Dear President Trump,
Did you catch the picture of the little tiny African American girl, Auriah “Lovie” Duncan, reaching up to put her hand on the outstretched hand of Harriet Tubman depicted in the Maryland mural? The little girl is dwarfed by the wall-size image of Tubman, but she looks ready to go wherever Tubman might lead if she were to somehow spring off that wall into life. It’s possible that her grandmother knew it would make a moving image to have a cute toddler touch Tubman’s mural-hand and staged the picture, but the story she tells sounds like Lovie instinctively knew this was someone great and wonderful and she simply wanted to connect with the memory of her, the idea of her by touching her hand. Of course I plan to go with the latter explanation and I fully expect you to go with the former, me being me and you being you. We’ve never spoken, but I think it’s safe to assume we wouldn’t see eye-to-eye on this, or much of anything else.
I’m coming a bit late to the conversation about Mnuchin’s announcement that Harriet Tubman will not be appearing on the $20 bill in 2021 as originally planned. Sometimes when you all do stuff that hurts my heart, I can’t bring myself to address it right away (or ever with some things); I need to roll it around some and read different people’s takes on it before bringing it up with you.
I get that it would have been far more surprising had you allowed Obama and Lew’s plan to go forward, if you had sat back and let Jackson come off the $20 and let Tubman go on, so my reaction isn’t shocked, rather it’s deeply sad. What was slated to be a moving, if long overdue, corrective action aimed at celebrating an African American woman who epitomizes courage and integrity, which was thoughtfully timed to coincide with 100 years of women’s suffrage, is instead yet another example of your administration’s ultra-thorough efforts to quash all that is noble and good, all that gives minorities, girls, and women hope that their/our lot is changing for the better. Yes, I’m engaging in all/nothing talk that’s veering towards melodrama, but f*ck it, that’s how this feels – you all probably carry pins in your pockets so you can pop girl’s and non-white kids’ balloons out of spite too.
Sometimes when Laura shows me something on Twitter, we’re graced with wisdom from a random person. Tonight such a hit of wisdom came from Michael Kruse who said “We’re not prepared for how bad stuff’s gonna get.” This comment was paired with an unflattering still of Nancy Pelosi that’s captioned with the WP headline about the slowed down video of her that you Tweeted out and that your Fox hench-people are claiming show she was drunk or otherwise out of it. Usually the received wisdom is of the scary crystal ball variety like this so it’s not as though these are nuggets I want to treasure and tuck away for a rainy day. Even still, it’s validating to see someone whose appraisal of our collective situation is similar to my own. He’s basically saying that even with all the norms and mores you’ve trampled, all the shit you’ve put us through, we ain’t seen nothing yet and can’t even imagine what else you’ve got to throw at us. The implication is that we’d better brace ourselves because the beast (you, your administration, your patrons, Vladimir, the GOP props, etc.) is wounded, vulnerable, and enraged and would rather take us all down in a nuclear fireball than admit defeat.
Have Michael and I got that about right? Yes? Ok. Just making sure you and I are seeing eye-to-eye on at least this.
May we be safe, just safe, from you.
May we be willing to hold fast to what is right, true, and noble for Lovie and her friends.
May we neither make ourselves crazy with worry nor let our guard down any time soon.
May you not start a war.