Dear President Trump,
I could tell from a block away that the owner of the navy blue sedan was a bumper sticker enthusiast; the entire back end was plastered with them. As I pulled up next to him it was clear that this was a rare sighting of an avowed Trump supporter. I’ve never seen so many Trump bumper stickers. Actually, before today I haven’t seen even five of them because, really, hardly anyone here in Seattle likes you and those that do, don’t broadcast it. But not this guy, he was going for it. Most of the 20+ stickers were repeats that just said “TRUMP,” but the one in the center spot of honor said “PRAY (for our nation, 2 Chronicles 7:14); VOTE (do your civic duty); PRAY (for our leaders, 1 Timothy 2:2).” (I looked it up to find out what all the small print said.) I whispered a prayer for him as we drove off in different directions, and I promised to vote. I think I said “May you know peace.”
When I saw Mr. Bumper Sticker I was on my way to church. It was a trial getting there since it is road-patching season and the freeway was down to two lanes. There’s a really bad chunk out of one of the lanes in that stretch and I sure hope they fixed it. As long as I’m on this infrastructure tangent, wouldn’t it be amazing if our president were actually a public servant who was invested in improving real things for real residents of the US? But nope, we didn’t win that lottery and instead we have a president who has sold us down the river.
I feel a little ill because I just now realized that the phrase “sold down the river” refers to when plantation owners sold slaves down the river deeper into the South. If I’d stopped to think about it before I would have put it together, but I hadn’t and I didn’t. This reminds me of another commonly used phrase that I didn’t know the real meaning of – “rule of thumb.” This one isn’t so obvious but it’s vicious too; it refers to the old rule that a man could not hit his wife with a stick any bigger around than his thumb.
We certainly have a lot of old, deep wounds that have never been properly tended. Prayers and votes might be a start, but they aren’t enough on their own.
May we all be safe living in whatever skin, in whatever body we were born into.
May we be happy to question phrases and beliefs with old, oppressive roots.
May we be healthy and strong enough to tend our collective wounds properly.
May those of us who need to reckon with our privilege make peace with this reality and do the work.