Legislation can help us be better to one another

Dear President Trump,

Today was filled with chores, visits, flowers, and tears. Laura has been doing a lot of the proverbial heavy lifting; figuring things out, getting calls made and faxes sent, carting things to Goodwill. She also found the perfect place to donate our brother-in-law’s (BIL) bike. She’s been fearless and tireless with the cleaning that needed to happen to make some of the more painful parts of BIL’s last days at home recede. It never ceases to amaze me what she is capable of and willing to do for those she loves.

Several times over the last week of this ordeal I’ve thought about how very different everything might have been 30 or 40 years ago for Laura’s brother and BIL in dealing with BIL’s medical care and hospitalization. I’d like to think BIL’s family would not have insisted that they had the legal right to make medical decisions for BIL. Knowing them, I think they would have honored their relationship and not interfered. I’d also like to think the medical staff would have been as lovely and kind to Laura’s brother and BIL 30 or 40 years ago as they were this past week. There’s no way of knowing, but it’s a nice thought.

There’s always been acceptance and kindness with or without legislation and there’s always been rejection and meanness with or without legislation. I’m grateful, though, that fundamental shifts in legislation have happened and we are legally protected and entitled to all the same rights that heterosexual married people have had forever. I know bigotry is still alive and well in many forms and in many hearts. I think, though, that when people are legally compelled to be decent to people they find objectionable, it can, over time, with enough repeated exposure, soften their hearts such that they see we are all just people. They can see that we are fierce advocates when our loved ones are ill and vulnerable and that we grieve and keen the loss of our loved ones in just the same ways everyone ever has and ever will.

May it be safe to be out all the time.
May we be happy to see past and through differences to our core similarities.
May we see that we ourselves are not threatened by anyone else’s love.
May we keep retooling the stories we tell so they are filled with more and more love and grace.

Tracy Simpson

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