Further thoughts on standing in gaps

Dear President Trump,

I’ve been using the phrase “standing in the gap” as a bit of shorthand in my recent letters to you focusing on efforts to foster belonging and healthy attachment both because it’s familiar and because it conjures the image of someone standing in the in-between, reaching out to either side to form a bridge across a gap. This is the pro-social idea consistent with the examples I’ve been telling you about, but it occurred to me that you and other GOP folks (and probably some liberals too) are instead more invested in getting people to stand in gaps so they are in good position to swat (or club or shoot or teargas, etc.) others away, to keep them from getting out of the proverbial cold and into the proverbial fold.

There are plentiful references to these two basic ways of being, facilitating vs. thwarting belonging and inclusion, so it’s not a huge surprise that a WP article about Bruce Springsteen this morning quoted him as saying that you are not only ‘deeply damaged’ at your core, but you are incredibly dangerous because you have no sense of connection with others, which basically means you have no qualms about being utterly ruthless. Ammon Bundy also got some WP attention this morning because he posted a video of himself calling you out for your fear mongering rhetoric about asylum seekers. He said that basing “your arguments or your motives or your actions upon fear is a very dangerous thing to do.” I would never in a million years have thought I’d be quoting Ammon Bundy and agreeing with him on anything, but here we are.

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said “Export Hate ~ Deport Trump.” It’s a good one in a viscerally satisfying sort of sense. Honestly, I would so love it if you would go away or be felled by some wasting disease. I know many people would like you to suffer and while I don’t ascribe to that line of thinking (mostly), I truly believe the future for all of us, meant in the largest sense possible, would be exponentially better with each day fewer you are in office. You and your campaign to fuel fear and hate to more effectively exploit us is deadly dangerous and no matter how many of us stand in however many gaps, we are all imperiled every minute you remain in power.

May we be safe from you.
May we be willing to stand (helpfully) in gaps even when it feels rather pointless.
May we hold on to some healthy bits of hope even as you ratchet up your attacks.
May we keep breathing and keep committing to making peace.

Tracy Simpson

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