Real patriotism

Dear President Trump,

It’s good you went ahead and slapped the idea of readmitting Russia to the G-7 on the table this morning. I was wondering when someone was going to point out that your baiting of Macron and Trudeau and the wanton tariff leveeing were likely at Vladimir’s behest. I didn’t see anything in the press connecting these dots, but you did it quite nicely yourself. Well done. You have thoroughly pissed off our historical allies and you and Vladimir have publicly cemented your relationship. So who proposed to whom? My guess is Vladimir was the instigator but that he set it up so you would think it was your idea and he was doing you a favor. Hopefully Mr. Mueller will be able to give us these details soon.

I don’t want to get stuck in a shitty mood heading into the weekend so I’m going to shift gears. On Wednesday Steve Kerr (you know, the Golden State Warriors’ awesome coach) said something very cool, the gist of which is that singing along to anthems and shows of military might are not patriotic. What is patriotic is helping one another and promoting the common good and he pointed to some concrete examples of sports teams doing such things. Then Malcolm Jenkins from the Philadelphia Eagles held a brilliant silent press conference using a series of hand written poster boards with stats about the racial injustices that NFL players are protesting and statements calling out community building efforts by specific NFL players. Only the woman reporter seemed to grasp what he was doing. All the other reporters repeatedly got the card saying “You Are Not Listening” in response to their questions.

I know I’m only highlighting prosocial men, but I still want to add Fred Rogers to the mix. I read a beautiful article about the show he did on the day of Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral and how he dealt with the situation by being honest with kids “… about the scary and sad things…” that were happening. This was brilliant and beautiful in and of itself and he went further by telling kids what he learned from his mother – that when things are scary and sad, you should look for the helpers.

May we be helpers who step up even when it is risky.
May we be happy to exercise our patriotism in ways that support the common good.
May we not get hooked by unhealthy, mind-numbing exercises that masquerade as patriotism.
May we hold each other through the sad and scary times and not sink to the level of those who are driving the despair and fear.

Tracy Simpson

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