We have to spread some love because if we don’t, who will?

Dear President Trump,

The new sign for this morning is a small one that just fits the rectangular dimensions of a multi-pane front window. It was done in crayon and it says “Spread Love.” A house a few houses before this one sported three small signs that say: “Thank,” “You,” and “Resist,” all of which I like a lot too, but since they aren’t novel, “Spread Love” gets to take center stage. In a minute.

First, though, I want to report that I went by the Trump bumper sticker house this morning so that I could say a proper lovingkindness prayer for those people. Their house preceded the note sightings on this particular route so I had no idea I’d later be encouraged to have gratitude, resist, and spread love later when I made myself stop and go through the LKM prayer while facing their house.

Actually, it probably would have gone better had I seen those other messages beforehand because at first I was completely fixated on their car (where they were not), the backend of which was plastered with right wing stickers. “TRUMP,” “TRUMP/PENCE,” “GOP,” and “Freedom is the NRA” are just the ones that stood out, but there are probably 15 or 20 more of that ilk. The car is screaming at everyone all the time, like an acid bath washing over those who come across it. I know there are also lots of well-plastered left wing cars, and they can certainly have that scream-quality, but usually those cars have a liberal sprinkling of positive, pro-community and pro-planet messaging mixed in rather than the freedom through guns shit that your base favors.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to go there at all. Probably just being ornery. But I did dutifully slog through the entire LKM prayer for them.

So back to “Spread Love.” There are so many ways one could riff off of this message but what I found myself thinking about was PPE; or more specifically, PPE and money. You know the idea that money doesn’t equal love? It was drilled into us as kids and certainly in many regards it’s a good thing not to try and buy people’s love and to not get snagged because your sister’s gift cost $5 more than yours. Check – got that, right?

But when it comes down to it, how we spend our money – what we purchase, from whom, for whom –reflect our values and our values reflect who and what we love. So if we, the big we of the federal government, don’t see fit to purchase and fairly distribute enough PPE (for example) to adequately protect health care providers and allied workers then that obviously says a great deal about our values and who we love. It also suggests that the federal government as it is instantiated now is more about spreading disease and death than it is about spreading love and care. But we knew that already, didn’t we? It didn’t really take covid to tell us that even if it did take covid to shove it firmly into our faces and make us choke on it.

And these stories just keep coming. There seem to be countless variations on this basic theme – there’s no money for ventilators or test kits (let alone contact tracing), the fund for small business loans runs dry in a nanosecond, banks withhold relief checks ‘cuz they can, and on and on. Then there’s who is getting shown the love, but that’s such a disgraceful list and I’m so tired that I can’t go there tonight.

That little tiny crayon sign in that random window in that random house on that random street isn’t likely to be seen by many and it in no way can take on the ugliness that you are orchestrating for your peeps, but it’s still something. It’s like a True North beacon of sorts that will surely redirect at least a few of us and remind us to spread some love because if we don’t, who will?

May we be safe from despair.
May we be willing to keep looking for and heeding positive signs.
May we hang in and stay strong for love.
May we accept reality so that we can more effectively deal with it.

Tracy Simpson

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