Proposed increases for NIH in spite of you

Dear President Trump,

Before sharing my thoughts on the good news in the news I want to finally tell you about the walker. It belongs to the widow of one of our longtime ministers. She is always impeccably and elegantly dressed and her hair is always perfect. She is both warm and cool when we exchange the peace of Christ each week, almost as though she is a queen doling out favors from her throne. Every week about halfway through the service she gets up by herself and leaves the sanctuary for good. This past Sunday I noticed that on the non-wheel ends of her walker she has affixed little tiny blue and white rubber sneakers with the toes pointed in the direction of her toes. I almost lost it when I saw them and had to keep checking to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. There is no way someone snuck those sneakers onto her walker without her knowing, so the implied silly, good humor they connote puts her in a very different more approachable light for me. I am going to make a point of trying to get to know her a bit.

The good news in the news this morning is that both houses of Congress are completely over-riding your efforts to cut NIH funding and to undermine the viability of research in university settings by slashing indirect costs. Both the Senate and the House have put significant increases for NIH into their budget drafts and they have set out language that prohibits you from changing the indirect costs allocations. They are also keeping the division of NIH dealing with global health, correctly noting that diseases don’t stop at borders and hopefully also understanding that disease and malnutrition drive instability all over the world. And it is so cool that they are directly calling you out on the folly of your desired cuts rather than just slipping these changes in and hoping no one really gets wind of them. Similarly, Republican leaders are starting to call you out on the asinine insistence that human activity is not a fundamental cause of global warming and saying now is exactly the time to be talking about it. In a crazy sort of way your extreme, short-sighted, dangerous positions are galvanizing more and more people from all corners to stand up and speak out. Thank goodness, because if you all have your way we will be hosed.

May all the old women be safe.
May they keep their senses of humor.
May they be healthy and connected.
May they lean on their communities and may their communities lean on them.

Tracy Simpson

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