Recency bias

President* Trump,

It used to be pretty frequently that I’d chew on something I felt the need to write to you about for several days, trying to figure out how to approach it or how to articulate it effectively. Lately, though, I’m finding I just don’t have the mental capacity or the stomach to think about what to write to you until it’s time to get going on it. It’s not that there’s not more than enough prime shit to choose from – you always make sure there’s a stream of horror pouring out of your maw to slime us with – it’s more that there’s so much. Landing on one thing to focus on even 12 hours before starting the next letter means that two dozen more awful things will intervene and whatever it was that felt so pressing will pale in comparison with all the other crap you’ve piled on in the meantime.

I’m not proud of this. I like to think of myself as disciplined and principled so this experience of feeling pulled to serial outrages like one of those little cartoon flipbooks – flitting onto and off of each base, shitty thing – is unnerving to say the least. This morning the list goes as follows: more coverage of your disrespect for military people and veterans; the mysterious (not) decision to halt the 2020 Census count on 9/30/20 instead of 10/31/20; your trip to Kenosha where you focused on property damage and again disavowed the reality of systemic racism; your repeat of the felonious “advice” that people vote twice – and this is just a quick skim of the slime.

So, at least for today, I’m going to go with the tried and true recency (bias) approach and tell you about the last HP article I read before turning to letter writing. First, though, since this concept might not be familiar to you, I’m including Wikipedia’s explanation of it:

Recency bias is a cognitive bias that favors recent events over historic ones. A memory bias, recency bias gives “greater importance to the most recent event”, such as the final lawyer’s closing argument a jury hears before being dismissed to deliberate.

Actually, I bet at least one of your handlers is well aware of this phenomenon since you and your administration have banked on it working for you for years – ‘hey, just toss another incendiary device into the Twitter-sphere and no one will remember that awful (nutso, malign) thing Trump said five minutes ago.’

Ok, the last HP article I read before turning to the morning’s letter writing is about an interview with Joanne Rogers, Mr. Roger’s widow ( She’s 92 now and she looks as sweet as can be but I think you should probably be glad you aren’t ever going to meet her because you’d be in for an unpleasant time. Basically, she thinks you are a horrible person, that you are mentally ill and unfit, and that she is ready to vote for anyone who can unseat you. She does affirmatively say that she thinks Joe Biden will be a good president because he is kind and will give us the little pats on the back that we need. Clearly we need a lot more than little pats on the back, but some kindness and some well-meaning pats on the back from our POTUS would be a good start. Mrs. Rogers also says that if you win, she will go into mourning.

We don’t want Mrs. Rogers, or any of the rest of us, to have to go into mourning so we have to vote as though our lives literally depend on it.  And actually, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our lives do, literally depend on it.

May we be safe from our POTUS.
May we be willing to vote in record numbers for love and against tyranny.
May we have the strength to heed our elders and our children – they have wisdom for us all.
May we accept that sometimes it all feels overwhelming and that it’s fine to just do the best we can.

Tracy Simpson

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