May we refuse to be broken

President* Trump,

I know you don’t care at all, but there are lots of us out here who’re struggling if not out right suffering. This morning a friend texted and said that today’s her husband’s birthday but between ACB getting to join the newly cemented Supremacist (this is me) Court, the election, COVID, and everything else, she couldn’t lift her head off her desk. She said she feels awful that she didn’t do anything for him for his birthday, but she just couldn’t bring it.

Then this afternoon another friend told me how worried she is about the young queer people she knows. She said some of them are showing up to things still in their pajamas, their hair a mess, and looking like an emotional Mack Truck rolled over them. Also, I know I’ve told you before how worried my brother is that the Proud Boys (or whichever flavor of haters is on the loose on a given night) will target him for being Black. He talks about his fear of being surrounded by them and dragged from his car as though he’s actually seeing it happen. And an older Black male friend of ours who lives in Texas doesn’t think my brother is at all off base to be so worried.

I don’t mean to make light of any of this – it’s all beyond awful – but I just had the following memory pop into my head: Laura and I were flying from Albuquerque to Amsterdam for a conference in 1994 and we’d finally fallen asleep only to be woken up by a furious flight attendant shaking a disconnected smoke detector and whisper-yelling in heavily German-accented English at the man in the seat in front of us “Did you do dis? Did you do dis?” He smelled to high heaven of cigarette smoke so it was painfully obvious that he’d done it, but he kept trying to pretend he didn’t speak English. She wasn’t buying it at all, her fury mounting as he continued to trot out a series of lame-ass attempts to duck responsibility. I even think she resorted to treating him like a child, telling him “No, you look at me. I am talking to you. Yes you” as he seriously, literally twisted in his seat. He never did cop to it but I can still picture her seething at him “Yes, you did do dis and you will pay for it” before turning on her heel and stomping off.

So, as you’ve no doubt predicted by now, I’d dearly love to point to the multitude of harms you’ve inflicted on us all and yell “Yes, you did do this and you will pay for it.”

I don’t think it would do any real good beyond being extremely cathartic, but if I could get you to squirm even half as much as airplane smoker dude squirmed I’d count it a success. I may be wrong, you may be incapable of being shamed, but I’d love to give it a shot. Man, oh man would it feel good to let you have it (verbally) in person, to be able to tell you in no uncertain terms to your face just what a low life you are.

In lieu of getting to do that in this lifetime, here’s a blessing for the rest of us.

May we be safe to exist in this world as our beautiful selves.
May we be willing to hold our heads up and refuse to be broken by bigotry.
May we dig deep for the grit we’re going to need as we build back stronger.
May we accept that we’ll likely never have the satisfaction of making you all pay.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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