Daryl Davis is a national hero

Dear President Trump,

The poll numbers showing your overall approval rating to be at an historic low makes good sense to me but the stark party and gender divides are mind-boggling. Democrats are profoundly unhappy with your job performance while most Republicans are satisfied with how you are doing and the majority of Democratic women think you should be impeached while Democratic men don’t tend to think so and Republicans of both genders definitely don’t think this. It’s like you are a giant screen onto which we are all projecting our own stuff, albeit with the help of various media filters influencing us. It is incredibly scary that I look at what you are doing and believe you are condoning white supremacists, are horribly misogynistic, and that you are furtively dismantling critical environmental protections while my neighbor up the street thinks you are being completely reasonable and the rest of us are being terribly unfair to you.

It’s rather lame, but I have been making myself read NYT and WP pieces about white supremacists and I have been really looking at the pictures of the people carrying torches in the Charlottesville rally to try and see them and imagine their lives. Then there is the Black musician Daryl Davis who so far has befriended over 200 KKK members who have gone on to leave the KKK and give him their robes. I think he is a national hero and I think the ex-Klan members who got to know him should also be venerated for their courage. This is really a big deal and we need to be lifting up examples like this every day. The story was careful to point out that these changes didn’t happen abruptly but over the course of a bunch of encounters in which both parties had to hang in with each other. I don’t know what compelled the ex-Klan people to keep meeting with Davis (who, in my mind should be up for sainthood) but my guess is it was the music, something they had in common that was beyond words and reached them on a different level. Whatever it was, it gives me hope that we don’t have to stay stuck in these deafening echo chambers.

May we all be safe with one another.
May we all be happy to bridge gulfs between us.
May we all be healthy enough to accept such overtures.
May our lives unfold and intersect peacefully.

Tracy Simpson

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