Trump's gift: A new patriotism

Opinion: Ken Trainor

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

On Memorial Day, patriotism was in evidence all over Oak Park and River Forest. Not just the traditional display — i.e., star-spangled banners, jutting out at a 45-degree angle from many a house. But this year a new kind of patriotism joined the mix: lawn signs that sprouted after the "virtual election" of Donald Trump. 

On Elizabeth Court, for instance, a sign testifies, "In this house we believe: Black Lives Matter, Women's Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real, Love is Love, No Matter Your Faith or Ability, Kindness is Everything."

Such testimonials are part of the Trump Resistance Movement, which, judging by the quantity, has myriad members in both villages.

On the 700 block of Wisconsin, I find "Hate Has No Home Here" signs, blue on one side, red on the other, written in a number of languages. At the bottom of the sign is a heart with an American flag imbedded. Eight of these line the east side of the block; nine on the west side echo the sentiment.

In the 600 block of Clinton, a "Hate Has No Home Here" sign features four oak leaves with a green bar above and a blue bar below, a modified version of the Chicago flag, with "We Believe Integration Matters! We Support the Oak Park Regional Housing Center" underneath.

Another reads, "Love Your Neighbor: Your Differently Abled, Black, White, Brown, Immigrant, LGBTQ, Religiously Diverse, Fully Human Neighbor." Nearby is a sign that says simply, "On the Side of Love," an older Unitarian/Universalist-inspired messaging effort.

On the 300 block of South Grove, a sign in white letters on a pink background proclaims, "I Stand with Planned Parenthood." Nearby, one in three languages (English, Spanish and Arabic) and three colors, states un-categorically, "No Matter Where You Are From, We're Glad You're Our Neighbor." 

And on the 100 block of South Home is a variation of the sign I saw on Elizabeth Court. "Here We Believe: Love is Love, No Human is Illegal, Black Lives Matter, Science is Real, Women's Rights are Human Rights, Water is Life, Kindness is Everything." (Visit, if you want to learn more.)

This is the new patriotism, stating plainly and firmly what this country stands for. It's good for kids to grow up around people who have the courage of their convictions and whose beliefs are welcoming, inclusive and affirming, which is what America is all about. It's a patriotism that doesn't just honor our military might. It honors the courage to live in an open society.

Last week I met a friend who said he was glad Hillary Clinton didn't get elected. He wasn't particularly a fan of Trump either, but added, "We have to come to terms with this guy." 

He's right, as long as "coming to terms" doesn't mean "acceptance" because that will never happen — largely because of Trump himself. Every day, fresh outrages disgust anyone who genuinely believes in "Truth, Justice and the American Way" (i.e. inclusiveness), so coming to terms with Trump has to mean something different from mere, meek resignation. 

But we also need to get beyond our daily recitation of the proofs of his unfitness, which isn't easy because his incompetence is breathtaking and daily reinforced by foolish statements and mean-spirited actions. His antics simultaneously entertain and repel, like watching a good horror film. If it weren't so tragic, it would be funny. If it weren't so funny, it would be depressing.

Continually obsessing about his unfitness, however, isn't good for our mental health. 

Which is why we need to recognize "The Gift of Trump."

Trump is a symptom. The "system" (political and economic) has been disintegrating for decades. It crashed dramatically in 2008, just before Barack Obama was elected, but he was a president, and a person, of high quality who managed to hold things together, preventing another Great Depression. But we're still in an age of global transition. The old world is ending, to be replaced eventually by a newer, hopefully better world.

Thanks, ironically, to Trump, a new patriotism is emerging. Lawn signs are one manifestation. Awakened awareness and increased activism are also heartening. We are rediscovering what it means to be proud of what America stands for, and though it's not at all what our sad-sack president had in mind, we will indeed make America great again. Thanks for the slogan, Donald.

But as you struggle to come to terms with the gift of Trump, consider another sign I spotted on Memorial Day on the 800 block of Clinton, which read, "Porch Rules: Feel the Breeze, Listen to the Birds, Converse, Have a Drink, Relax and Unwind." 

Never forget that the best way to resist the insanity of Trump is to remain sane yourself.


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Reader Comments

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Nick Polido  

Posted: November 30th, 2018 7:24 AM

Trumps Gift just might of snagged us one of our own: Alderman Edward Burke's office raided, maybe due to the Mueller investigation on Trumps tax reduction???? We can only hope.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 29th, 2018 10:44 AM

More "bloviating," Ray? .. Just in from CNN: "Michael Cohen pleads guilty, says he lied about Trump's knowledge of Moscow project." . . tick... tick... tick... ti

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: June 13th, 2017 7:03 PM

So yard signs stating that "Hate has no home here" are, to some people's minds, "strident, puke-ridden caca." and "incredibly intolerant." Yeahhh... that's really gonna convince people that there's no reason for those signs. Uh-yup.

