I would like to start off by saying that this is not an article in support of Donald Trump (though the title may be deceiving). I understand the implications of declaring support for Trump, and I don’t want to extend the insult by which claiming agreeance with him would pass on to so many. To anyone reading this who has felt offended by Trump’s words I issue my truest compassion, but I hope you’ll keep reading.
I want to challenge you to see Trump’s candidacy in a different light than you probably do now. Trump has portrayed himself on various occasions as a bigot and has made multiple unapologetically racist and sexist comments. He represents a hateful and destructive view.
Throughout Trump’s rise, it’s easy to focus on Trump, but the reason he has gained so much notoriety isn’t because of his mere run for the presidency alone, it’s because of the magnitude of followers who claim his same views. The shocking part about Trump’s rise isn’t the hatred of one man, but the hatred of masses his rise has surfaced.
Before Trump, I thought that our nation was better than what Trump represents. I liked to think the social injustices (that Trump has become a symbol for) no longer existed, or at least that they had greatly improved. Trump’s rise makes it impossible to keep playing dumb.
Trump’s fuel is hate, and hate is a potent fuel, but it’s also a cowardly one, laced with ignorance.
One day I tuned into a Trump rally. People were yelling and screaming. There was a man on camera who appeared to be Latin American, he was holding a sign that read “I am not a rapist”, but he wasn’t yelling and screaming. He just stood there calmly, silently. I was so taken back by the bravery in his vulnerability to hold that sign and say nothing as if someone publicly decided to pin the term “rapist” on me simply because of my nationality, there’s no way I would be able to keep my cool. When the camera panned to a close-up, you couldn’t escape the pain in his eyes, it broke my heart, but it also woke me up.
I heard the silent message his eyes spoke endlessly louder than the screams surrounding him. His pain made me wonder what pain Trump and his followers harbor that calls for them to belittle others, others they don’t even know, in an attempt to lift themselves, as happy, secure, people don’t feel this same need.
I used to think I was paying service to the thousands Trump had hurt when issuing my own hateful comments towards Trump, but you can’t fight hate with hate. I learned that compassion does not mean agreeing with Trump, but rather looking bellow the surface, and choosing to spend my energy attempting to spread healing understanding instead of poisoning the already choking world with more hate.
Trump knows he’s hated, and he uses this power. Far too often people funnel their energy towards things they don’t want, rather than what they do want, without realizing they are lending power to the very thing they are trying to suppress. Compassion kills the power of hate and frees up energy so it can be spent where it needs to be spent, on healing.
In a war, there have to be people willing to fight on both sides. War cannot exist if it’s one sided. Trump’s candidacy has been a war, but only because we let it be. This whole time we have been praising individuals who “bravely” spew hate back at Trump and his followers, but bravery is not returning hate. Bravery is pausing, taking one step back, and trying to understand. Bravery is not picking up the hatred being handed to you, even when every bone in your body aches for you to.
Maybe we do need Trump to “Make America Great Again.” His rise has muddied up the water, and it’s my deepest hope that it inspires us to finally clean up our acts, and take the time to understand each other instead of digging ourselves deeper into this hateful pit. We can no longer be in denial that there are real issues here, and there are real changes that need to be made, deep wounds that need compassion to heal, not hatred. The change starts with you, maybe the first step is to never say you “hate” Trump again.