Touching base

Dear President Biden,

Thank you for the two semi-personalized responses to my letters your people sent recently. Somebody had to dig a bit to get the salutation right since I don’t think I’ve clicked on that field at all in months and months. The especially specific salutation was the main clue that the responses were semi-personalized since they don’t actually have anything to do with what I’ve written to you about lately. They were also about twice as long as the typical, completely canned, response that comes most of the time, so I do feel a bit more “seen” by you all than usual, which is nice.

I’ve been working on some research about “oldest democracies” in response to a Washington Post editorial by Dana Milbank from last week. It’s quite a project and I’m not at a point yet where I feel ready to share what I’m seeing so this is just a quick-ish note to touch base and let you know I’m still here, still watching, and still opinionated.

The other central reason I’ve been quiet is that one of our closest friends died this past week from cancer that started out 15 years ago in her breast but spread to her lungs after a several-year remission. We both got to see her and spend some time with her shortly before she went to the hospital for the last time and it’s really, really good that she isn’t suffering any longer, but her passing leaves a huge hole in a lot of lives. Her death was also two days before the anniversary of our baby boy’s death on the 18th 26 years ago so it’s been a rough patch sort of time.

I see that December 18th is also the anniversary of your first wife and baby daughter’s death. This heavy reality plus the about-face by Manchin on BBB Part 2 probably has you more somber and contemplative than usual too. Plus the re-ignition of COVID and the persistently stubborn unvaccinated among us. Plus the scary reality that getting voting rights and election integrity legislation passed with Manchin in the mix is likely dead on arrival. Plus global warming. Plus dozens of other crappy fire storms that you likely can’t put out.

I’m sorry. It’s a lot.

It’ll be good to have the Winter Solstice behind us after tomorrow and to start adding a few minutes more of daylight each day for the next long while. We could all use a bit of a lift.

Oh, and I will say that the other day in a work meeting someone mentioned how great it is that the White House contact page now has a field for preferred pronouns. They contrasted this with the lack of such a field on the contact page when DLT was in office and noted the hope that it gives them to see it now. It’s not much of a balm given everything else you’re facing, but I figured you might want to know that folks out here do take note of such things and that we’re grateful.

May we all be safe to be ourselves.
May we all create a world where every single one of us is missed when we are gone.
May we all hold strong in the face of opposition and keep pushing for what is right and righteous.
May we all see, and know in our heart of hearts, that we rise together or we fall together.

Tracy Simpson

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