Monday, January 30, 2017

Complacent No More

We got complacent.

We were naive.

We thought that we had made a difference in all of our years of fighting and educating. We thought we were winning the battle. We knew that we were not yet post-racism, post-feminism, post-narcissism. We knew that we had a great deal of work left to do. But we thought we were making gains.

And then the election happened. In one horrible night, we watched in increasingly drunken and increasingly hysterical panic. What had happened to our country? What was happening to us? What in the hell were we going to do? How could we possibly survive? How could we raise our children in a country that was suddenly exploding with everything we abhorred?

You see, we had not won. We had only buried the hatred and racism and extremism and selfishness down into the bowels of our country. And the eventual eruption of all of that horror was caustic.

We have so much work to do.

We can no longer be complacent.

So, what can we do? What can I do?

I marched in Montreal with the Women's March. It was a start. Millions of people worldwide, on every continent, marched in solidarity. I was there. And I vow to continue to participate and make my voice heard.

The women's march now calls for 10 actions in 100 days. It is a start. I will participate. challenges you to make one phone call a day to your representatives. It is a start. I can make one call a day. I will.

Letters2Trump posts a letter to the President every day. In this letter, the writer calls for action. The writer implores our President to think thoughtfully and critically and to do the right thing. It is a start.
Here is my letter.

We were complacent.

We cannot afford to be complacent any longer.

I will not be complacent.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 5 - The Point of Serving is to Serve

Dear Mr. President:
Photograph by Sherry Main
Because “I believe the children are our future,” as Whitney Houston once said, I asked my 8 year old son what he would tell you if he could write you a letter.
“Mom, we already did that, in school,” he said.
“Oh. Well, what did you say?” I asked.
“I told him to shut up.”
Once I managed to regain my mom composure, I said, “Fair enough, Sam. But, that’s not super helpful. We want to be helpful to Donald Trump, not insulting. So, think about how you could help him. If you had any advice for him what could you give him? If you wanted to tell him anything about his job what would you want to tell him?”

And my Sam thought for a long minute.
Then he said, “I would say to Donald Trump that you wanted to be president. And then you won the election. So now you’re president, just like you wanted. But now that you got what you wanted you need to think about being president. You need to think about helping out the government, and not just helping out yourself.”
And that, sir, is a brilliant summation from a second grader. You see, you may not have realized that being President is not about being popular, and it’s not about winning. The election may have been a game to you, but the job is the most important job in the country.  Being President is a service job. The entire purpose is to serve the country and her people. In order to be President, you must sacrifice your self and your pride and your time and your energy and many of the things you hold dear every damn day in order to meet the needs of all of the people you serve.
Frankly, I’m not sure how much service you have done in your life, sir. Have you served in the military? Have you served in the police force? Have you served in the firefighting industry? Have you served in our schools? Have you served in a soup kitchen? Sir, have you served? What volunteer work have you done to make the world a safer place for others? What have you given of yourself in order to give hope to others? What selfless things have you done so that others can maintain their own autonomy and integrity? And please don’t be confused, sir. I am not asking what charities you have donated to. I am not asking about money. Although giving to charity is noble work, it is not actually serving. Giving is still focused on the giver. Serving is focused on the ones being served.
Sir, you are in the unique position to be able to serve those in need. You can help them be less hungry, less afraid, less bullied, less distraught. You can help them be more successful, more aware of the needs of others, more giving, more hopeful. But the primary point here is that You must help Them. You —> Them. This is not about what they will do for you or even how they will feel about you. Those things are irrelevant. The point of serving is not to measure how it benefits you. The point of serving is to serve.
So, sir, I ask you to consider the words of an 8 year old boy, who is wiser than his years. Because he knows, in his heart, that JFK said it right, so many years ago.
You must “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
And that, sir, is our advice to you.

Letters2Trump (and an 8 year old boy)

(Originally posted at Letters2Trump.)