Bearing reality and keeping hope alive

Dear President Trump,

This morning I took on a slightly more ambitious run and went to visit “The Rock.” I thought I’d told you about the Rock before but I did a search and apparently I haven’t. Anyway, it’s a large glacial anomaly about the size of a small cabin in the middle of a neighborhood. The street and housing grid were built around it and it’s one of the coolest things around. It feels like another Buddha to me and it’s a special day when I get to visit it.

On the way there I needed to retie my shoe and when I stopped a cat ran out to get some pets. It had a collar with a non-functional bird bell on it and was fat and quite happy. It would have been happier, I think, if I’d sat down and pet it longer. Hopefully another petter went by soon. Along that same street are tied little signs in the bushes that say “WE the PEOPLE” and “Love is Stronger” or have images of peace symbols and pussy hats, tiny talismans of hope. They went up right after your election and they’ve faded since but they are hanging in, reminding us what’s important, which in the wake of yet another school shooting this morning feels critically important.

I think today I’ll finally tell you about another sign of hope I learned of months ago and have been rolling over in my head like a smooth stone in a pocket. Someone I work with told me how seeing his father was always a trial as his father was bigoted and mean-spirited towards Hispanic, black, and LGBTQ people. He told me that on a recent visit his father was mellower and didn’t make racially charged or homophobic comments. Instead he talked about reading Elizabeth Warren’s book and how he thinks she has some good ideas and could see himself voting for her. My colleague said he doesn’t know what caused his father to pick up Warren’s book let alone be so open-minded about her ideas. I’m going to circle back to see if he’s found out because I would love to know what went into his father’s calculus. If a bigoted white guy in his 60’s can come around to study a progressive woman’s work and consider voting for her, that is as huge as the Rock and we need to lean into it.

May we be safe to consider radically different points of view.
May we be happy to pet cats who want some love.
May we find healthy ways to bear reality and keep hope alive.
May we keep our peace symbols fresh and visible.
May we enact life-affirming gun legislation now.

Tracy Simpson

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