Dear President Trump,

Happy Solstice! Did you and the fam do anything to celebrate the shortest day of the year or did you studiously avoid it because you don’t acknowledge things that are the shortest, smallest, briefest? You generally are only in it for the biggest, hugest, longest whatevers so you probably let this day swing on by you. Plus, you were probably super busy seething over the release of those nails-in-the-coffin emails showing that the hold on the Congressionally approved money for Ukraine was put in place two whole hours after your ‘perfect’ phone call with Zelensky. Seems pretty clear you must not have thought it went perfectly yourself since it stands to reason that if it had, you wouldn’t have felt the need to block the aid and not tell Congress. Personally, I think those emails making their way into the light of day, however brief that daylight, was a terrific Solstice Day present for us all, so thank you to The Center For Public Integrity for requesting those communications and to the Judge who ordered their release. I wish I could have seen the look on McConnell’s face when he first got this newsflash.

I started out my day with a bit of mending. I have some fingerless gloves that periodically come unraveled and need rebinding. Since I’d let it get to the point where the thumb might seriously come undone, I made myself sit still and fix it. I then fixed the little hole in the toe of my right slipper. This took a bit longer as it was a fussier fix (darning is harder for me than knitting), but it was satisfying to finally have accomplished that. For some reason I recently started pining for new slippers even though mine were fine except for the hole, so since I’m trying not to buy things I don’t need, I figured I’d better fix the hole so I wouldn’t convince myself that I “need” new ones. These days, it feels more radical to fix stuff than to throw it away and buy new stuff and since I like being at least a bit radical, morning mending happened.

This basic idea of giving something old new life by fixing it occurred to me last night as I was finishing Yoni Appelbaum’s piece in the Atlantic “How America Ends ~ A tectonic demographic shift is under way. Can the country hold together?” Near the very end of the essay he says the following:

“So strong is the attraction of the American idea that it infects even our dissidents. The suffragists at Seneca Falls, Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and Harvey Milk in front of San Francisco’s city hall all quoted the Declaration of Independence. The United States possesses a strong radical tradition, but its most successful social movements have generally adopted the language of conservatism, framing their calls for change as an expression of America’s founding ideals rather than as a rejection of them.”

In my opinion, those founding ideals need a bit of radical help and because they need help, the conservatism argument doesn’t hold for me. Basically, we need to sub out “men” for “people” so that the first sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all people are created equal…” Without this fix, we’re stuck with the original White male property owners (presumably heterosexual) being the only ones recognized as enjoying all that nice equality. Thus, the amendments enfranchising women, African Americans, and gays and lesbians were radical – not conservative.

Plus, if you read further in that second D of I paragraph, the seeds of radicalism are right there, ready to be watered since it talks about the duty incumbent upon the people to get out from under oppressive forms of government. The dissidents pushed the status quo to fix the parts of the system that aren’t working for them and in the process radically updated the understanding of America and who has both the right to the fruits of our democracy and the responsibility it safeguard it. So yes, these fixes were done within the original framework but they were anything but conservative.

May we be safe to fix our stuff.
May we be willing to take care of our things, including our democracy.
May we keep ourselves healthy and strong.
May we resolve to be kind and to be peace.

Tracy Simpson

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