In our justified moral outrage at Donald Trump’s racist and mean-spirited tweets and policies, we sometimes overlook the practical argument that it just works better to treat people with respect. I call this “the pragmatics of love.”

It just works better to share the wealth enough so that everyone is fed, housed and healthy. People whose needs are met are more productive and less antagonistic.

It just works better to meet children’s needs early rather than let them fester until we have crises of drug abuse, mental illness, teen suicide, and crime, all requiring expensive fixes that often fail.

It just works better to look our biases in the eye and guarantee safe workplaces, schools and streets. It is so much easier to work for stable families comprised of all ranges of age, gender identification, skin color and culture than to exclude and torment people who seem different.

And, it just works better to welcome newcomers fleeing for their lives rather than to pull up the drawbridge.

When we treat refugees and immigrants with dignity and care, they give us so much more in return: gratitude, loyalty, creativity, enormous resilience, hard work and determination, fresh perspectives and new ways to solve problems. In Maine, we know we need a younger labor pool. We need young families to put down roots in our towns, to keep those towns vibrant. And we who have been here longer need the chance to broaden our world view.

Finally, it just works better for our own lifelong development as individuals and as a society to focus on trust over suspicion, on love over fear, on openness over shut doors. What we feed our minds is what we become.

Love is the practical choice.

Mary Tracy

Portland