Jeff Evans from Oak Park  

Posted: June 13th, 2017 10:54 AM

Comey stated that Trump was not a particular focus of any counterintelligence investigation at the time. That's a very specific and carefully chosen statement that many people seem to be interpreting much too broadly. In any case, let's see what the independent special counsel comes up with. These kinds of things take a long time, and people need to be patient and allow the process to work.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: June 13th, 2017 10:43 AM

Oh, now now now, Ray Ray... "Bloviating old fool"? That's just divisive and hurtful, dontchathink?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 9:34 PM

Ray and Bill: I believe Mr. Comey's key piece of testimony was that Mr. Trump was never under investigation by the FBI. That is huge in my opinion. But rather than leave well enough alone, Mr. Trump then accuses Mr. Comey of lying. I mean is Mr. Trump now saying he really was under investigation? That is totally counter productive. Mr. Trump tries to discredit even a very positive supportive piece of evidence. Mr. Trump is his own worst enemy.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 7:39 PM

@Ray, let's have a little fun and bet on if Trump will make it to the next election. I will bet $100 that Trump won't make it all the way through the next 4 years. If he happens to die then let's agree that's a push but any other reason for him to be gone I win and if he's still there then you win. Deal?

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 7:17 PM

@ Dwyer - "No documented proof" and I suppose God whispered in your ear. You are a bloviating old fool!

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 5:56 PM

Oh darn, Ray Ray. You are just so forceful... So I guess I'll have to "put up," you ever so forceful man you. First, Michael Flynn. Second, Paul Manafort. And now Jared Kushner and Drumpf AG Jeff Sessions. While I have no documented proof here, there's also his sleazy Sec. of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, he of those deep connections to Russian controlled Cyprus banks. Your boy issuing down, Ray Ray.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 2:37 PM

@ Dwyer - put up or shut up! Who in the Trump administration is under investigation and for what? Do you have any proof? Comey has admitted that he violated federal disclosure laws and that Lynch violated obstruction of justice laws but, while under oath, those are all Obama people so we just whistle past the graveyard. Once again you want us to believe you have some inside track to the truth, yet never come through when pressed for facts.

Barbara Joan  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 10:53 AM

Jason--I meant to say I am praying for President Trump to improve the state of affairs for the USA and Americans that would hopefully improve matters on a global scale...As always, follow the money, follow the real power that dictates how we all live; it is a group of elitists that make up less than 1% of the world's population, and it has always been this way. Most people are struggling to care for themselves and their loved ones and do not have the ability to force real change. There comes a point in life where you do the best you can to experience a good quality of life and provide for yourself and family, your do your bit to elicit change, you pray and lot--and than you just LIVE your best life possible.Life is fragile and squandering precious time on matters that offer no positive results seems downright sinful. I have taken a personal inventory and concluded leaving Illinois is a must if my family is to thrive .There are still places in america where the cost of living id fairly reasonable, crimes is low, civil servants actually serve their constituents,, the air is fresh and the water is clean and the soil is rich--already scouting new locales and setting aside boxes for packing. I have given a lot to many initiatives in the Chicago area with little to show for my efforts. There really is a better way to live and i shall find it; there is no Shangri-La but I'll take the closets place to it and call it my new home.Peace out!

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: June 12th, 2017 7:22 AM

Ahh, the willful ignorance of right wingers like Ray Ray. The Clinton charity is a "phony foundation" despite years of documentation showing many millions spent on programs benefitting the third world. I think he's confusing the Clinton Foundation with Trump's fraudulent, self-serving charity. As for the Russian uranium allegations, I'll take those unsubstantiated allegations seriously if and when the FBI ever deigns to initiate a criminal investigation into those alleged facts. So far the only people under formal criminal investigation by the FBI are corrupt individuals in Trump's inner circle.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 11th, 2017 2:37 PM

@Barbara, I don't disagree with you. In general to get to the level where you are a candidate for President you have likely had to make some backroom deals and are likely a very type A personality. I personally wish we would remove all corporate money from campaigns but that's for another thread. Politicians don't really work for the people much anymore. They work for big companies and rich people that donate to their campaigns or their charitable organizations.

Barbara Joan  

Posted: June 11th, 2017 10:51 AM

jason--your statements about JFK 'sand RKFs father are true, he was not a good person. It's the part about wanting to be popular and accepted by high society that i am comparing Pres. Trump to him.Truthfully, I have no real admiration for the Trump Family in general, BUT i am giving Pres. to improve the domestic and international affairs of the USA.. Politicians in general have big egos and back room deals are the norm regardless of who they are.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 11th, 2017 9:43 AM

@Barbara, are you saying the comparison to Joseph Kennedy is a good thing? Joseph Kennedy was a horrible racist and anti-semite. I am not sure where you are going with that but if you compared me to Joseph Kennedy I would be very insulted.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 11th, 2017 9:39 AM

@Ray, I can think of one very big difiference. HRC isn't actually the presIdent of this country. Trump has been in office for less than 6 months and I can't even count the scandals on both hands and feet. What possible motivation would Comey have to lie? He could have easily walked away to a new cushy private sector job making millions but instead agreed to testify under oath and risk his entire future to lie? Do you really think he is risking literally everything he has by lying under oath just because he's mad at the way he was fired?

