Bridge building isn’t our thing

Dear President Trump,

Disruptors are hard to deal with, aren’t they? Especially those who have won hearts and minds through culturally sanctioned avenues and therefore have a platform from which to visibly and audibly challenge the system. Such disruptors are hard to dismiss since they get lots and lots of people talking and questioning, pushing each other to grapple with whether it was or was not ok for them to say what they said, how they said it. Another tough thing about such disruptors is that the power holders’ instinct is to try and squelch them, disinvite them, but this generally backfires and only gives them more exposure and fuel for standing their righteous ground. How differently this whole situation with Stephen Curry might have gone if you had instead expressed dismay and sought to build a bridge rather than petulantly slamming the door he’d already said he didn’t plan to use. But bridge building isn’t your style, is it?

I just made a Freudian typo; I initially typed “But bridge building isn’t our…” and sadly, I’m afraid it’s true that the bridge building failure is not really yours, it’s ours. You are just playing out and on our worst, most base instincts for self-preservation while we keep flocking to your rallies or flocking to rallies against your rallies, caught in a proverbial deadlock where each side righteously insists the other has to make the first move.

The need for frameworks that help us see past our own immediate self-interest I tried to articulate yesterday still makes tons of sense to me, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could step back and see that none of us has the corner on truth with a capital T and we are all just patting different parts of the same elephant, trying to make sense of how to get along with those outside our immediate clans? What if instead of staying so focused on trying to figure out the elephant, we turned and touched each others’ shoulders and faces and asked each other what our hearts long for and listened closely for the answers.

May we be safe to find our common ground.
May we be happy to reach out of our comfort zones to one another.
May we care for those among us who are tender.
May we collectively learn to weigh all decisions in light of justice.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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