Moral quandaries are us

Dear President Trump,

Last week there were pieces in the WP about two people who quit their jobs and I would really like to get them together for one of those “Table for Three” conversations that Philip Galanes hosts for the NYT. The people are Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts and Rachel Brand. You likely know who Brand is, but my guess is you have no idea that Dyrdahl-Roberts is a legal secretary who quit his job in Helena, Montana where he worked for the state labor department. He quit because he didn’t want his work to help ICE apprehend undocumented people. Brand hasn’t cited a specific reason for leaving her position at the Department of Justice, but she was in line to take over supervision of the Russia investigation if you end up firing Rosenstein and it sure looks like she wanted to avoid being in that untenable position.

D-R was clear that his decision to not materially participate in supporting policy that goes against his values won’t stop the machine, per se, but he couldn’t face himself if he, personally, continued contributing to others’ harm. The choice to quit came at a high cost to him and his family since he doesn’t have a high paying (or any paying) Walmart-like ace in his back pocket like Brand has. In addition to their post-job circumstances being wildly different, it’s apparent that D-R and Brand are on different ends of the political spectrum and this is largely why I’d like to be a fly on the wall if they were to sit down with Galanes and talk about leaving their jobs. I want to hear how hard the decision was or wasn’t, what all motivated them, how they think they would have felt about themselves had they stayed, what advice they might have for people facing the kind of shifting moral political landscape they faced in their jobs. I’m thinking too of the people who are hanging in with the State Department, EPA, Consumer Protection Bureau (etc.) who are trying to limit the fallout associated with your dangerous tactics. Really, it’s criminal that you and your administration are blithely setting up so many conflicts that force people to choose between feeding their families and selling their souls.

May you stop putting people in emotionally unsafe, untenable positions.
May you see you can’t have true happiness when you are throwing others under the bus.
May you somehow develop healthy values and a moral compass.
May you stop shredding the social fabric that makes it possible for us to coexist in peace.

Tracy Simpson

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