to stay with foreign people. Their parents had potentially broken the law in a desperate attempt to find safety as their own countries crumbled down around them—did this mean they deserved to have their crying children torn from their arms and shipped far away?

Sitting here on my couch, listening to the coffee pot drip, watching the clouds roll by, feeling the breeze waft over my skin, my life seems imaginary compared to what these families are still experiencing in this exact moment. We are existing in two completely different realities and there is nothing that either of us can do to change it. I feel helpless. They feel subhuman.

But I don’t hate the president.

I am completely against what our government has continued to spew as the American Way over the last year.

My country is not exclusive, we are inclusive. My country is not violent, we are at peace. My country is not homophobic, we are accepting. My country is not racist, we are all one America. But I know now that this is not everyone’s reality.

The African American woman who works the same job as me but is paid less and paid far less than the white man down the hall—her America is racist. The gay couple who was denied a wedding cake because of another’s refusal to make it based on “religious freedom”—their America is homophobic. The teenagers who watched their friends bleed out on the cafeteria floor—their America is violent. The mothers from Guatemala who watched their children disappear into a detention center, only to be turned away and sent back the way they came—their America is exclusive.

But I don’t hate the president.

If I hated the president, I would be like the president.

If I excluded, judged, assumed, neglected, or denied, I would be like the president. By making comments based on feelings and opinions rather than facts and science, I would be like the president. By promoting hate, anger, and rejection, I would be like the president.

And I refuse to be like the president.

I will stand in solidarity with the shutdown, the targeted, and the unheard. I will link arms with the fearful, the stranded, and the rejected. I will peacefully protest any law, statute, or movement that attempts to leave another behind. I will be love, peace, acceptance, and understanding—because that is my America. I will not hate the president, because I will not continue to filter hate and adversity through the tunnels that run through America’s morals, filling our media with anger and toxicity.

That pattern ends here.

If we stand together in understanding, we can spread positivity.

By putting our foot down in the line of bigotry, by refusing to accept anything less than equality for everyone, by shouting love at the top of our lungs when they think that our voices will shake, we can be the change.

If we want peace, we have to start with ourselves.

I do not hate the president, because I’m not like the president, and you aren’t like him either.

~

author: Erin Walls

Image: North Charleston/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Erin Walls

Erin Walls is the founder and sole writer of the blog Walls Wanders. She’s a newfound woman writing her way through one adventure after another with one goal in mind: to see everything and experience anything that makes her heart say “Wow.” Last year, she had an epiphany in which she realized that her life could not be fully lived behind a desk, and so with a lot of guts and a little fear she lept into the unknown world of traveling, blogging, and working where she could with the only intention of living her life to the fullest. You find her now, one year into this journey, 26 years young, and ready to inspire and excite with her tales of a hard but beautiful life well-lived.

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Marlene Mieske Oct 28, 2018 7:14pm

Sounds like you are projecting

Ruben Manriquez Oct 28, 2018 5:53pm

why don't you mention the alternative of Killary? of the flawd Iran deal? of standing up for Israel in the UN? of having NoKor come to the table? and for standing up to China? not to mention the economy..yes i do not like Trumps method but if it works so be it...Look it has been two years and those who promise to leave the USA should Trump wins are still here, and the Democrats has nothing but continue to obstruct instead of help...The other side just get tired of politics as usual,,

Jeff Cline Aug 6, 2018 4:07am

Nicley put. I disagree with how you view our president, but I respect the way you worded your thoughts and feelings.

Chuck C Out Aug 5, 2018 7:29pm

Wow!!! What insight!! Thanks for being you!!!

John Grooms Jul 9, 2018 2:10pm

Patricia Embrescia Yes, there ARE stats about crimes committted by "illegals," as you so callously put it. The truth, though, is that those supposed stats are made-up nonsense. Every study made of the topic shows that Hispanic immigrants are more overall more law-abiding thatn most other Americans, their religious ties bring more stability and strong family ties to theie communities, and crime rates among them are below those of any other ethnic group in the US. Talk about "wise up," you've got some work to do on your own hateful heart.

Theresa Gaber Savicki Jul 9, 2018 2:34am

Hate never serves any of us....EVER! Channel that energy into ACTION....we must "BE the change we wish to see in the world"! Love & hugs to all.

Patricia Embrescia Jul 9, 2018 12:59am

Lois Kruse Theisinger People who have opposing opinions are not trolls. There are murder and injury stats that are out there about crimes committed by illegals in this country. Wise up.

Patricia Embrescia Jul 9, 2018 12:52am

This sounds like it was written by a sheltered high school senior. I don't know any this dumb. While the writer of this article blames all things bad on Trump, and presents himself as an egaliitarian, reading between the lines, words like naive, idiotic, immature, no standards kept coming to mind as I read the writer's back patting morals that will get plenty of people killed in the long run.

Allison W. Cone Jul 8, 2018 8:31pm

Powerful stuff, Erin. You've given me. A lot to think about. And, it occurs to me that hating him and his minions is not only feeding the fire of division just like they want to divide us but it is also just an easy way of reacting to what is going on around us. We need to be doing the hard work of reaching out to our brothers and sisters who are being hurt by the actions of this administration and be sure they know we do not all agree with what is happening. We need to be doing the even harder work of reaching out to the folks We disagree with, especially those in positions of power, and find ways to see situations from their point of view. Hopefully, then we would be able to have a better chance of helping them see situations from our point of view and allow us to have a respectful dialogue. Keep digging deep and sharing your insights with us, Erin. You are appreciated.

Lois Kruse Theisinger Jul 8, 2018 7:45pm

Thanks, Nick, for being a voice of reason amongst the trolls.

Kim Fields Jul 8, 2018 5:33pm

Thank you for this reminder to stand strong and proud; for the reminder that we just really need to be who we are inside. To hate is to agree with hatred, and I just cannot.

Janice Murray Jul 8, 2018 12:25pm

I think you're grasping at straws but whatever helps you sleep at night.

Nick Juve Jul 5, 2018 5:03pm

You forgot the part about Trump being the first president in history to come into office accepting gay marriage and being the only president in our lifetime to not get us into bullshit wars based on lies. What self-righteous fluff.

Marnie Johnson Jul 5, 2018 5:49am

Thank you. You articulated what I've been thinking about a lot lately. Protest the deed, but not the person.

Linda Lewis Jul 4, 2018 8:40pm

Thank you, but I do hate what President Trump does. To your list, don't forget to add his tirades vs "fake news" and his inaction vs automatic weapons and guns gone rampant in the States. The most recent result of both are the slain Maryland journalists--the latest mass murder.

Sarah Schonian Jul 4, 2018 2:13pm

Thank you- I needed this reminder today.