The political is personal

Dear President Trump,

Rumor grapevines almost always need to be taken with more than a few grains of salt and the one that’s been bugging me lately is no exception. Knowing this, I’ve tried not to get into too much of a twist over it, but honestly I’ve not been very successful – it’s definitely bugging me. Basically, I learned the other day that some people nominally close to me who should, theoretically at least, be supportive of me got onto a jag over the holidays about how weird I am for writing to you every day and how unreasonable it is that I get so angry with you. Apparently they also think I’m taking it all personally, which they don’t approve of and simply doesn’t make sense to them.

First, I’ll grant them that writing to you every day for years on end is very weird and that because I’m actually doing it, this makes me weird. I get that. Some days I would also agree that it’s a weird thing with some negative shading (as in “bad weird”), but generally I still find it cathartic to write to you and since it’s firmly built into my routines, it’s not that much of a burden most days. But the fact remains that it’s a weird thing to do. So ok, they have a point there.

As far as the anger issues they raised, it’s beyond me how anyone could not be furious with you 24/7 (along with the legion of GOP props and moneyed interests keeping you afloat) – you are that horrible for us now and you are even worse for the future of democracy, civilization, and the planet. In short, you are a monster. Part of the reason I started writing to you in the first place is that I knew I was angry, in fact I knew I was exceedingly angry, and I knew that if I didn’t attempt to channel it in some way that might be productive, it would likely slip out sideways and be destructive.

I also knew that I was scared and as I’ve said before, fear and anger are like conjoined twins – if I’m scared, I’m much more pone to anger and that anger is much more likely to be poorly controlled. You know this too, don’t you? This is why you are so creative in your deployment of fear mongering tactics. Well, lots of times the best way to counter fear and irrational responses to it is to name what’s going on – to get it out in front of us so that we can see it, understand it, and hopefully find constructive ways of dealing with it. For me, now, the best way to do that is by writing to you as you continue to be my most difficult person, the one who engenders the most fear and anger, the one I need to keep out in front of me so that I don’t let my strong feelings get the best of me.

The third gripe the fussers had about my letter writing campaign is that I am taking what you are doing, what is going on, too personally. You know, I don’t get this one either. Even if one is not gay or a person of color or disabled or a child or elderly or female or otherwise part of a group of individuals who has historically and is still getting the short end of the stick, one still needs to breathe reasonably clean air and one still wants reasonably fair elections – right? So how in the world is it logical to divorce oneself from the shit you are perpetrating on us all and the world?

I know people use many an elaborate defense system to buffer themselves from seeing that shitty stuff has implications for them, or at the very least for people they purportedly care about – I get that. I also get that indulging in those defenses all the time is part of what got us into this horrible situation in the first place.

I checked and found out that ostriches really don’t bury their heads in the ground, they burrow their nests into the ground and are tending to their babies down there. I didn’t really think they buried their heads in the sand since they’d suffocate or at the very least get a bunch of sand up their beaks. I’m not, however, as optimistic about people – we really do bury our heads in proverbial sands, which we do get up our noses, in our mouths, eyes, and ears such that what we get through our senses is distorted and what we then say is shaped by those distortions. I think most all of us are subject to such distortions, but I think it is our duties as human beings to work hard to see and hear as clearly as we can so we aren’t adding to the dangerous cacophony. In other words, the political is personal and in my opinion, we should see this clearly, dispassionately, and we should not duck its implications.

May we be safe to feel our feelings.
May we be willing to engage with what needs engaging.
May we keep a healthy bead on reality and its implications.
May we make peace with passion even when it makes us squirmy.

Tracy Simpson

2 thoughts on “The political is personal

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