November 08, 2016

Just voted

I stood in line, waiting to vote, for two hours this morning. There was no wifi or cell service at my polling station so I had a lot of time to think about stuff. I live in bubble-land Manhattan, and all around me this morning were a bunch of rich, well-dressed, woke middle-aged white people talking passionately about equal rights and the state of our nation. When I think about what we read and when we see what's happening in other parts of the country, there are moments like this morning where I'm so thankful for New York City.

I think one of the things this social media-propelled election year has brought us is a renewed consciousness about how far we still have to go as a nation at large. Standing around for hours in a high school gymnasium with hundreds of other type-A New Yorkers in disorganized queues that wrapped their way around the giant room in no discernible order wasn't anyone's idea of a good time, but no one complained—except for one woman who went on a rant at a volunteer about how there's no wifi and she was hot and it was taking too long. Everyone just looked at her blankly—I think because we all know we have it pretty good. I couldn't help but think that if voting in New York City—a city built on the principles of convenient living—was already kind of a pain in the neck, what must it be like to vote as a disenfranchised, geographically isolated person living in a community that irrationally hates you and wants to see you stripped of your rights.

Even though you can't shed privilege, you can make a decision to check it at the door—and this year there seems to be a greater sense of self-awareness, at least in my community and among my friends and colleagues, that we're very lucky, that we can't take any of this for granted, and that we have to pay it forward.

I have a lot of thoughts about what this election "really boils down to" (there are a lot of things), but I won't write them all here because there are too many. But the one thing that keeps coming back to me is a question I have for people casting their vote for Trump this year: Why do you hate us so much? Why do you hate people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, immigrants, refugees, women, anyone who's different from you? Why do you want to strip fellow citizens of basic human rights and civil liberties? While liberals are pro-freedom—essentially saying: go ahead, live life how you want to live it, you do you—why are you demanding the government legislate everyone's lives so they fall in line with your arbitrary interpretations of religion and personal rules for behavior? What's so great about your life anyway?