Dear President Trump,
This morning when I was doing tonglen for you I imagined you were standing still while I walked around you focusing on your heart, the side of your neck, the middle of your back, your clenched fist, and around again to your heart. I practiced breathing in your fear and sending you calm to slow down your heart, relax your neck and back, unclench your fist. This was quite a bit easier than approaching your whole being; you seemed more human and vulnerable. It also seemed more possible to imagine those bits calming down some. I do, though, need to work on your brain and your gut since those parts are likely where most of your fear resides and where most of your decision-making happens (including deciding not to decide).
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about issue exhaustion. It was certainly a thing during Year 1, but lately it seems things were just warming up because now we are inundated every day with myriad life and death issues. There is Russia. There is all the nutso stuff you and the GOP bring with your incompetent, but still highly effective malevolent, corrupt governing. There is our collective effort to reckon with racism, sexism, and homophobia. There is climate change and gun control. There is immigration and the damn wall. The list could go on and on. There might be some utility in itemizing every ill, but I don’t think it’s necessary for the point I want to make today, which is that I think it’s all driven by the same “might is right” mentality. All these issues boil down to how we have historically elevated those who can effectively intimidate and control others through actual or threatened physical, economic, judicial, and emotional tactics and how this oppressive system is further fueled by dividing us from one another and goading us into fighting over scraps. When I heard “enough is enough” about gun violence after having heard it about sexual harassment and about the killing of unarmed African American people it dawned on me that even though we are often tricked into focusing on how the particulars differ, we are all grappling with the same core oppressive cultural norms that disadvantage everyone.
May we find the courage to see and name the common roots of oppression.
May we be happy to recognize and affirm our common humanity.
May we find healthy ways to hold each one’s specific challenges and still stay strong together.
May we insist on a comprehensive peace that leaves no one behind.