Monday, November 5, 2012

'Twas the Night Before the Election

It's the last night before the Presidential Election and things in New York are unusual. Governor Cuomo signed a bill that allows residents to vote at any of their respective borough's polling stations in wake of Sandy's destruction. This morning, the New York Times revealed 34,000 local students have no school to attend come Wednesday. Temperatures are dipping close to the freezing point and there are still large areas without power and heat. To say times are tough is an understatement.

It's at this point and on this blog where, unlike Facebook, all readers come by will, that I will stake my ground. President Obama inherited a mess of challenges and has made headway on some of the most important issues that we as a nation face in this trying period of human history. Healthcare, Welfare, Medicaid, and Global Warming are issues that cannot be ignored. To believe, for instance, that we're having any sort of conversation regarding birth control and the right for a woman to have access to crucial cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood in 2012 is appalling for both women and men.

The reality is, most of us Americans will bat an eye at a Prada dress that costs $3,000 or an annual checkup with a $700 bill attached. The majority of independent young people (meaning those who support themselves from 18 years old on--without help from mom, grandma, or pops to cover college costs, or that first (and subsequent) broker's fee) can't afford to live in a country that won't move forward. Do you know how expensive it is in New York City? What percentage of our incomes many of us must spend in order to live in halfway safe neighborhoods? Do you know how many fabulous twenty-somethings in New York still wave daddy's credit card around?

I didn't have it rough growing up, but I also realized at 18 when I moved to a small Southern town how different life can be for a large population of people that look nothing like me, think nothing like me, and click their R's with a foreign clack. These were my neighbors, my friends, the patrons who visited downtown vintage shops and bay side restaurants. Within the potpourri were plenty of young people who shared my ideals and, like me, graduated from college a few months shy of America's great economy tanking. The Titanic sunk for a second time.

We need to be concerned now more than ever about education, infrastructure, and healthcare. Our insatiable consumption of oil must end. Practices like fracking and drilling will only exacerbate an already fragile global climate system. Sandy was a terrifying and eye-opening experience. We're fucked if things don't change; if we don't embrace the fact that we CANNOT go back to 1999, where gas was $1.00 and reality TV was relatively harmless we're actively poisoning our future. That includes our wetlands, our children's minds, and the strides we've made towards racial, sexual, and gender equality. I'm appalled at the barely veiled racism seen in the annals of this campaign trail. America, we're better than this.

This election is not about restoring comfort. It's about what we have to do to survive.


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