Pews, guns, and rainbows

Dear President Trump,

Not exactly the rousing Easter celebrations you were hoping for today, huh? There probably were a few hundred full pews scattered about the country, but fortunately there were hundreds of thousands of pews sitting empty while congregants gathered from their homes via whatever virtual platform their beleaguered clergy were able to make work (or sort of work, as was the case for my church this morning).

As frustrating as it is that some churches opted to meet in person under the circumstances, I mostly find it sad – sad for them, sad for their communities, and sad for our country. These sorts of notions and habits are surely why our covid-19 infection numbers are now completely dwarfing those of every other country on the planet. Our individualistic “you can’t tell me what to do” rebelliousness is apparently just too strong for some people to overcome, and really, this is sad since it’s likely to lead to far more tragedy than is necessary. Plus, many of us are incredibly concrete so until we see hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths in our immediate communities, we think we are safe, we think we’ve beat biology. Turns out it doesn’t work that way though, does it? And you very well know this, don’t you?

It’s Easter so I’m not going to harp on your numerous fatal flaws or dastardly betrayals and instead will tell you what I did today, even if you could care less. I’ll need to contextualize today’s central activity for it to make sense, though, so hang tight for a sec.

The other day Laura remarked that we really should take down the “IMPEACH” and “REMOVE” signs from the upstairs front window and replace them with something more positive. I wasn’t a huge fan of that idea because, as you know, even though the official “REMOVE” ship has sailed, I would give just about anything to see your backside slithering out of the White House. Actually, if there were anything legal that I could do to effect that outcome, I’d do it. But I digress. Sort of. Anyway, I finally came around to the idea that something uplifting and encouraging was better than continuing to broadcast anything about you, so we started tossing around new sign ideas and landed on making a rainbow picture.

So that’s what I did today. Before YouTube church started, I found a piece of creamy colored printing paper that had gotten a little bent so it wasn’t completely up to snuff and rigged up a string and pencil to draw the curved lines. I then traced the same curves onto printer paper, numbered them, and cut them all out so that I could mask the curves since that’s the easiest way to deal with curves when one is potato printing (I think I’ve told you that I use potatoes to print – yes, it’s kindergarten and no, I don’t care what you think). Next, I got the biggest remaining piece of russet potato I had, smoothed it out, and steeled myself to print with straight out of the tube incredibly bright colors, which fortunately was less painful than I anticipated.

I printed through church and then through a St. Mark’s Compline Choir podcast and eventually had a pretty bold 30” wide by 15” high rainbow to show for my efforts. It’s now up in the window instead of the old references to you and it looks good. We did leave the anti-gun poster up. It’s faded and looks a little forlorn, but the contagion of gun violence is such a horror that we can’t let up on it, especially now when so many people are freaked out and arming themselves to the teeth. (Note for the record: gun shops and shooting ranges are not essential businesses and you are a coward and will have still more blood on your hands for not standing up to the NRA and gun industry on this.)

May we be safe from dangerous idiocy.
May we be willing to think communally for a change.
May we balance healthy hopefulness with strong convictions.
May we commit to making life on the other side of this rainbow much, much better for all.

Tracy Simpson

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