Real people with names and lives

Dear President Trump,

We have family visiting from Atlanta and decided to take a drive to check out an island in the Salish Sea. On the freeway I saw a pick-up truck that had a brown sock monkey on a rope tied to the trailer hitch flying out behind like it was being dragged. No one else saw it. I found it horrifying. Maybe the owner thought it was funny or maybe it was intentionally hostile and racist. I don’t know. But I found it horrifying.

Just after that siting we were talking about how our brother-in-law’s niece designed a pedestrian safety bumper sticker to raise money for a foundation honoring her mother who was recently struck and killed by a car as she was crossing the street. After we were quiet for a bit thinking about this woman who was suddenly killed and her children who are devastated we somewhat sheepishly agreed that it would feel like a lot of pressure to have a bumper sticker that is admonishing others to always stop for pedestrians when we sometimes don’t see them waiting at corners and don’t stop for them ourselves. From there Laura suggested that instead we could have bumper stickers that say “I love you” or if people can’t stretch themselves that far “I like you” – basically something that would break through the anonymity we so easily retreat behind when we are in our cars (or on our devices) and remind us that we are all in this life together.

Earlier in the day we’d talked about how life would be easier if everyone wore nametags all the time. Laura was making a quick call outside the restaurant at the end of lunch when a student from 10 years ago drove by and saw her, parked her car and ran up and gave her a hug. Laura was happy to see her but has no idea what her name is, thus the nametag idea. I know we will never in a million years all wear nametags, but if we did (and we had them on our cars), I bet the level of civility and care would go up a lot and people wouldn’t drag brown sock monkeys behind their pick-ups. If we know one another’s names we are far more likely to see people as people with real lives and dreams, tender spots and cares, and we are less likely to trespass against them. We are also more likely to get that what we do and how we do it matters and that we are accountable to one another.

May we be safe to cross the street.
May we be happy to behave in ways that are transparent.
May we be healthy and strong enough to be responsible for our actions.
May we create peace by honoring each one’s name.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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