When I watched CNN Tonight on Thursday, Jan. 11, Don Lemon’s statements brought tears to my eyes. Lemon opened the show in no uncertain terms: “Welcome to CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. The President of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that. Today, President Trump, talking with lawmakers in the Oval Office about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa said, ‘Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?’” Lemon also said “those comments are frankly disgusting … but you know what? They’re not shocking.”
My tears were a mix of pride, anger, joy, and hope. Pride that Don Lemon had the courage to call out such repugnant comments, anger that the president exhibits such a lack of basic empathy, joy that I wasn’t alone in my anger, and hope that people across political ideologies can unite to reject racist sentiment. I’m unique among young Mainers in wanting to stay in Maine and work to improve the state; my high school classmates talk about living in Boston, New York, or elsewhere. With a deep love of Maine in my heart, I know that an influx of immigrants would help fuel our workforce and enrich our culture and community. Sorry, President Trump, but we’d welcome Haitians, El Salvadorians, and Africans in Maine.