“defiance of something”

Dear President Trump,

Before I settle down and tell you about my biggest learn of the morning I’m going to throw some popcorn thoughts at you. Here goes:

  • I so, so wish that the WP (and other outlets) would stop saying what you “believe” as though they know what you believe. In this morning’s long article about the Ukraine conspiracy theory (Harris, Dawsey, Leonnig) there’s repeated reference to scads of your advisors trying to convince you that our national intelligence agencies had the goods on Russian interference and that there wasn’t a shred of evidence in support of the asinine idea that it was really Ukraine (trying to help Clinton). The article talks about how much stronger your ‘belief’ in the Ukraine theory was after talking to Putin. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s dangerous to assume we know what you believe. All we’ve got is what you say, which could have absolutely no relationship to what you believe. It’s really quite incredible that the WP has tracked 15,000+ lies of yours and they still don’t get that you are almost certainly lying about what you think about most things, including Ukraine and Russia.


  • Dana Milbank’s WP editorial today highlighted your unhinged attack on Debbie Dingle and the memory of her late husband, John Dingle, after learning that you had, in fact, been impeached and it led me to the latter’s deathbed message to the country. In addition to wishing that everyone in the world could be so fortunate as to have a death like his (he ostensibly died of old age, still completely lucid, at home, in the presence of loved ones), his message that it is possible, and necessary, for people to disagree and argue their positions with a modicum of respect for one another is one we need to keep sounding from the mountaintops.


  • Although in my opinion Christianity Today could have, should have been calling out your immorality every which way from Sunday on every page of every edition since you came on the scene, it was refreshing to see that their central editorial in the latest edition is calling for your removal. It does undercut this position some that the author, editor in chief Mark Galli, is set to leave CT (not “ET” you doofus) January 3rd, but still – it’s out there and should give a lot of people who think you are more Judas-like than Jesus-like cover for speaking out about their concerns.

Ok, so the final thing to bring up this morning is the set of pictures of the 15 Black Tulane medical students sitting on the porch of and standing in front of a slave cabin on a Louisiana plantation. It’s gone totally viral and has gotten a lot of great press about the resiliency it portrays and the crucially important role modeling it achieves. I’ve absolutely not done an exhaustive deep dive into the press about it and I’m not on Twitter where it was originally posted so I don’t know how people responded to it, but the thing I’m seeing that feels important to note is that 13 of the 15 students are women. I don’t know what this means, though my sense is that there’s a lot of history and culture laced through this wildly imbalanced gender ratio, but it’s striking.

The other day Laura started following Bree Newsome on Twitter and she (Laura) shared this 2014 quote by Newsome with me:

“The space that exists for many of us, as a young black girl, is so extremely limited so that you really can’t go very far without being an activist, without being in defiance of something.”

I see “defiance of something” – institutionalized racism, the legacy of enslavement, systemic sexism – in the women’s postures and how they are looking at the camera. I see all of them coming together to make a statement that they will not be limited by the strictures and bounds that were historically imposed on African American women and men, that they’ve busted out and they’re excited about being in this new place together and they’re bringing others along.

Really, it’s an incredibly hopeful picture and I think it would be so cool if each successive class of Black Tulane medical students gathered somewhere (wherever they are moved to be) to have their pictures taken all together. I could see thousands of kindergarten and 1st grade teachers around the country making space for more and more of these pictures in their classrooms, making space for it to be a given that all the little kids they hang out with can dream such dreams and realize them.

May we be safe to dream our dreams.
May we collectively commit to everyone having space to realize their dreams.
May we celebrate those who care for our health.
May we make peace with change, with expansive growth for us all.

Tracy Simpson

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