Juneteenth revisited with begrudging humility

Dear President Trump,

I want to apologize for my misguided rant yesterday about Juneteenth. I was earnest and believed I’d figured something important out, but I was wrong on some key details. Laura set me straight about how none of the Confederate states acknowledged the Emancipation Proclamation until after they had lost the war in April of 1865 so Texas wasn’t nearly as far behind as I thought. She reminded me that Confederate slaveholders would have felt completely justified in owning slaves and would have considered the Emancipation Proclamation a heavy handed government over-reach into their business, much the way many gun owners today feel about gun control efforts. She also clarified that slaves in all the Southern states would not have learned about the Emancipation Proclamation except by word of mouth from other slaves or from abolitionists, and for the few who did find out, knowing certainly didn’t mean they were suddenly free.

This morning I’m able to write you about all these important pieces of what happened with the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War, and Juneteenth that I didn’t know yesterday relatively calmly, but last night I was not nearly so together and collected when Laura was explaining all this. I did not react very well at all and thought she was missing the main point I was trying to make regarding information suppression. I was generally cranky and pouty about the whole thing. Although I’ve apologized to her (and now to you), I still feel badly about having reacted so defensively. I am bothering to go into all this because it was instructive to me to see how riled I could get over being corrected about something I felt passionate about. I was fortunate to have someone who cares about me and was willing to hang in with my pouty defensiveness rather than lose patience and start yelling at me (I didn’t yell but I was not very well behaved). So what have I learned (grasshopper)? Basically that humility is as important as passion and passion is as important as humility. It wasn’t that I was wrong about the basic injustices associated with slavery and withholding of critical information but I need to be humble enough to get the details right and to be ok being corrected when need be so I can carry the passion forward effectively.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.
May you be humble and passionate about just causes.

Tracy Simpson

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