I love Donald Trump, but I don’t like him.
I think he’s racist, greedy, narcissistic, devoid of empathy and compassion, and the unapologetic perpetrator of sexual assault on numerous women. I find him to be a profoundly dangerous and despicable human being. But I do love him.
I love him when I remember his humanity, when I remember he was once an innocent, curious, loving child like all of us. I love him when I imagine how miserable he must be to act with such insecurity and hatred, and when I consider how unloved he must feel to show such lack of love for others. I love him when I remind myself that I am dedicated to love, and that real love has no conditions, not even with Donald Trump. Not with anyone.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve imagined him choking on a Big Mac, and a KFC drumstick, and a Taco Bell burrito. I’ve envisioned him falling down the stairs of Air Force One, and off the stage at one of his rallies, only to be trampled by adoring fans vying for a selfie. I’ve dreamt of Violet, Judy, and Doralee (from 9 to 5) having their way with him like they did with Mr. Hart, chanting “sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot” as they hog-tie him to a roasting spit. I’ve thought of him having a heart attack, and a stroke — not enough to kill him, but only because I’ve wanted him to suffer.
I tell you these thoughts not because I’m proud of them, but because they’re true. I’d prefer to be a saint who never wished pain and death upon dictators, but that’s not me. My crueler thoughts often manage to creep in before I have a chance to remind myself that I’m a human being and not a monster (though I realize the distinction isn’t always so clear). I don’t actually want any of the worst scenarios I’ve imagined for Donald Trump to happen to him — that is, when I get out of my vengeful mind and sink back into my heart, into my truth, into my love.
Many see love as a weak choice. A meek and passive choice. I see it, often, as the most difficult choice we can make. To hate Donald Trump is easy. He’s a shockingly loathsome man. But to love him, if you’re inclined to hate him? Now that takes strength, and compassion, and commitment. That takes a willingness to look deeper than his words and actions, to the human being struggling like all of us to make sense of this reality. That’s the kind of choice that stands to transform our world in a necessary, holistic way.
What benefit is there in hating Trump?
Not one, right?
Hatred hurts everything and everyone, especially the hater. I’ve spent plenty of time hating people in my life, and the only thing it brought me was emotional misery and bodily discomfort. My hatred was toxic — hatred is always toxic — and its energy hurt me and our world. We can’t infect ourselves with hate without also infecting everything and everyone around us.
There’s nothing righteous about being hateful.
Many people hate Trump. Millions, most likely. I’ve read posts from friends who’ve declared they don’t believe in hate, except where Trump is concerned. Some of the most loving people I know have decided it’s totally okay to despise him. Again, what’s the point?
Hatred doesn’t effect any positive change. Love, on the other hand, empowers entire nations. It’s not hatred, but love, that drives the incredible activism we’re seeing around the country. It hasn’t been hatred for Trump but love for our fellow human beings that has inspired people to march in the streets for women’s rights, to overload congressional phone lines to oppose the repeal of health care, to raise millions of dollars for hurricane victims, and to risk imprisonment to keep immigrant children from getting separated from their parents at the border.
That’s love in action.
Love. In action.
It’s true that many of the Trump administration’s decisions are fueling this activism, but only because those decisions are not consistent with what many of us know in our hearts to be inclusive, empathetic, and compassionate mandates. But the activist response has nothing to do with hatred. It’s all love — for our fellow sisters and brothers, for our planet, and certainly for our country. It’s love that’s creating this groundswell of activism, and it’s always love that stands to create the most powerful and positive change in our world, and in ourselves.
It will never be hatred that drives us to look out for and take care of one another. Hate just makes us all feel that much worse while we’re doing our best to make each other feel better.
To be clear, I’m not interchanging hatred and anger. While hatred has no benefit, anger can be a powerful catalyst for change. Our anger rallies us to speak out against injustice, to resist the many evils we’re seeing in Washington and around the world. But anger alone is no healer. We can’t rage ourselves into a meaningful reality, at least not one that will be centered in peace. Only love can do that. Only love can use our anger for the greatest good, and only love can keep our rage from turning into hatred.
Hatred is a choice. If I’m lost in hatred it’s because I’m not doing the work of empathy. I’m not taking the time to imagine what it’s like to walk in the shoes of another. When we choose empathy, supported by our compassion, it becomes impossible to hate. Even Donald Trump, I swear.
My own inner peace is reason enough to love Trump. Why would I let the person I’m least inclined to love distance me from the love within me? Why would I give Trump that power? Why would I give anyone that power? Why would you?
If we can’t love Trump for his benefit, can we love him for our own? Can we love him for the benefit of our world? We don’t have to support him, or condone his words and actions, or even like him. We can continue to resist his administration if we so choose, and to work hard to create a country that better reflects kindness and inclusion. We can march in the streets and call our congressional representatives and run for office. We can do anything we want to do. But can we get rid of the hate while we’re doing it? Can we be honest with ourselves that there’s no good justification to hate anyone and that we serve nothing and no one by doing so?
Just imagine being able to love everyone, even the person you find most horrific. Imagine the power that lives within that kind of love, and the energy you have to share with our world through it. Imagine just how untouchable you become, even in the face of hate. That’s the potential in each of us, when we’re willing.
Can we do the hard but important work of empathy?
Can we melt into our compassion, even in the midst of our rage?
Can we, above all else, make ourselves heard through love?
I believe we can, and I believe that’s the only way we’re going to change our world for the better. Love is the answer. It always has been. It always will be.
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Scott Stabile is the author of Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart. His inspirational posts and videos have attracted a huge and devoted social media following, including nearly 360,000 Facebook fans and counting. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post, he lives in Michigan and conducts personal empowerment workshops around the world. Visit him online at ScottStabile.com.