Hate divides us from ourselves

Dear President Trump,

It may seem as though the idea that love will prevail is naive and kind of silly. Violence and hate get so much attention that they seem to surround us and threaten to overwhelm us. It’s as though we are being brainwashed to think that violence and hate are unstoppable, as though they are the norm and we might as well just join the fray.

I’ve been thinking, though, about the woman who calls a stranger who accidentally steps in front of her the n-word and then goes home to take care of her beloved elderly, failing mother. It seems to me that in addition to dividing people from people, hate also divides us from ourselves. When we hate, it’s rarely that we hate everyone and everything. We tend to pick and choose, maybe consciously, maybe not consciously, who to hate and who to love. And then we have to remember to keep it all straight and figure out the right epithets to call particular peoples according to our classification systems. That takes a lot of effort and I contend it wears us down, diminishes us. Sure, it feels good in the moment to lash out as we try to take someone else down, try to squash their personhood. We get a rush from it and get to feel more powerful at the other’s expense.

Although far from easy since it demands that we not give in to those base impulses to raise ourselves up on the backs of others, taking the path of love is a simpler thing. There’s no need to get hung up on distinctions or classifying some as worthy and good and others as not.

We need you to step up and take the high road of love. We need you to stop trying to pit people against one another. We need you to stop making sweeping generalizations that inflame and give permission to hateful behaviors. We need you to grow up and not be a bully. We need you to step up and stop putting people in positions of power who want to tear apart protections for people’s health, well-being, and sanity. We need you to use your powers for good. So,

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect with ease.
May you love yourself. May you love us all.

Tracy Simpson

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