Go On, Build Your Wall

(an open letter to Donald Trump)

Mr. Trump,

Perhaps you don’t know me, but I know you.

I know you because you are your own empire. I know you because you spent decades building your brand, buying your way through America and Americans. I know you because I have watched the late afternoon New York sun cast the shadow of Trump Tower across Central Park, where grass grows over the razed Irish shanties and the hills bury Seneca Village’s churches and I wonder have you, looking out of your citadel of capital, have ever thought about that?

When you watch the shadow of your ventures click like the hands of a clock across the park, do you think of that history? Of those displaced in the name of polite progress? Do you try to make out the people, moving like ants across Columbus Circle? Do you wonder about them, about who they are?

Because where I come from our porches and windows face the street and we can see our neighbors walk by. We watch them, we wave to them, we know them. We know them because we live piled up on top each other in necessary community, our lives flowing on and off of each other’s front stoops like a tide, exchanging food, child care, garden shovels, stories, trucks and time and boxes for moving. We know each other so we know when our neighbors are tired and we need to take the baby for them; we know when they have to take a second a job and we should let their dog out; we know when someone gets sick; we know when the ladder is too heavy and needs to be lifted by two and we put down what we are doing and we go out to help.

I wonder if you can know people like that from up there. I wonder if you help move ladders. I wonder if you know anything about us.

Because I know you. I know you because I and so many women have lived with you, lived with your insults and your mockery and your gaslighting and we have left you. We have taken the children and we have moved across town and you have lost our love and possibility.

And I — we — know you because so many of us were raised by you. We learned long ago how to hide from your tantrums, how to watch for the headlights of your car in the drive, how to know when you have been drinking. We left at the first job we could find when we turned 18 and we moved into a dingy apartment and we do not call you on the holidays and you learned of our first born’s arrival from a distant family friend.

And we have worked for you. We have been talked over and shot down and demoted and seen money disappear off our checks and we have seen the pleasure in your face when you told us we were fired, and we left, scared of our financial poverty but knowing and claiming our moral wealth.

And we have sat at your table as a child, we have sat in your hard pews, and we have dated you. You were the one who told us there is something deep inside us that was wrong and if we leave no one will want us and we took that chance and we left. We left through that door you warned us about and we found ourselves outside in the sunlight. We were met with open arms and love by others that you had shunned.

Because if we must choose between the doctrine of walls and the wide open plains with their unknown beasts and rough terrain, then we will choose the wilderness every time. Because if we must choose between fear and bravery, we will choose bravery every time. If we must choose between a cage and freedom, between distrust and hope, between yesterday and the future, between some and everyone, between what has been and what will be, we will chose against you every time.

Build your wall and ground the planes. Build your wall out of stone or brick, concrete or metal. Put those cruel barbed teeth on top, swirling like spurious DNA helix, designed to tear flesh and destroy life. Build your monument to hate and fear as high as you can and try to block out the sun.

Because the earth moves, shadows move. Because we know our neighbors and they will lift us up over your wall. We know fishermen who will build boats and sail us around your wall. We know anarchists who will make slingshots and attack your wall. Historians who will shift the dirt under your wall. Farmworkers who will take shovels and dig under your wall. Veterans who will craft grapples and climb your wall. Youth who will shake cans and tag your wall. Teachers who will teach ideas and they will leak through your wall. Ministers, imams, clerics, priests and rabbis who will help us grow wings and we will fly over your wall.

We will swell up like the floodwaters of Katrina and breach your levee, but this time it will be you who is trapped inside. It is the destiny of mortar and the inevitable trajectory of community that walls will fall and you will be standing alone in the rubble.

With sincerity,

Gwen

PS. Write back!

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Mother. Southerner. Storyteller. Bread and Roses. #race #class #poverty #gender #equity #children #egalitarianorganizing #bottomupstorytelling *views my own*

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Gwen Frisbie-Fulton

Gwen Frisbie-Fulton

Mother. Southerner. Storyteller. Bread and Roses. #race #class #poverty #gender #equity #children #egalitarianorganizing #bottomupstorytelling *views my own*

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