It would be irresponsible for me not to publicly react to Trump’s comments this past week in reference to Haiti and South Africa. I spend a large part of my time thinking about South Africa, talking about South Africa, and spending our winters in South Africa, not because it is South Africa. Hundreds of kids there were dropped into my life who deserve to have their resiliency rewarded. It is not the country, although my husband Don Roeder and I are moved deeply by the history; not of its beauty which is absolutely amazing; not our love for game drives, even though we do love them. No, my heart is in South Africa because some kids who are exactly like all the kids I have ever known, could use some extra care and live there. I am not in love with any country. I love people wherever they live. Is this not the human experience?
Of course, President Trump’s comments are inexcusable, unforgivable and beyond any decent person’s understanding. How sad that a person with his visibility cannot call on any sense of humanity. How sad that he is so isolated that he cannot see beyond his own little money-centered world. Some may say he lives a privileged life. He does. He is starving… starving from a lack of compassion, under-nurtured emotionally and desperately in need of being fed some life experiences way outside of his comfort zone. My heart aches that Trump never gets the opportunity to explore commonality beyond the measure of one’s wallet. Come down from your tower, President Trump, and find some value in your life through others. Be prepared to be surprised, to be shaken up, to live a little. Find the human you, not in a building with your name on it, or in bed with a woman who’s name you forget the next day. No, listen to the laughter, feel the love and witness the drive to survive in a shack, wherever it is. Soak up the pride of a single mom working two jobs, a dad who breaks his back to feed his family, young adults struggling to find their sexual identity, not just show their power through sexual manipulation, learn from adults who understand that intimacy is more than just a narcissistic physical release. Oh, Mr. Trump, come live a little.
But I am an optimist, I think. I hope we have reached the tipping pint. He has lit a fire in all of us. The gentle ripples of caring are turning into a wave of compassion. This past year is making us stand up and say not only what we care about but how we are going to care for each other — worldwide, each other. We are dropping labels, and not just accepting differences but embracing them. Elders are sharing their wisdom. Boomers are volunteering. Millennials are driving the passion with social media and crowd funding. As humanitarians our blood is boiling and each day our fires are lit and re-lit and re-lit to get out there and care and take care. They say a movement starts with a whisper. Well, people are shouting now throughout the world, despite the president and his cronies.
So here’s something you don’t hear these days and I certainly never expected to say it: Thank you, President Trump. Thank you for unintentionally getting us all worked up to be the change you will never be.
Africa and Haiti may be shit holes to you. To us they are people we know and love.
To learn more about the Indwe Learning Center in Illovo, South Africa, that Susie Weekes and Don Roeder visit and support, click HERE.