Two mini-stories

Dear President Trump,

My mom emailed this morning after reading yesterday’s letter and had these important points to add:

“What if the US/Iran conflict is intended to be the ultimate distraction from the impeachment proceedings? After all, war has consistently been shown to enhance economic growth and public perception of POTUS as the great defender of life, liberty, and well-being for wealthy old white men.

May we keep our eyes open and cherish peace.”

My mom is in good company; Elizabeth Warren and millions of other Americans (and world citizens) are also noting this timing, and just because I really did see this it right after you had Soleimani killed, I’ll remind you that on Friday I commented that doing so got you the horrible double-prize of meeting the major objective of destabilizing and provoking Iran and distracting from impeachment. I do think, though, that my mom said it better so wanted to include her way of putting it.

The above is an endless topic and you’ve succeeded in grabbing the world’s attention so there are plenty of people opining about the legality of what you did (and what you say you will do if Iran throws a rock in an American’s direction) and the stupidity of what you did (again, unless your goal really was for all hell to break loose in the Middle East, in which case, it wasn’t stupid at all – just evil). Given this, I’m going to tell you about two things Laura and I encountered in our mundane travels the past two days.

First, was the trip with the dogs to an 80-acre park a bit North of us yesterday morning. The park is quite heavily wooded with evergreens and there’s a lot of sap on the interior trails. Our little dog is a sap-magnet, which makes us all miserable because he’ll chew at his feet pretty incessantly until Laura and I do the foot-doctor routine with him. Thus, we always stick to the paved trail that goes around one edge of the park. When it was time to come about, Laura commented that it would be nice if the pavement went all the way around the park perimeter, but then caught herself and said that really, there’s way more than enough pavement in this world and we don’t need more of it just to keep our dog’s feet clean. I agreed with her because it was a totally reasonable observation. As we headed back, the little dog decided to try to pee on a rock with a plaque on it and on principle I wouldn’t let him. As I redirected him to the grass beside it I read that the plaque was commemorating the 2010 completion of the ADA pavement around the South edge of the park. I felt like I got a bit of emotional whiplash right then. Both priorities – conservation of unpaved land and access for people who need pavement – are totally valid even as they are competing. And that’s really all I wanted to raise with this first mini-story.

The second one happened at the grocery today. We were in line to check-out but Laura had noticed that the woman who left that line apparently just went to grab something quickly and so offered to let her back in ahead of us. The woman was appreciative but opted to go to the next line over and then told us how she was bringing her 93-year-old father his favorite meal. She shared that her sister is doing most of the caretaking work for their father and she (grocery store woman) is giving her a break this afternoon/evening. She also observed how sad it is that so many elderly people are not with their families, but that it’s gotten harder because so often both partners are working and can’t be home to care for their elders. She didn’t actually say “partners” but what was so wonderful about this exchange is that she caught herself as she was about to say something like “the women” or something else hetero-normative and instead said it in a way that acknowledged she was talking to a lesbian couple. And that’s really all I wanted to raise with this second mini-story.

May we be safe in our travels.
May we be willing to be kind, especially when the world is on edge.
May we stay healthy and strong.
May we keep our eyes open and cherish peace.

Tracy Simpson

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