Righting (or rather “lefting”) this American context

Dear President Trump,

Today, in this American context we have dozens of families making funeral arrangements for loved ones killed by hateful young white men with twisted agendas and weapons of war. We have hundreds of children in Mississippi who don’t know where ICE took their parents. We have a biracial couple in Ohio looking for a new community because their home was destroyed by swastika scrawling illiterates. And we have a POTUS who regularly pokes his base to keep the random, stochastic terror coming.

Fortunately, this American context is also home to the long-time Foreign Service worker who is resigning his commission to protest your administration’s inhumane policies and it is home to hundreds of people figuring out how to care for the children ICE conveniently “forgot” to consider when it rounded up their parents on the first day of school.

We are a crazy, lurching mix of people with competing beliefs and approaches to promoting those beliefs, but there is not moral equivalence in those competing beliefs and approaches – the ones you and yours are promoting are greed-fueled, nihilistic, and cruel, while the ones the resistance is promoting are life affirming. Yes, a lot of us engaged in the resistance and rebellion are being reactive and having trouble focusing on, or even agreeing on, a steady, clear agenda for moving forward, but this is to be expected. When people are under great duress and the stakes are unfathomably high it’s hard to always meet challenges wisely and well. And really, it’s important that we stay open and have good learning curves because otherwise we risk entrenching and becoming as dogmatic and narrow minded as you all are.

In the vast gap between those of you who are actively promoting divisive, destabilizing agendas and those of us who are consistently speaking out and protesting those agendas or mopping up after you all, there are millions upon millions of Americans who don’t want to be bothered with any of this, who are waiting for someone to sort it out for them. This is incredibly scary given how well you and the GOP have strategically reshaped the political infrastructure over time to favor yourselves. You have used gerrymandering, Citizens United, refusing to hold hearings on Merrick Garland, various nefarious voter suppression laws, GOP state legislatures and governors stripping rights and flexibility from state laws right before transitions of power, etc to bake scads of distinct advantages into the system.

Those of us who are awake and worried (or, really, freaked out) need to not forget that not only are our opponents likely to keep cheating, but that they have been cheating for a long, long time and that cheating has resulted in significant “baked in” power imbalances. Thus, for our country to have a chance at recovering in the foreseeable future, we are going to have to either somehow impeach your ass or we are going to have to beat you so resoundingly in 2020 that we completely overwhelm the cheats you all have been benefiting from and are likely counting on.

Before closing tonight, I want to share my burst-into-tears moment from this morning because it speaks to what our American context used to be like and what I hope it will be again someday soon. I was reading the WP essays by eight Black women writers about Toni Morrison and at the end of Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s piece she recounts having asked Morrison a few years ago what President Obama said to her when he whispered in her ear as he gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Morrison said she didn’t remember, but at some later point her son asked President Obama what he had said and it was “I love you.”

May we be safe from nihilistic, greedy-ass cheaters.
May we never for a second pretend that the 2020 election will be fair.
May we hold onto hope that we can get back to much healthier, more loving ways of being together.
May we have the courage and resolve to be peace.

Tracy Simpson

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