Breathtaking and heartbreaking

President* Trump,

You probably love, love, love Mr. Mark Thiessen, conservative WP editorialist extraordinaire – he’s really your kind of guy. It probably doesn’t hurt that he seems to love, love, love you. I know it’s not very tolerant or open-minded of me, but I usually don’t even bother reading the titles of his editorials, let alone the editorials themselves since I find his take on you and pretty much all things to be vile and basically odious.

Well, at the end of the day today after work, my brain was tired and it let my eyes wander over the WP where they landed on this Thiessen title:

“Kneeling during the anthem isn’t protesting against racism. It’s protesting against America.”

My first thought was “and?” and my second thought was “of course, yes, – America is racism, there would be no America without racism.” However, to be fair to MT, after saying a quick lovingkindness prayer for him, I made myself read the piece. He’s essentially making the argument that even though there are some racist people in the US, America was built on “the self-evident truth that all men are created equal.” (Nice how he doesn’t even bother to try to update by swapping in “people” for “men,” but he wouldn’t be your kind of guy if he did that.) Anyway, he goes on and says, “We have not always lived up to that ideal. But the American flag represents the ideal, not those who fall short of it.”

How does that work? Seems to me that the people who invoke the flag and nationalistic pride the most are also the most apt to be racist (and sexist) so how is it that the flag represents the ideal? No, the flag represents a country that likes to think of itself as the land of the free and the home of the brave, but really we have a system predicated on the subjugation of certain among us that is run by shadow oligarchs who have us programmed to keep buying stupid shit and to not trust anyone who is black or brown (including those who are black and brown being trained not to trust one another).

Basically, he’s got a bee in his undies about athletes protesting racism by kneeling during the national anthem because to him, it means they are disrespecting the flag, which to him, means they are disrespecting veterans who fought for “our freedom.” Maybe when he says it, he really believes this because when he says “our freedom” he is thinking about people like him and it just doesn’t dawn on him that none of these wars were fought for people of colors’ freedom or women’s freedom or LGBTQ people’s freedom. Who is he kidding?

Even more disturbing, though, than the expected MT odiousness was the following from the WP editorial board in today’s piece about Pastor Leon McCray, Sr.’s arrest when he was the victim of a hate crime. The opening paragraph goes like this:

“THE VENOM of American racism is as toxic in major cities as in rural areas, in the North as in the South. African Americans are murdered and brutalized for no good reason; more often they are subjected to uncountable quotidian humiliations.”

My questions are as follows: 1) what does the second sentence even mean – it doesn’t make logical sense; and far more importantly, 2) is there ever “good reason” to murder and brutalize African American people? As in WTF? The latent racism and inhumanity is breathtaking, and heartbreaking.

May we all agree that it’s not too much to ask that we all be safe.
May we be willing to own up to our desperately messed up system.
May we muster the strength and courage to fundamentally overhaul it.
May everyone alive see the day that black lives are treasured (which means it has to happen now).

Tracy Simpson

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