John McCain’s gift

Dear President Trump,

A little while back I wrote to you about the virtues of leading with love. It’s been abundantly clear you’ve not heeded the message and I don’t think it’s just because you missed that letter. You had such a great opportunity to pretend to be a magnanimous leader in how you chose to respond to Senator McCain’s death, but nope – you blew it and only issued a lukewarm missive and deigned to lower the flag to half-mast again when you were scolded by Veterans (whose votes you can’t afford to jeopardize). It’s phenomenal how prideful you are. Or maybe it’s just plain petty.

Senator McCain, on the other hand, went out beautifully and left us a gift in the form of a heartfelt farewell letter that exemplifies loving leadership. Because I so want to believe he is right and I want to preserve this particular section of the letter like I might press a violet or a pansy in a book, I’m going to give you an extended quote (from the WP):

He described the U.S. as a country comprised of “three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals who argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement, if only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.”

I think what he is getting at is the core issue of respect. I think he’s saying that we can vehemently disagree, but if we agree to respect each other, we will find a way through together. There is, unfortunately, a problem here and it is that fundamentally, I don’t respect you and I don’t respect the GOP led Congress. I also don’t think you all actually love our country. I think you love what our country can do for you and how it can enrich you, but I don’t think you love the people or what we as a nation seek to stand for. I wonder if Senator McCain believed that you love our country. He was probably a bigger person than me and so may have been able to extend you the benefit of that presumption. If so, I hope he was right because as lousy as you are at showing us love, it really would be best for us all (including you) if somewhere hidden deep down in there, you do love us a little bit.

May we be safe to be our opinionated, vociferous selves.
May we be happy to look for and hold up those things we have in common.
May we be healthy enough to respectfully disagree and challenge.
May we see that we have no viable option other than to come through stronger than before.

Tracy Simpson

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