Even before everything in this country became so polarized, I think NYC was a place you either loved or hated. That dichotomy is certainly not any better as I write this. Well, let me go on record now that despite all its many shortcomings and flaws, I love NYC. I love it it because of its diversity, its generosity toward strangers, its no-nonsense humor, its rawness and that doesn’t even begin to include its hundreds and hundreds of things to do, see and experience. The museums, the libraries, the theaters, the parks are unparalleled offerings. Many of them are free or you can pay what you want.
Can NYC become a better place to live? Of course. I send Mayor Adams many online messages asking his administration to improve pedestrian safety, the housing situation, homelessness, crime and filthy streets. So far, I’m not sure my complaints have had much of an impact.
But then I read about other places in the country (or sometimes in the world) and I’m reminded how grateful I am to live here.
There are days you know are momentous, and today, Election Day 2022, certainly feels like one of them. I’ve been braced for it for some time now. I don’t think it’s been great for my nerves. Some friends offered this advice, namely, if you can’t control something, you shouldn’t be anxious about it. Instead, you should focus on the things you can control.
I’m going to try very hard to do that but, in my head, there’s this tiny voice from my grandchildren asking, “What did you do to make things better, Grammy?” I phone banked. I donated to some candidates. I voted. Could I have done more? Yes. And then there’s the nagging question of why didn’t I. I tell myself that the election outcome will be what it will be. And then my nerves coil up again.
I have a very difficult time reading the newspaper these days with accounts of anti-democracy activity occurring, it seems, everywhere. It’s certainly been happening in other countries. As I write this, Italians are voting, and opinion polls suggest that Italy’s next leader could be a far-right leader with “post-Fascist roots,” according to “The New York Times” today.
Apparently, Europeans who don’t support the far right are worried. Added to that is, of course, the authoritarianism in Russia and China.
Those of us who watched in horror as the US Capitol was attacked on January 6th are also worried with every report about election deniers doing well in the polls, and with the restrictions being placed on voting rights by many state lawmakers. Certainly, the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade by this Supreme Court was a blow to the freedom of our reproductive rights. I have 4 granddaughters and this decision will clearly affect them.
We all would like to think that we’d leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. I’m not optimistic that we shall.
My grandson recently graduated from 3rd grade and I was invited to watch the morning ceremony which the school managed to stream online. I’d just had breakfast and read a number of the articles in the New York Time’s news section. I read articles about Ukraine, and its desperate fight for its independence. There were articles about 2020 election deniers and their success in several states to control voting procedures along with articles about primary wins by Trump supporters. There were articles about the Supreme Court and its impending decisions, including the reversal of Roe v. Wade. One article I just managed to finish before the time of the graduation ceremony was about Poland and the absence of women’s rights to any decisions regarding abortions, which are completely illegal. I didn’t get to read the articles on climate change, which didn’t look encouraging at all.
So when those high voices of the third graders in my grandson’s school sang an optimistic song about “always learning” and “always growing,” my eyes just welled up with tears. At least they were able to reach their graduation, I thought. Unlike all those kids, including the children about the same age in Uvalde, who got shot. It should be enough to bring any grandparent –or parent– to tears as well.