Barbara Joan  

Posted: June 11th, 2017 9:05 AM

Jason-Pres. Trump draws comparisons to Joseph Kennedy in many ways...In our present times, Americans need to be united and not divided. USA founding fathers and Presidents Lincoln and Eisenhower were our greatest leaders to date.I pray everyday for our community, county, state, federal and international governments and people to create a truly free, peaceful, and prosperous world for all.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 11th, 2017 7:19 AM

Oh SNAP! Comey "Deleted" his CYA memo. So I guess we are all obligated to believe his narrative.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 9th, 2017 2:34 PM

@ Jason Here is the story as related by the NY Times: How is this any less important or fake than the "Collusion" that is being claimed by the Dems?

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 9th, 2017 12:58 PM

@Ray you really need to do better than that. Let's try to use info that's not completely fake or it really ruins any credibility you might have. This is a rumor that has never ever been proven to be true. It's called fake news for a reason. I don't think you want to try to compare anyone to Trunp from a scandals standpoint. I am from NY and have known of Trump my whole life and he has always been considered to be a fool and grifter who desperately wanted the attention of the "cool kids" but could never get it. Forgetting what you think about his policy he's clearly one of the worst bosses around. He's more than willing to throw his own people under the bus so he doesn't look bad.

GWayne Popelquecho  

Posted: June 9th, 2017 11:53 AM

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 9th, 2017 10:36 AM

@ Dwyer - "Pot calling the Kettle Black" The answer to your question--- Hillary, her phony foundation and Russia getting control of 1/4 of US uranium resources!

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: June 8th, 2017 7:19 PM

This is the towering hypocrisy of those on the right who ostensibly care about common ground and civility. They can't just disagree with Ken Trainor. He has a "warped mind" and is engaging in "hateful and intolerant doublespeak." As for Richard Stephen's silly "comrade" remark, just who does he think is actually in bed with the Russians?

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 8th, 2017 6:53 PM

I always love when one of these anti Trump posts go up because you know there will be the standard 6-8 people that get all worked up. It's especially funny how the people that complain about the liberal special snowflakes get so worked up over these yard signs. If you choose to live in OP you must know that most of your neighbors will be against this guy. Anyway keep it up! It makes my train commute more entertaining.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 8th, 2017 9:45 AM

Correction: that should have been Lucy Van Pelt! Please excuse me Charlie Brown she pulled the football out from me as well.

Barbara Joan  

Posted: June 8th, 2017 7:58 AM

Ken, Please make your retirement a reality.Your hateful and intolerant doublespeak is harmful to the community.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 8th, 2017 7:45 AM

I guess Ken's retirement activity is his Lucy VanCleef 5 cent psychiatry stand in front of the Wednesday Journal office

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 8th, 2017 7:41 AM

@ Bruce - in those countries the minister of truth owes his life to promoting the premier, Ken would not last til his next paycheck!

Bruce Kline  

Posted: June 7th, 2017 10:03 PM

Richard: In all people's republics there is usually a premier of some sort and then always a Minister of Truth - or some variation thereof - who heads the Ministry of Truth. It never fails. Ken is our republic's Minster of Truth.

Richard Stephen  

Posted: June 7th, 2017 8:10 PM

Ken: Oak Park has long been the bastion of liberalism, so much so that its comically referred to as "The People's Republic of Oak Park." It is the capitol of virtue gesturing. I too have noticed all the lawn signs proclaiming that "Hate Has No Home Here!" Lots of them. What I noticed is that there are more homes that DON'T have them than actually do. In your warped mind, that must make all those homes the domicile of hateful bigots because they aren't participating in this latest round of Oak Park virtue gesturing. (Maybe they're still getting over the fact that we're a Nuclear Free Zone.) I will posit that there's plenty of hate in Oak Park, much of it being propagated by you and the Wednesday Journal. It's a hate of a President that is the physical manifestation of your deep disappointment that your champion, Hillary Clinton didn't win the Presidency and continue the US on the path to the Left-wing Utopia that you and other liberals, progressives, socialist and various other crypt-communists dream of. In short, its a tantrum. I'll prove my point by proposing a little social experiment to validate my supposition: You and a few other Wednesday Journal "reporters" put on "Make America Great Again" caps and Trump/Pence 2016 T-shirts and walk around downtown Oak Park during Thursday Night Out, or some other festival, or perhaps the Farmer's Market when its good and crowded. Have your staff record and film the number of times you're insulted, bombarded with profane curses, spit on and threatened. You'll get a true measure of the hate in Good Old Oak Park. Make sure there's a Trump sticker on your car and see what it looks like when you return to it after the verbal assault you've been subjected to. Then come back here and write another liberal fantasy fairy tale about all the tolerance you encountered as part of this little social experiment. Hate goes 2 ways, comrade.

Martin A. Berg from Oak Park  

Posted: June 7th, 2017 12:55 PM

Well said, Ken. We've got a lemon--let's make some lemonade.

Barbara Joan  

Posted: June 7th, 2017 12:20 PM

What the heck are you talking about?

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 6th, 2017 8:11 PM

Grow up Ken, this is mindless drivel that challenges your previous hypocritical foolishness for top spot on our list of inane political myopia.

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