Speck-hood

Dear President Trump,

I’m torn between elaborating on what seems to me to be the word of the day, which is “sordid,” and wrestling with the reality of being a speck. I think I’ll just list three of the sordid bits that are floating on top of the oil slick this morning and then move on.

  • Tim Minuchin and Kelly Ann Conway’s appearances at the “Trump Victory Committee” event yesterday.
  • Michael Cohen’s claims of having quashed compromising photographs of Jerry Falwell just ahead of Falwell’s crucial endorsement of you.
  • Your Tweet this morning that gaming the tax system was sport.

“Sordid” actually feels too mild so I’m going to give you all the Merriam-Webster synonyms: sleazy, seedy, seamy, unsavory, shoddy, vile, foul, tawdry, louche, cheap, base, low, low-minded, debased, degenerate, corrupt, dishonest, dishonorable, disreputable, despicable, discreditable, contemptible, ignominious, ignoble, shameful, wretched, abhorrent, abominable, disgusting. It’s quite a good batch of words to describe you, but the topper is M-W’s tag-on of “informal: sleazoid.” Including all this is chewing up characters, but I couldn’t resist getting to end on “sleazoid.”

Ok, moving on to speck-hood now, I was reflecting this morning about how the people in my political essay class, to include myself, are laboring over pieces of writing that will likely be read by at most a few hundred people and will at most be remembered for an hour or so. When we take turns reading our work out loud our voices shake and the importance of our work landing well is palpable. We’re taking serious risks. We want to be heard and taken seriously and we want what we write to make a difference. And so we labor over it, polish it, put it out for critique and take in the feedback as gracefully as we can – essentially investing ourselves in an effort that in the end is likely to largely to ourselves.

I was pondering the essay class this morning on my litter-collection walk and the juxtaposition led me to think about how similarly absurd it is spending significant time and energy every day carefully choosing words and topics for letters to you that you’ll never read, and persisting in picking up trash with no hope of making a discernible difference in the amount of plastic that ends up in the Salish Sea or any other body of water.

On the plus side, though, I am staying engaged, learning new vocabulary words, getting outside, and keeping myself more or less sane, all of which counts for something.

Plus, among the debris I collected this morning was a battered plastic “crystal” that looks like it may still refract light if I can figure out how to suspend it (the little hanging hole was crushed). It had to be a coincidence that I found it towards the end of my litter-walk when I’d been contemplating the futility of what I was doing right then and what I’d be doing shortly (i.e., writing this to you), but it still made me smile and thank the universe.

May we be safe to do whatever gives our lives meaning.
May we be willing to face our “speck-ness” and still believe we can refract light.
May we do our best to support each other when we are taking risks, trying to better this place.
May we be kindness and peace and may we know kindness and peace.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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