Opinion: I’m a liberal, and Trump is my president

LK

Laura Keating

To all my liberal friends: I get it.

Everything about Trump is terrifying—his short temper, his us-and-them mindset, his affinity for hostility and war. I understand the way your stomach drops when you see that he has issued yet another executive order.

I understand the anger that bubbles inside you when some Christians peg Trump as a man of faith while everything he stands for is a defiance of genuine Christian teaching. I understand waking up in the morning, almost three months after election day, and still finding it hard to believe it’s real.

But one thing is certain: he is my president. I’ve given myself permission to feel and think many things since the election, but I refuse to succumb to the #notmypresident trend.

Yes, Donald Trump—reality-TV star, racist, misogynist and man of stunted maturity—is sitting in the White House, feverishly signing away the rights of millions of people and still treating Twitter as an acceptable outlet for every crude thought that pops into his mind.

This is the man our country has elected (if unfairly). Don’t get me wrong, I do empathize with the “not-my-president” crowd. But in the end, this mindset is more poison than antidote.

Disassociating from Trump might make me feel better about myself, but it does nothing to better my community. As a U.S. citizen, I must own the fact that I share in the identity of 63 million other Americans who voted for him.

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In some small way, we are united, and demonizing Trump’s supporters is only a reiteration of the same behavior we are so quick to condemn: building up a mindset of The Other. We all know Trump is pretty good at this. To him it’s white immigrants vs. non-white immigrants, Christians vs. Muslims, America vs. the rest of the world.

How is putting Trump voters against non-Trump voters any different from the divisive attitude of Trump himself? Liberals—we, too, are polarizing our neighborhoods, our towns and our cities. It turns out that insisting Trump is “not my president” is just another way to build a wall.

It’s time for us to break down those walls. But not for the sake of having us “all play nice”—quite the opposite. Do it for the sake of action. For effective action, we need unity, and we also need full awareness. Trump’s presidency is causing crises, and any form of denial on our part represents a small, yet significant detachment from the true urgency of the situation.

Think about it: In a reality where Trump literally is not my president, I would have nothing to worry about. There would be no problems to confront, no action to take. But if he is … then I have a hell of a lot of work to do.

We will not reach our fullest potential as grassroots citizens until we fully embrace what’s really going on. Trump is your president. And he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For me, the moment I accepted that was the moment I truly felt a fire light underneath me.

If you are angry with Trump, feel that anger. If you are upset, be upset. But no more #notmypresident. No more disassociation. No more divisiveness. Channel those feelings into action. Call your legislators. Travel to your capital. Join a group. Organize a group. Write a piece for your local paper. Work towards unity by having a conversation with someone who thinks differently than you, or, better yet, empathizing with someone who thinks differently than you. This—not a hashtag—is what resistance looks like.

Liberals, Trump is your president. Now what are you going to do about it?

Laura Keating is a former Billings Jesuit volunteer, currently pursuing a career in food justice. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from Marietta College in 2015.

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