Loving your country and loving your government are not one and the same
By: Brittney Farrow
I am not, nor have I ever been, a sore loser.
I am not, nor have I ever been, an advocate of anarchy or destruction.
With the exception of maybe believing pop singer Katy Perry is actually murdered toddler beauty pageant participant Jonbenet Ramsey, I am not, nor have I ever been, a conspiracy theorist.
So, I think many people were surprised when after Donald Trump became our president-elect, I merely said, “He’s not my president.” Almost immediately, people called me out.
How could I say such a thing? Of course he was my president! Did I not love this country? It was actually pretty ridiculous; a girl I have not spoken to in almost four years even took that opportunity to strike up an argument with me.
My last memory of the two of us spending time together was getting absolutely smashed in a college dorm room, and now we were debating politics and ethics — your early twenties are weird, am I right? What I meant by that statement, and what thousands of protesters mean by that statement, is not that we do not actually believe far-right television personality Donald Trump is not our president, but that we refuse to let the fear and anger and hatred that created his campaign wreck havoc on our lives.
Personally, I find it rather terrifying that such bigotry made its way to one of the highest positions of power in the free world, but at this moment — being who I am and knowing what I know about life, and myself — I am saying, flat-out, that I will not let my government tell me who and what I am allowed to care about.
I am a free-thinking American citizen, and if my government — Republican or Democrat or otherwise — tells me to hate my neighbor because of their race, gender, religion, or sexual preferences, I will resist.
There’s a misconception in our country that leads us to believe that we have to submit to our government, but what many people do not seem to realize is that our political figures are not gods.
We are not built to worship at the altar of their wrongdoings; we are not supposed to donate to their destructive ideologies.
We are, if anything, supposed to question them at every turn.
We are supposed to ask if they are doing the right thing for the people they represent, and if they are making decisions with the public in mind; we are supposed to wonder who their choices benefit, and if they care about the right things.
Loving your country does not mean blindly accepting its flaws.
It is not a disrespect to your nation to think it could improve.
Yes, there are people in other countries fighting for us, but I like to believe the people who are out there fighting are there so that we have the freedom to make choices, and to think for ourselves.
I like to think that loving your country is a lot like being a parent; you love your children even when they make decisions you do not agree with, but that does not mean you do not wish they could refrain or change course; it does not mean you do not spend restless nights worrying about them or their wellbeing.
No matter who lives in the White House, we can choose to look after each other — and we need that kind of concern and compassion now more than ever.
If you love your country, you can fight for it.
That means defending people of color; that means defending LGBT+ individuals; that means defending women.
By this point in time, I think people have already made up their mind on what kind of world they think we should live in, but, despite feeling utterly hopeless for a while, I take comfort in knowing that the world is bigger than just me and Donald J.
Trump, who is not, and never will be, “my president.”