The common good needs us to step up and stay in

Dear President Trump,

There are a lot of inspiring, supportive messengers out there cheering us on, encouraging us to listen to our better angels and look out for ourselves and each other. For example, there’s Fantasy A, who posted signs up and down a street on my walking path this morning that say:

Remember to:
Be Yourself,
Be Inspired,
Be Respectful,
&
Wash Your Hands!!!

There’s a picture of Fantasy A looking straight into the camera and at the bottom he signs off with “Fantasy A ~ Seattle’s Legendary Rapper, the Undisputed King of Hustle, (IG@fantasya3).” I think he should add something like “Caring Human Being Who Senses What People Need.” Right? How cool that he did that and that he included such great, positive, necessary stuff.

Then there’s the house up the block where they’ve written on the sidewalk in both directions “For Today’s Joke, Look at the Window” with an arrow pointing to the house. It was dark so it was hard to make out today’s joke, but I think it was something about how you can always allege that a detective will have an investigation. Maybe I wasn’t seeing it right since as I understand it, it’s really not a very good or funny joke, but what a sweet thing to do right now.

Someone has also repainted the fire hydrant two blocks to the North in shiny gold and even-in-the-dark-eye-popping purple to make a terrific UW Husky statement and there was more sidewalk chalk art than I usually see over an entire summer. People are trying hard to stay busy and to uplift one another in creative ways. It’s so cool.

It’s not ready for prime time yet, but the last couple of weekends I’ve been working on a print that riffs off of that observation I told you about a few weeks ago that LOVE and VOTE share 3 letters. So far it’s looking pretty cool and if it turns out, I’m going to make it into posters ala Fantasy A, which I’ll put up around the city (this was my plan all along, but seeing Fantasy A’s effort is all the more impetus to follow through on the idea).

Now, what about you? If you were to step up and start channeling your inner Barack or Elizabeth or even George W it wouldn’t erase your previous boorish, asshole-ways of leading that have been on display thus far through this crisis, but it might smooth some of the sharper edges. You could try it; you don’t really have all that much to lose.

Relatedly, a couple of the most thoughtful WP editorials this morning reminded us that a healthy liberal democracy centers the common good. In so many words the authors said that a democracy can’t remain (or really, is not) healthy if subgroups vie for resources and ascendance, and that it’s very dangerous if the society’s leader is unable to inspire the people to come together in service of the common good. They were speaking specifically about times of crisis, and that’s reasonable, but you sure as shit can’t expect people to turn on a dime and be about the common good if their individualistic and small group entitlements have been stroked and stoked for years on end as is true here in the US. Plus, the odds of you stepping up and engaging the American people with clear, consistent, compassionate, inspiring, scientifically supported messaging are about a billion to 1.

So, truly – “Houston, we have a problem!”

May we somehow manage to overcome the odds and be safe.
May we be willing to come together (by staying physically apart) for the common good.
May we be and stay healthy and strong.
May we make peace with the necessary sacrifices to our usual liberties.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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