The pendulum is slamming back

Dear President Trump,

Have you been to the National Museum of African American History? I’m guessing you haven’t been so when you do go, I suggest you set aside most of a day and not plan much for later because you will be exhausted if you take in even a 20th of what is there. It is truly amazing. I spent about 4 hours there today. I went by myself and that was kind of hard. It was very crowded and most people were with someone else and I could hear a lot of processing as they went along through the history portions. In some ways it would have been really nice to be able to talk with Laura or a friend about what we were seeing, share some of the heaviness and sadness and disgust with someone I know.

One of the hardest parts for me was the section with all the pictures, quotes, and memorabilia from the 1963 Freedom March on Washington. I was 5 months old when it happened and it is devastating that so much of what people were demonstrating for, putting themselves in danger for, and insisting on then are still things African American people don’t have today, over 54 years later. There’s a haunting, “how could you all let us down so badly?” quality to those parts of the exhibit since we have failed so miserably to live up to the promise of those times. I especially felt it when I saw the clips of President Obama speaking and when I saw the entire Mall filled to overflowing with people at his inaugurations. That’s when I started crying. Obviously there was still racism and there were still horrible inequities and injustices when he was in office. Of course. Electing one African American person is not going to cancel the entire debt or wipe out racism, but still, it felt like such progress, portended such hope for meaningful change.

And yet here we are with you and the vast numbers of white people who voted for you. I have to believe this is the pendulum slamming back in a last ditch attempt to save the white patriarchy and that the arc of justice will prevail, but how many lives and how much vitality do we have to sacrifice in the meantime? Please go to the museum. Please let down your guard and see people for who they are in all their preciousness. Please.

May you be safe enough to value everyone’s safety.
May you be happy enough to value everyone’s happiness.
May you be healthy enough to value everyone’s health.
May your life unfold and intersect with ours peacefully and respectfully.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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