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‘i love you, we’re dead meat’

by P.E. Garcia


My student apologized to me for voting for Donald Trump. He regretted it, he said, because he hurt me, and he never thought it would hurt someone like me.

The week before, he sat with me for almost an hour in my office, and we bonded over poverty. He told me how hard it was to be in college with rich friends, to be so different than them. He felt alone.

He’s talented, and I told him so. He’s funny, and aside from some trouble with comma splices, he’s a good writer. He told me that he’s majoring in business, but he wants to be a journalist. I encouraged him to do that.

He’s talented, and he’s sensitive, and he voted for Donald Trump.


Let me be clear: this isn’t an essay about bonding with someone who has opposing beliefs or about how people can defy stereotypes. My student is talented, and he’s sensitive, but he still voted for Donald Trump. My student hurt me, and he did it because he’s kind of stupid.

I don’t mean that in a cruel way. He’s stupid in that way that many 18-year-olds are, the way that I was stupid when I was 18. He’s full of good intentions, and he hopes for the best, even from the worst. He voted for Trump because he didn’t believe Trump really meant all those racist things. He hoped–and continues to hope–that Trump will be better than his disgusting rhetoric.

But he says that now he can see how Trump’s victory hurt me, and so many others, and, with that same hope, he hands me his apology.

And I hold this hopeful, well-intentioned apology, as I’ve held apologies before, and I just don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do with it.

Read the full essay at HTML Giant

Filed under: Essays

About the Author

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Jeremiah Walton is wary of bios, but there's the current sign they're flying: “Jeremiah Walton is founder of Nostrovia! Press & traveling bookstore Books & Shovels. They’ve featured at the NYC Poetry Festival, Oakland Beast Crawl, San Francisco Lit Crawl, Death Rattle, the Kansas City Poetry Throwdown, Cleveland’s Guide to Kulchur: Snoetry, among other lit fests, street corners, & living rooms across the country. They loath-themselves, & are struggling to find a healthy extension of the poem that incorporates publishing. Consistently confused, & trying to make space for compassion for the parts of myself I hate.” That feels like tattooing "love me" across my neck, but hopefully you get to know me thru my poems, not the accolades that are nothing more than memories to let go of.

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