A toxic stew of anger, sadness, and helplessness

Dear President Trump,

Sometimes when I’m contending with the combination of anger, sadness, and helplessness I resort to being snide and I’m afraid that’s what happened in yesterday’s letter. I’m certainly not going to apologize to you, but it’s not a posture or way of being that I’m proud of or want to indulge in very often. You know, though, it’s the helpless part that brings out my meanness. When I feel helpless, especially when it’s paired with anger, I have a tough time seeing it clearly right away and it tends to come out sideways. There’s no point in asking you if you understand this since you would never cop to feeling helpless and yet you are The King of shit coming out sideways.

Also, when I’m in that mode – snideness driven by angry helplessness – I am not as careful or as considered in my choice of analogies or metaphors, and this was the case yesterday. I didn’t do a very good job in choosing a reality TV-show as a vehicle for portraying what it might take for you and the other 13 world leaders who don’t support the Paris Climate Agreement to pull your heads out. Basically, the timelines I set for your stays in harm’s way were far too short, way too made-for-TV. A couple of days some place devastated by climate change-driven weather is not anything like reality for the people whose homes and lives are tied to those places. Yes, a couple of days in any of those hellish situations might boost your empathy levels some, but you would know you get to leave soon – you don’t have real skin in this reality.

I can’t even come up with a quasi-plausible thought experiment for this one. The fact is that while you do have property in Florida that you clearly value having taxpayers pay for you to visit frequently, none of you have ever or will ever deal with your personal homes and communities being permanently ruined by climate change. None of you live in places vulnerable to climate change (or you use your money and power to shield yourselves from it) and you all have the resources to rebuild if something happened and you wanted to stay put. So even if there were a conceivable situation where you were really stuck somewhere that has been compromised by climate change, you wouldn’t know what it’s like to have your home irredeemably trashed by forces completely and utterly beyond your control.

Have you seen the video footage shot from helicopters flying over the Bahamas? The one part that looks untouched is the massive golf course – the greens all look weirdly fine and even the sand traps look ok. It isn’t until the camera pans to the adjacent fleet of golf carts that you can tell that Dorian passed through there – they look like smashed up little Lego bits. They don’t look as bad, though, as the massive swaths of debris that clearly used to be thousands of homes and businesses. It literally looks like some ginormous angry monster systematically destroyed virtually everything there.

It is so awful. And sad. And overwhelming.

I’m not one to beg, but if I thought it would do any good at all, I would be willing to get down on my knees in front of you and ask you to please, please, please come around to how serious climate change is for us all. I would ask you to step up and be a real leader on this.

I wasn’t around then, but it sure seems like we were able to rally around the causes we were fighting for during WWII. This gives me hope that with some decent leadership we could perhaps get ourselves to be much better world citizens. Guided by a leader who is willing to accept reality and who demonstrates concern for us all could allow us to make inroads on climate change, to slow or stop the freight train we can all see is heading straight for a brick wall. Yes, some of us have more time than others of us, but we are all in its path and that’s not going to change by itself.

May we be safe and not just pretend we are safe.
May those of us who need to be willing to drastically reduce our carbon footprints do so.
May we truly understand that everyone’s well-being is interconnected.
May we make peace with less.

Tracy Simpson

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