OP-ED: We don’t hate America, Donald Trump. What we hate is the mess you’ve created

Dahleen Glanton
Chicago Tribune (TNS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, gestures while speaking as U.S. President Donald Trump, left, looks on during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Donald Trump has come to the conclusion that many Americans hate their country. That could not be further from the truth.

Most of us love America. What we hate is that the president has taken it into the gutter. In other words, Donald Trump, the problem isn’t the “Free, Beautiful and Very Successful” country you spoke about in a tweet Tuesday morning. The problem with America is you.

Trump’s latest tweet telling Americans, “If you hate our Country or if you are not happy here, you can leave!” is yet another sign that he is out of touch with most of the country. It has exposed once again the mental cocoon in which he lives, sheltered from the truth.

Americans don’t hate America. What they hate is that Trump is the president.

The things that make us unhappy about America right now are directly related to Trump. He is the reason thousands of people across the country took to the streets in protest over the weekend after he promised to send federal agents into neighborhoods looking for immigrants to deport.

He is the reason we lay restlessly in bed at night, thinking about innocent children held in deplorable conditions at detention centers along our southern border.

He is the architect of this brutal ideological battle in America that cannot possibly result in a winner. Trump’s overt actions to normalize bigotry and racism have forced us to choose sides and retreat to the corners where other like-minded people reside. He has opened the floodgates of racial discord, ripped out all channels of communication and left us to figure out how to deal with it on our own.

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Trump has led us on a deliberate march to a dark and dreary place, where it is hard to see a glimpse of the light far off in the distance. But we know that we eventually will be delivered from this agony — because in America, resilience is part of our historical fabric.

Americans have long been resigned to the fact that our country is imperfect. There has always been a lot to love about it, as well as a lot to hate. African Americans, in particular, are descendants of men and women who suffered some of the most egregious evils imaginable under the shelter of a misguided democracy. Our ancestors’ blood runs through our veins, and at times the ancestral pain strikes so deep that we scream out in pain. But black people’s stake in America’s success is no greater than anyone else’s.

From the Scots, Irish and Germans who came to Chicago in the late 1800s to work in the steel mills to the Mexicans who worked in chicken factories in Georgia while encouraging their children to dream of a life much better than that, we are all the same.

This kinship is the seamless connection that binds Americans with one another, and it is why Trump’s insensitive tweet reaches to our core and reinforces our commitment to fight for this nation that belongs to us. Trump is a threat to all of us.

According to a Gallup Poll taken last month, 66% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States. Only 32% are satisfied.

If everyone who is unhappy about the path America is on decided to take Trump’s advice to leave, we would be forfeiting our future to people who think like him. We would be turning our country over to a bunch of haters, of bigots and racists.

We would be leaving America in the care of those who would ultimately destroy our “free, beautiful and very successful” home.

What Trump does not understand is that most Americans are not like him at all. We don’t hate the way he hates. We don’t believe that immigrants are a burden on society that can be disposed of on a whim.

We don’t look at people whose skin, religion or ethnic background is different from ours and see them as outsiders. We see contributors to the cultural diversity of our great nation, people with the same values as ours, who want to live in a country that is free, beautiful and very successful. They mirror exactly who we are.

The sheer absurdity of Trump’s tweet sent the strongest signal yet that he has no comprehension of what it means to be a real American. He doesn’t understand how resilient Americans are, how accustomed we are to taking the good with the bad.

He doesn’t realize just how much we care about this country. He doesn’t understand that we criticize it often because we know it has the potential to be better tomorrow than it was yesterday.

So no, Donald Trump, Americans who dislike you and hate the way you are defacing our beautiful country aren’t going anywhere. We plan to stay right where we belong and force you and those who share your warped values to either leave or find a place to hide.