Opinion: Trump should own “hate has no home here”

“Hate has no home here.”

Owned by the resistance (to President Trump) movement, it’s a wonderful slogan representing a near-universal aspirational value.

President Trump should “own” that statement.

I’ve counseled leaders throughout my public affairs career, from CEOs to top elected officials to clergy and others.

If I were counseling President Trump, I’d tell him he should open and close every speech, every public appearance, every tweet with that slogan for the next six months. Heck, for the next year! Or two!

As a lifelong Democrat, I doubt if President Trump would accept, much less follow, my counsel. Also, because I go back over 40 years with my neighbor Joe Biden, the POTUS likely would think I’m carrying the ball for the other team.

But, as a Democrat who really is an independent thinker, I accept the “power” of that aspirational value, as much as I reject the notion that my friends in the liberal resistance use it instead to divide America, suggesting that any president would be “a hater.”

Matthew 22:39 quotes Jesus Christ in the second of the two great commandments, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That basis for the resistance signage is about as aspirational as any of us could be. It should not be the exclusive province of the resistance movement.

The problem is that in the pendulum swing of today’s politics, as Americans first, we’ve shifted our attention from the values that unite us instead to the differences that divide us.

Like more than 10 million of us who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam era, I volunteered because I “drank the Kool-Aid” of the American ideal. Heck, as an old Illinois farm boy, grown up and come to town, I still drink that Kool-Aid. Every day. Christian. American patriot. Husband. Father. Brother. Delawarean.

While former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick would knowingly disrespect and hate the American flag, because of what he feels are the crimes against “his people,” millions more of us feel tears well up in our eyes when we pledge allegiance, or sing a patriotic anthem, knowing that we volunteered with our own lives to defend that flag, and all that it represents, our great country.

One of the more emotional moments of my entire life occurred July Fourth week, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France.

As I walked among 9,500 graves, the Christian crosses and the Stars of David bleached by decades in the sun, the goosebumps quickly became tears, and, in moments, my tears turned to sobs, as I thought about the young men in the ground at my feet, mostly 18 to 22 years old, who had given their all, perishing in the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach for the American concepts of freedom.

Our country is a great country, better than any in history. A democratic republic. A free-market society. A Bill of Rights that guarantees our rights to pray to the God of our choice, to speak, to own property, to due process, and to own guns we use to protect our loved ones, our homes and our community.

Certainly, this great country has its problems, its issues. But it has enormous capacity for improvement, for growth, just as each and every one of us has that capacity for growth.

This president is the president of all of us, not just some. He needs to extricate himself from the trap set
for him, and move to “the moral high ground” of great American values, to own publicly for himself what
so many of us own.

I hope he can.

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