Dear President Trump,
Well, today marks the 1,000th consecutive day that your inbox has received a letter from me. Next Saturday will mark the 1,000th consecutive day that I kept copies of the letters, but I think today is the real anniversary. Would I have taken on this daily correspondence to you if I’d known that you would still be in office a thousand days into the exercise? I honestly have no idea. Actually, I don’t think I could have begun to understand back then what a thousand days of doing anything beyond taking care of basic bodily needs and functions would be like. Now I know at least one version of it.
Looking back past you, I wish I’d started this practice at the outset of President Obama’s time in office. He wasn’t perfect and there were things I would have fussed at him about, but I’m sure the overall experience would have (obviously) been profoundly different and would certainly have been leagues more uplifting and positive.
At Elijah Cummings’ funeral last month Obama quoted Cummings’, recalling how he’d urge people to consider what future generations some 200 or 300 years from now will be asking about what we all did at this critical juncture in our collective history. I’m taking liberties by whittling the quote down to what seems to me to be its essence:
“The cost of doing nothing is nothing. Our time is too short not to fight for what is good and best for America. What did you do?”
Even though there is no one correct answer, it seems to me that right now there is no more critically urgent question.
The following are possible answers:
I was kind to someone when I was exhausted and fed up.
I wore a pussy hat.
I protested inhumane immigration practices.
I rallied for women’s rights (gun reform, climate change action, etc.).
I asked myself “what else don’t I know”?
I helped someone who was being bullied.
I kept my shit together and came through for my family.
I believed women.
I believed people of color.
I believed LGBT people.
I engaged in critical thinking.
I tried to understand someone whose politics are abhorrent to me.
I was compassionate towards someone whose politics are abhorrent to me.
I ran for office.
I used my powers for good.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone on behalf of others.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone for myself.
I told the truth even when it was politically or financially costly to me.
I helped someone hang in.
I hung in and took care of myself.
I acknowledged that I am racist (sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, fat-phobic, etc.).
I questioned the status quo.
I picked up litter.
I got politically active.
I spoke truth to power.
I believed in us.
Like I said, there is no one correct answer to this question, and really I don’t think any of us who are resisting you, who oppose what you and your props are doing to democracy and to our planet, would or could have just one answer to it. When this is over, we will have thousands and thousands of stories to tell. And to hear.
And critically, when this is over, I think we will need to ask ourselves what we will do to heal the untended wounds that led to this nightmare in the first place.
May we be safe in unsafe times.
May we be willing to ask ourselves hard questions.
May we look beyond our own interests to the well-being of the community.
May we be peace and kindness.