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Inauguration Day 1/20/17

The Healing Power of Holding Hands

The following is what I posted on my Facebook feed after the gathering. It was an incredible moment that I will always cherish and never forget.

So many thanks to the organizers, volunteers and strangers who stood on a bridge on a cold, wet January morning.


When I Am Old
by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.

We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

I went to bed late and got up early. Alarm was set for 5:15 but I was already up. Couldn’t sleep. I put the kettle on and ground the coffee like I do everyday except today was not every day. Got to the bridge early — quarter to 8:00. It was cold and wet and windy, bracing but not bitter… a perfect January morning in San Francisco.

We walked out, stopped periodically because it’s so beautiful you just have to.

Almost no one was there as we made our way to the center span. You know it’s the center because that’s where the cables droop to their lowest point and start to rise again. That’s where you want to be. That’s where I wanted to be… needed to be. And so we went.

And the 40-something degrees and the 20-something mile per hour wind and the diagonal rain meant everything… and nothing because on the east coast it was noon and the swearing in and I was silently standing on the center of the Golden Gate Bridge with a heavy heart and tears rolling down my cheeks but proudly with my head held high.

I stood there, one with the city and one with the moment and after searing it into my soul, I closed my eyes and said, “You are with me now, all of you are here with me, right here, right now”.

It doesn’t matter if you thought of me or not, what your politics are or aren’t, whether you agree or completely disagree — at 9:00 AM on January 20, 2017, you were with me standing on the center of the Golden Gate Bridge.

In Washington, a man stood with one hand on a bible and with the other raised, took an oath and made a promise to all of us,

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That moment is no less about all of us — everyone, regardless of age or gender or color or belief or orientation and yes, even citizenship… it doesn’t matter. We are all human and each of us has value and matters equally — period.

Fairness and dignity matter.

Inclusion and diversity of thought matter.

Difference in beliefs, religious and secular matter.

Respect matters.

And we’ll all better off for it.

All of these ideas are contained in the greatest document we have, The Constitution of the United States and it is the very idea of what this country is.

So yes, I stood there with tears streaming down my cheeks in silent protest of what I don’t believe and in celebration of what I do asking, “give me something, anything, so I know it’s going to be ok — I need to know it’s going to be ok” and then the most cliched, ridiculous of metaphors happened as the clouds literally parted and a shaft of light hit the bay. Now, I’m sure that atmospheric conditions were such that that particular cloud was slowly drifting in that particular direction anyway and I’m generally not one for biblical symbolism, however, right then I really needed to see a goddamned ray of light.

And yes, I burst out laughing… and said, out loud, “Well, ok… thank you!”
And I was thankful, really truly, because I needed to be and to feel that some how, some way that it’s going to be ok. On the symbolism thing, I’ll just let you draw your own conclusion.

It wasn’t too long after that the dots of purple started making their way from each end and meeting in the center. Several thousand people all wearing purple — purple ponchos or wrapped in purple table cloths, with purple hats and purple scarves, purple shoes and socks and even some with purple hair. It was a legally-permitted performance art piece called Bridge Together Golden Gate, the goal of which was to form an unbroken human chain that would stretch end to end across the Golden Gate Bridge.

And we did it.

It’s a good thing it wasn’t a protest because it would have been the worst protest ever. There wasn’t any screaming or shouting and people of all walks of life peacefully came together to stand in solitary.

There weren’t any arrests, no violence, nothing was thrown. Only laughter and tears and hugs with strangers swapping stories. I didn’t hear a single cross word. It was polite and respectful and all “pardon me, excuse me” as people passed each other, then at 11:30 we took each other’s hands and formed that unbroken human chain that stretched from San Francisco to Marin and chanted, “Love Trumps Hate, Love Trumps Hate, Love Trumps Hate…”.

It was just a lovely, beautiful moment peacefully shared between several thousand like-minded people and exactly the kind of moment described in and protected as one of our most precious rights by The First Amendment of our Constitution — “for the people peaceably to assemble”.

Purple has symbolized many things over time but it was chosen in this context specifically because it represents anti-bullying and respect, love, understanding, human dignity and all of the positive things for which we stand. While there were lots of men and kids, there were more women, middle-aged and older than anyone and the old ladies seriously “brought it”. It was this and the spirit of the moment that reminded of the poem, “When I Am Old”. Somehow it just seems appropriate.

