I'm From Manhattan and I'm Not a Bum






I’m finding it hard to concentrate on blogging this week. I am simply stunned by what is going on in America. I am horrified at it. Every day last week brought a barely conceived idea to fruition, and as impossible as it seems it’s real. I’m 5000 odd miles away and I don’t really know what I can do about it. I am embarrassed I didn’t know how easy it was for one idiot and his cronies to make such an instant mockery of the Constitution. 

I am so proud of everyone who is protesting, f*ck anyone who says your actions aren’t meaningful or important or making waves. You are making the only difference in the world right now, the rest of the world’s leaders and America’s politicians seem mostly to be handling it all with a narcoleptic stupor. God Bless the ACLU and all of the lawyers and judges standing up to tyranny, madness, and racism. If you can afford to please consider donating.

The Muslim Ban is not only preventing people on the list of banned countries from entering America, it is also disrupting everyone who is in transit, like the Glasgow vet  just trying to get home safe, to their loved ones and their lives, people who have never done anything to harm anyone, people who in many instances are healers and scientists. I am so proud of my friends and family and everyone who went to the Women’s Marches last week and the marches this week, and of everyone else standing up for democracy in a sea of chaos.  

Last week I kept wanting to listen to the music of my youth, specifically early Beastie Boys – a white, suburban girl’s first taste of Brooklyn anarchy, for sure, but let’s not forget the Beastie Boys literally opened the door for Public Enemy and got them on their first tour and pointed them out to their record label. New York City at its best is about cultural inclusivity, people coming together, standing up for what is right, even in a city that sometimes excludes them. Something Donald Trump never seemed to learn.

When I first lived in New York in the mid 90’s on the Lower East Side the local Hispanic boys who knew I lived on the block would have my back if anyone ever gave me trouble or catcalled me. The Middle Eastern deli owner used to give me free bagels without a word and against my objections if I didn’t place my usual order, sensing I couldn’t afford to eat. My Jewish employer who ran a decades old family business paid us lowly retail workers well above minimum wage, unlike the larger chains that would slowly take over the city. My German and Austrian immigrant founded acting school was and remains one of the most affordable and respected in the city.

My neighbourhood back then looked dangerous to people who came to visit me from out of town (I am really not implying in any way the LES was at that point, but it was more than a bit rough around the edges back then compared to most post-grad living areas), but I never felt anything other than safe or protected there, by people who had no reason or incentive to include me other than we were all just trying to get by in the same patch of New York.

When midwesterners or southerners or suburbanites or other people (sorry but A LOT of people in Britain live in towns with no cultural diversity whatsoever) have never lived in a place that has racial and cultural integration, their first defense against all of these unruly protests disrupting their nightly news seems to be "Liberal Elites!". I understand it's hard to comprehend a feeling of inclusivity and cultural connection if you've never felt it first hand, but I do not understand how people seem to grow ever more narrow minded, simply because of blind and mostly irrational fear.

I know New York has changed dramatically since those days, but goddamn if it isn’t still leading the rest of the country in standing up for what is right at JFK Terminal 4 this week. Lady Liberty may be down but my inner New Yorker still has faith that she is not out.



16 comments

  1. Damn right, people need to speak out for what they believe in! Great post :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've lived in a very diverse area my whole life and I would never want anything other than that. Why does having compassion for all people have to be a liberal elitist thing? What does that even mean. I've been very surprised, pleasantly, at all the marches and protests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've felt weirder and weirder about not living in a particularly diverse place since all of this has unfolded. Like I am forgetting how important it is. Aberdeen has become much more multicultural population wise in the time I have lived here, but it does not feel at all integrated if I'm honest. And I miss that.

      Delete
  3. I am horrified by what it becoming of America at the moment but I always think it must be much more heart breaking for the people living through it and Americans having to look at their country from a distance <3

    Gisforgingers xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well done you for standing up for whats right. I feel for the people affected by this ban and think that Trump has gone the wrong way about it,this is only going to cause more hate and a bigger divide.#weekendblogshare
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Emma! I get so frustrated by Facebook posts about how awful and un-American protestors are (family ugh), it's like ok the world has officially gone mad. x

      Delete
  5. this is such a bizarre time for our country. I only hope we can hold on for 4 years without the entire establishment burning to the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  6. America is a great place but with a very scary leader of the free world, I have had to completely shut down from watching TV/reading news because I can't handle it, I have to be well in myself and every time I hear something with the word Trump in, it just makes me fearful for the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. also, I came from #weekendblogshare :)

      Delete
    2. I am trying my best to have faith we will get through it, I think we have to tune it out sometimes to stay sane. Thanks for stopping by :-)

      Delete
  7. We miss you here in New York, Steff! You'll be glad to hear that it's still as wonderfully diverse and amazing as when you lived here. I'm a 'transplanted Midwesterner', and I agree with everything you say about our City's mix of backgrounds and cultures. Here's hoping things get better -- or at least not any worse. I found you at #weekendblogshare

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Alice! I am heartened by the way New Yorkers are handling things, glad to meet you! :-) x

      Delete
  8. It sure seems like America is being shaken to its core right now. #weekendblogshare

    ReplyDelete

Recent Posts Widget