anne mikolay 2012 120In every situation, be it good or bad, there are lessons to learn. The presidency of Donald J. Trump has taught me quite a bit, and though these life lessons are often unpleasant, they are enlightening nonetheless.

Thanks to Donald J. Trump, I now realize the massive impact the President of the United States has on our nation’s spirit. In the wake of the worst terrorist attack on American soil in 2001, George W. Bush stood in the ashes of the World Trade Center and rallied the people with his Bullhorn Address. At that moment, our president embodied the sorrow and determination in the hearts of the American people; we were united. In contrast, under the influence of Donald Trump, ours is a nation divided into opposing camps, the “Trumpsters” and the “Trump Resistance”. Americans no longer stand together.

Thanks to Donald Trump, I have discovered some people are incapable of tolerance and easily sever ties with those expressing differing political opinion. I see that some of us live conditionally in isolated worlds and shun those who are not like us. Thanks to number 45, I have learned more about the cult of personality than I care to know.

Thanks to Donald Trump, I have learned bigotry has no limitations. His negative influence is widespread. Case in point: just hours after the tragedy in Manchester, former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos slammed Ariana Grande for being “ferociously pro-immigrant and pro-Islam”. Ms. Grande’s politics are not the issue here. Apparently, for some, political agenda trumps empathy - no pun intended.

I have learned that those who are anti-Trump sometimes promote unfair “tabloid criticism” of First Lady Melania Trump. First, they said she didn’t smile enough at her husband’s inauguration. Now they claim the Trump marriage is on the rocks because Melania allegedly doesn’t want to hold her husband’s hand. The state of the Trump union should be of no concern to anyone other than the couple themselves. I have learned people see what they want to see.

And some Trump supporters can’t see the forest for the trees.

I have learned Donald Trump is so polarizing that he unknowingly destroys friendships. While one may allow friends to freely express their views, such consideration is not always reciprocated. Apparently, nowadays, if you aren’t following the Pied Piper of Washington, you are not worth listening to or associating with. Sadly, hypocrisy is everywhere.

What I have not yet learned, however, is how to hold on to hope and rise above the muck. I have not learned what to say to people who believe in Donald Trump, nor do I know what to say to those who don’t. I have not learned to repair my faith in the goodness of people. And I don’t know how to guard against the sadness, suspicion, bitterness, and fear Donald Trump creates. These things, I know, I can’t learn from Donald Trump.