So if yesterday, at 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time you felt a tiny pull to the west or thought of the Golden Gate Bridge you know why — because you were there.

To carry this effort forward, I have written a letter to Mr. Trump. A similar letter to Mr. Pence will follow. This is my first letter but I encourage all productive comments and suggestions. While I can only speak for myself with certainty, I feel this is in keeping with the spirit of what many feel.

Mr. Donald J. Trump January 20, 2016
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. Trump,

It has come to our attention that you have been sworn in as President of the United States. Given numerous domestic concerns, potential conflicts of interest and very likely external influence from outside nation-states please consider this position temporary, pending and under review.
As such, over the coming weeks, numerous investigations into election irregularities at federal, state, local and precinct levels including but not limited to; gerrymandering, voter fraud, voter intimidation, voting machine tampering, handling of election results, a bewildering number of potential conflicts of interest as well as deeply concerning and credible indications of hacking and external influence will be taken.

As one of your 318+ Million employers, I remind you of the temporary nature of the position and that during this probationary period you are subject to full and thorough investigation and extreme vetting.

To alleviate any lingering ambiguity you may have, know the following:
You are now a public employee. This means you are subject to all rules and regulations that apply to every other public employee.

This means you work for us — all 318,900,000 of us.

You are employed by us. We provide and pay for your salary, accommodations, protection, travel and the most generous benefits package ever imagined for public servant. It is said, that your staff “serve at the pleasure of the President”. Given the nature of our working relationship, you sir, serve at the pleasure of the people.

As such, you answer to us… all of us.

Let us be clear, this arrangement is non-negotiable and while given to a liberal degree of flexibility is not open to interpretation or change without our collective, specific and expressed written permission.
For questions, wisdom and legal parameters, please refer to the employee manual referenced during the oath of office. It begins, “We the people” with “we” including ALL of the people — that means everyone. If, at any time, this concept needs clarification please also refer to the discrimination clause.

For your convenience, a copy of the policy and most basic requirements to assume this office is included below. Understand, these are conditions of employment. Please review and sign. Also for your convenience, an addressed, stamped envelope is included.

I, Donald J. Trump do hereby promise to affirm, support and hold:

That I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That it is the policy of the people of the United States to ensure equality without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, genetic information, or any other characteristic.

That as a Constitutional Republic and representative democracy that transparency, accountability and responsibility are hallmarks of good governance and as such all candidates for President and Vice President shall fully release all tax returns for the 10 most recent consecutive years as well as full disclosure of personal financial information including investments, churches or charitable organizations, ownership interest in or monies or support received from trusts, political action committees real estate ownership.

That prior to taking office, with the exception of emergency appointment, the President and Vice President shall place into independently verifiable blind trust all assets and investments that may cause any conflict of interest.

That as a filing requirement for candidacy for President and/or Vice President that any individual seeking such office release all medical records and undergoes a thorough and complete physical examination by the President’s physician and that the results of such examination become a matter of public record.

That the spouses (current or former) siblings, half-siblings, children (adopted or natural) and all immediate family members of the President and Vice President are prohibited from being offered or accepting any employment for appointed official role directly related to the duties of the office of President or Vice President. This is in addition to any and all conflict of interest and nepotism laws and regulations currently in force for all federal employees.

That representatives of all forms of media shall be given regular and ready access to the President and Vice President and that press conferences of at least 1 hour in uninterrupted duration, shall be held at minimum 4 times per year and fall within the first week of the months of January, April, July and October. This applies to both the current President and Vice President.

That the press and media function as the “The Fourth Estate”, i.e. as an independent entity and collective conduit of information through which government and the governed regularly and effectively communicate and that a truly free, independent and open press is essential to a healthy, functioning and productive democracy.

Donald J. Trump

_____________________________ Date: ____ /______/_______

Post Script:

I leave you with this:

To express the best of who we are and encourage the highest outcome please commit to memory and begin everyday reading the following:

“We the People, of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

If you misplace this letter, copies of The Employee Handbook are readily available.

That, as President, you are a member of The Executive Branch and it is The Legislative Branch that controls the power of the make and change laws and the power of the purse.

As such, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or the abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances.”
in short, remember the following words and take them to heart.

“By, For and Of the People”

And one of the most eloquent phrases ever written, from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address,

“With malice toward none and charity for all”

Remember these words and let them be your guidepost.

Most Sincerely and on behalf of my fellow Americans,

Thomas C Lewis