Every single day

President* Trump,

Do you think your installers had any earthly idea how much damage you were capable of inflicting on the US and on the world? Did they dispassionately study you, your hench-people, your business practices, your success/fail rate and conclude – “Damn, here’s our guy, if we just let him do his thing, he’ll run the US aground in no time!” Or have you managed to exceed even their wildest dreams? Seriously, every single day there’re 10+ new horrors shoved in our faces piled on top of 20+ sly, scary bits of evidence that things are unraveling as fast as the permafrost is melting.

I just checked the COVID numbers and we’re almost certainly going to exceed 160,000 deaths today (we did). In addition, we currently have over 37% of the world’s active cases when we’re only 4% of the world’s total population (and we currently account for 23% of the world’s COVID-related deaths).

The COVID numbers are in the daily horror column even if they’re no longer “new” – they’re terribly obvious, in our faces, indicators of the damage you and yours have done, are doing, and will continue doing for the foreseeable future. Nestled in the sly, scary column is the news coming out of Georgia about high school students being dramatically punished for sharing pictures of their massed, largely unmasked peers on social media in real time. The WP article I read about it last night was all focused on the technicalities of whether the students had broken the school’s rules about use of social media during the school day and quite stunningly not about the f*cking scary deal of hundreds of students packed into hallways together, mostly unmasked. Additionally, the superintendent of the school district was quoted as saying that enforcing mask-use is a non-starter both because it’s “personal preference” and because it’s just too hard to police a bunch of teenagers. There was nothing in the article questioning this or pointing out that surely this school district has strict rules about the kind of attire students can and cannot wear and they surely find ways to enforce those rules.

Relatedly, there was the other sly, scary story of the five young people who’re facing federal charges for Tweeting (or re-Tweeting) a picture of a NJ police officer who had covered his badge number and was wearing a mask at a protest where he was chummy with a white supremacist counter-protestor. The person who sent the original Tweet asked if anyone knew who the officer was and four of his friends re-Tweeted it and now they all face felony charges of “endangering an officer.”

So ok, maybe these aren’t exactly sly tactics – the principal at the GA HS did announce on the overhead intercom system that anyone posting to social media with concerns about social distancing and masking would face consequences. And the NJ police department isn’t being especially subtle in their messaging that anyone who seeks to hold officers accountable is going to have hell to pay. But these are Big Brother state control actions that are making examples of those who’re pushing back and pointing out what the hell is going on.

The consequences being visited on these young people (I don’t know their races, but my sense is they’re White since their races weren’t identified and this is how these deals usually go) to make examples of them are tame compared to those visited on young Black people. In honor of one such young Black person, I suggest you read the beautiful poem by Eve L. Ewing called “I saw Emmett Till at the grocery store today”; Ewing imagines an elderly Till carefully picking out plums and keeping them from bruising by holding them in the crook of his elbow and then exchanging tired, sweet hellos with her at the checkout stand (https://poets.org/poem/i-saw-emmett-till-week-grocery-store?mc_cid=2fbd7e188a&mc_eid=03fcdf422b). If you had a soul, it would make you cry.

May we be safe to tell the truth.
May we be willing to hang in and keep looking.
May we be strong and hold our heads high.
May we never accept our politicians’ nefarious deeds as par for the course.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

p.s., yes, I know the suspension order was lifted on one of the GA HS students; it doesn’t mitigate my concerns in the least.

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