What have we done?

Dear President Trump,

I’m not sure at what point I started crying. I think it was during the video of President Obama’s highlights in office the HP put together for his birthday today. Seeing him smiling and engaged, signing the marriage equality act into law, flipping burgers for people on the White House lawn, talking with children and looking them in the eyes, bringing people birthday cakes. All of it made me cry. And then there were the sweet Tweets he got. Scrolling through them the thought “what have we done?” lodged in my mind and each new Tweet brought a crazy combination of amusement, poignancy, bereft longing, and searing anger. What have we done?

Having lived through a devastating house fire as a child, I know how very little time it takes to destroy something and how very much time, care, thought, collaboration, and resources it takes to build something. President Obama was (and is) a builder. You are a destroyer. He may have one clay pinky toe, maybe, but you, all your innards are made of clay.

Last night I had to make sure my brother in Portland knew about the alt-right rally today at the waterfront park (locale chosen because people with carry permits can have weapons). A friend of ours in Houston who keeps an eye on pretty much everything wanted to make sure I told him. He knows my brother could be a prime target of the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer thugs because he’s black. The PB and PP ranks are being instructed to show up armed and in riot gear. They rallied in Portland in June and picked out individual protestors, surrounded them, and beat them. There is grave concern that they are coming prepared to do worse this time. There is no building here. Only destruction. They may believe they are protecting a valued way of life (theirs), but their tactics are as dark and nihilistic as their vision.

Fortunately my brother will be at work all day. He does, however, have to get home on public transit and it will go through downtown so I’m still worried. Some people, including my brother, have had to worry for their safety their whole lives, and now you and your thugs are making it so much worse. I know you aren’t, but you should be ashamed of yourself.

May we be safe to be black and going about our business.
May we all be happy to go with President Obama’s example and bring each other cakes.
May we be healthy and strong enough to deal with our differences constructively.
May we not take the bait and meet violence with violence.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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