Poisoning the body politic

Dear President Trump,

Yesterday we went to the UW/University of Colorado homecoming game with our football fan friend from Texas. It was actually the first football game I’ve ever watched from beginning to end. We made it through half of the UW/Oregon game last year before the snow and cold temperature got to be too challenging. Yesterday the weather was beautiful – kind of foggy and cool at the outset and the sun came out about midway through the game. It actually got quite hot and I wished I’d put on sunscreen.

We got to the game early and while our friend went in search of stadium food, Laura and I discussed how to handle the national anthem. I’d actually already made up my mind and told her I planned to sit. She asked me why I wasn’t going to kneel. I’d considered it, but the space between the bleachers is so narrow I would’ve had to turn sideways and it would’ve been awkward and cramped; sitting seemed like the better option. Laura told me she was going to leave the bleacher area and go wait out on the concourse since she didn’t want to be a party to it at all. When the band started playing ‘America the Beautiful’ she went ahead and left. I thought maybe I was going to get a pass and wouldn’t have to deal with the national anthem, but alas no, the band smoothly transitioned from ‘ATB’ to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and everyone besides me who wasn’t already standing immediately got to their feet, put their hands on their hearts, and started singing. It was a very long two minutes. I bowed my head and tried to focus on a loving-kindness prayer. I wasn’t terribly successful.

When Laura came back she asked if I was scared that someone behind me might hurt me because I wasn’t standing up. It probably should have occurred to me to worry about this given how you’re poisoning the body politic with fear-mongering, hate-filled rhetoric that gives people permission to lash out violently at those who aren’t towing your line, but honestly it hadn’t. Now that I’ve got the idea, I’m sure the next time I sit through the national anthem it will feel even longer than it did yesterday and sadly, it will feel scary. Nonetheless, I will persist and will express my love of country and her inhabitants by sitting and praying.

May we be safe to express dissent.
May we be willing to stand up or sit down for what we believe.
May we take care of our health so we can hang in for the duration.
May we make peace with one another for our children’s sake.

Tracy Simpson

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