Bullies are losers

Dear President Trump,

Would you prefer we go with “Happy Holidays” this year after all? I’m thinking you’d rather not have your base remember how you hosed everyone just before, the day of, and for an as-yet-unknown time after Christmas day, so probably best to skip the “Merry Christmas” greeting enforcement this year. You’ve managed to make this a patently un-Merry Christmas by shutting down a good chunk of the government, throwing the market into free fall, and sending the last of the semi-reasonable ones in your administration packing. And what a nice touch having worked it all to a fevered pitch right before Christmas. Dang! Someone must have been planning this party for months.

I know it’s not very nice to be sarcastic while things are coming apart at the seams, but sometimes I cope by being a smart-ass.

Last night we went to see the movie “Green Book” along with a slew of other white, middle-aged people. The movie was pretty formulaic and nearly everyone laughed on cue and gasped on cue. I would venture, though, that few, if any of us could even begin to grasp what it must have taken for Dr. Don Shirley to choose to tour the Deep South in 1962. Towards the end of the movie one of the men in Dr. Shirley’s trio said that Dr. S was of the belief that genius wasn’t enough to change hearts and minds, that it had to be coupled with courage. I think he was right about that, and sadly, it’s still true.

Andrew Johnson, the 16-year-old wrestler who was forced to choose between an automatic match loss and the immediate loss of his dreadlocks, brought that combination of genius and courage to his meet last Thursday. The white referee, Alan Maloney, who has a prior history of racist behavior, went on a power trip at Johnson’s expense. Apparently he thought he could make an example of Johnson by forcing him to choose between forfeiting his match and risk letting his team down or having someone cut off his hair and risk letting himself down. I hope Johnson feels ok about his choice and that he feels good about his win. I hope that his split lip was an accident and that his opponent wrestled clean. I hope the coaches and other adults present have done some serious soul searching. And finally, I hope the referee is chastened by this young man’s genius courage and that he forswears bullying from here on out.

May we be safe to be ourselves.
May we be happy to be courageous whether we are genius or ordinary.
May we have the strength to stand up for ourselves and for one another.
May we have the courage and resolve to stand for peace.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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