American Studies

Dear President Trump,

The air has finally cleared here and we have been getting little smatterings of rain. I know a few days of normal weather don’t mean there’s nothing to worry about but it is nice to have a respite from the heat and smoke. I’m especially aware of our relative good fortune here in the Northwest as people in Florida brace for Irma and people in other parts of the world try and pick up the pieces of their lives. I sure hope you aren’t encouraging the nutty talk about how all these natural disasters are coming about because of gay marriage. I think someone even said it is more plausible that hurricanes and earthquakes are caused by lesbians than by global warming. I wonder if the people telling these lies really believe them. Even though it’s awful either way, I sort of hope so since at least they wouldn’t be cynically trying to manipulate their flocks.

Other than the cooler air here, obviously this isn’t much of a good news letter yet so I’m switching gears now to tell you about a well done editorial in the NYT. It is by a young woman who has (or is it had now?) DACA status and is about the psychic toll of your decision on DACA. She eloquently describes what it is like to live with the stress of being undocumented, conveying people’s stories in simple but searing vignettes. She describes the love and care she gives her father to try and compensate for the strain and fear he feels every day wondering if he will be picked up by ICE or if it will happen to his wife or now his daughter. I realize all this doesn’t seem like it would qualify as positive to me (to you yes, but not to me) but actually it is the fact that she gathered these stories of the day-to-day toll undocumented people bear for her dissertation in American Studies at Yale. I love that she will be getting a PhD in American Studies for this work. She is clearly studying America and I have to believe she is doing it with rigor and care and that a group of faculty from Yale approved this topic and are supporting her. This is good the news here. We are all of us and all our stories matter.

May we all be safe to tell our stories.
May we all be happy to hear them.
May we all be healthy enough to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.
May our stories intermingle brilliantly and peacefully.

Tracy Simpson

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