Dear Mr. President,
In this time when mother nature is doing her best to remind us that we'll never play in the same league when it comes to death and destruction, it's good to know that some countries are still doing their part to at least keep our skills sharp. CNN has a video of the efforts. Does the Israeli government miss the irony of sending one team to Haiti, to rebuild houses, and another to the West Bank to demolish them, in the same week? Some may find it tasteless of me to invoke a comparison with the much more destructive earthquake, but I find this kind of wanton destruction far more offensive than anything any one can say. (Also, I do not overlook the commendable efforts of the Israelis in Haiti. Israel's moral failings towards the Palestinians do not make it an inherently immoral nation, or lessen the nobility of those efforts.) But I watch this video, and I feel hopeless.
Then I read your speech from this morning. "Sometimes I get a little frustrated when folks just don't want to see that even if we don't get everything, we're getting something....It's not enough, but it's progress. Progress is possible. Don't give up on voting. Don't give up on advocacy. Don't give up on activism. There are too many needs to be met, too much work to be done." "So, yes, we're passing through a hard winter. It's the hardest in some time. But let's always remember that, as a people, the American people, we've weathered some hard winters before."
I do appreciate the idea that suffering makes us stronger. I do appreciate that in the tragic history of Haiti, or Palestine, or America, the obstacles overcome have prepared people for the obstacles ahead. But today, it seems so exhausting to consider. Doesn't it ever end? If an earthquake this horrifying can't make us stop and consider our own actions, our own unnecessary destructiveness, what can?
"There are times when progress seems too slow. There are times when the words that are spoken about me hurt. There are times when the barbs sting. There are times when it feels like all these efforts are for naught, and change is so painfully slow in coming, and I have to confront my own doubts.
But let me tell you -- during those times it's faith that keeps me calm. "
Yes, sir. It seems too slow. It seems too difficult to believe that things will get better, that we will stop being awful and destructive towards one another. And much of the faith that keeps me calm in the face of this is faith in you. It is Sunday, and it is difficult to think this week will be any better than the last. But it seemed impossible that a man like you could ever become President, so, for now, I will stay calm with the faith that things will, slowly, improve.