Tears and outrage, outrage and tears

Dear President Trump,

I’ve already cried twice this morning. And have been outraged once. The morning is still young and it’s the anniversary of such an awful and impactful morning 18 years ago that there’ll probably be quite a few more strong emotions before it’s over.

To get it out of the way, I’m going to address the single hit of outrage first and then move on to the tears. So what spiked my blood pressure about a half hour ago? Why, predictably it had to do with you and your most recent Tweet-storm. Specifically it was in response to you posting on your official Twitter feed, a picture of a bright red “TRUMP 2024” sign.

How f*cking dare you? I don’t care who you are or who you have propping your ass up – that sort of shit is beyond dangerous and you must stop it. You are not King Trump. You are not the ruler in a dictatorship or an autocracy. You are not above the law. You do not get to shred the Constitution. You will not get a second term let alone a third.

Apropos to this, Laura found a funny, but sick and sad, diagram by a guy named Tom Harris (on Twitter) that tells the entire story of your presidency, including this sort of stunt. I can’t get the lines to show up on your contact page, but here’s the basic idea:

Someone has done a thing

Are they on our side?

Yes                                 No

It’s fine                       Bastard

Yes, when it was clear that you’d won in 2016, I fervently wished that President Obama could have another term, but he never once put it out there himself. If he had, I’m sure my first reaction would have been a wistful ‘yeah, that would be so nice’ but my second reaction would have been ‘whoa, wait a minute – that’s not ok – what the hell, I thought he was above that sort of shit.’ And since he didn’t do that, he clearly was above that sort of shit, whereas you clearly are not. It’s like you’re goading your peeps into supporting more and more extreme crap that goes against their long-stated (though apparently not long-held) values in preparation for something – like maybe refusing to cede power, perhaps?

You really are playing with fire. I sure as hell hope you’re the one who’s burned and you don’t take the rest of us down with you.

So now the tears. The first set came while reading the WP article by Julie Zauzmer about Manal Ezzat. Ezzat was the project manager in charge of the Army’s space at the Pentagon at the time of the 9/11 attack. After the attack, she helped design and plan the repairs to the building. Her team chose not to reinstall offices (wisely understanding that no one would want their office there) and instead building a quiet meditation and worship space that is used by people from a variety of religions and by those who just want a quite space for reflection. Ezzat is Muslim and after the attacks she recalls having been frequently accosted by angry fellow employees, which is what occasioned my tears. This and her comments about how meaningful it is to her that so many Muslim people use the space for their daily prayers and hold a formal service there every Friday, about how having made a space for prayer and contemplation in that exact location was part of the collective healing process.

The second set of tears was prompted by a WP article from the archives (9/8/11) by Steve Hendrix about Lieutenant Heather Penney. Penney was one of two fighter pilots ordered to bring down the fourth airliner that was headed to Washington DC on 9/11. Because their planes didn’t have guns or bombs or any other way of attacking another plane, she and the other pilot were to ram their planes into the airliner, which meant they were on a suicide mission. Penney was to take the tail and the other pilot was going after the cockpit. The way Hendrix describes it, neither pilot hesitated at all – they were prepared to do whatever it took to avoid having that plane crash into the White House or wherever it was heading. This, of course, was the plane that the passengers managed to crash in the field in Pennsylvania (and being reminded of this is what made me cry) and Penney is quoted as having said:

“The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves,” Penney says. “I was just an accidental witness to history.”

And yet, here she and the other pilot were right there, ready to do what was needed for the greater good. It’s always good to be reminded there is such bravery and love in the world, and today is an especially good day for such reminders.

May we be safe from would-be power grabbers.
May we be willing to make absolutely certain you are a 1-term president (or less).
May we work to have healthy relationships with all countries and to own our part when we’ve been the bad actor.
May we make peace with the fact of you and absolutely not roll over.

Tracy Simpson

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