A few photos from 23rd Street, just a bit east of where the explosion took place Saturday night.
I had never heard of the Chicks on the Right before, and I’m pretty much the left leaning filthy hippy they rail against, perhaps even the “landbeast” or “moon bat” so charmingly defined in their chicktionary. But hey, I don’t live in an echo chamber and don’t want to, and these are apparently two middle aged women putting themselves and their beliefs out there in the blogosphere. I want to support that, wanted to find out more about them, being another middle aged woman who puts herself and her beliefs out there. Imagine my surprise when I actually read the post I had seen linked in my Facebook feed this morning. Now I’m sure they don’t know or care who Mrs Fringe is, I’m barely a spit bubble compared to the success of their big pink bubblegum blowing blog, but I’m a New Yorker, after all, and if you’ve got questions/thoughts/incorrect assumptions about life in the Big Apple, I’m your gal.
So let this cliched middle aged broad clarify a couple of things for you. I have a passionate love/hate relationship with this city, but when you’re born and raised here, you’re a New Yorker for life, even if you’ve long since moved to Timbuktu. I have never been to Indianapolis (the area these “chicks” appear to be from), so I don’t know what it’s like there. The only tv show I can think of that was set there is One Day at a Time, pretty sure that isn’t an accurate reflection. I, and all eight million of my neighbors, are indeed tough and resilient. What we aren’t is a hive mind. That’s the beauty of New York. Diversity. Is that a dirty word for your blog? Sorry, it’s the one that fits.
Not just diversity in faith, skin color, gender/gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, but diversity in thoughts and beliefs, including political. Yeah, we’re a blue city in a blue state, but there are enough right leaning people here–and even more independent thinkers– that we’ve had a Republican mayor or two.
This isn’t my main issue or yours, not what spurred me to respond. The emergency text blasted out to all NY cell phones, identifying the name of the suspect wanted for the explosion that had taken place in Chelsea a few days earlier. For the record, I’m not a big Twitter user (though I think I will send you gals a tweet so you see this post), I hadn’t seen any of the ones you posted, let alone tweeted about it myself. That said, yeah, receiving that text falls under what I like to call icky-squicky-this-can’t-be-right. Not because I didn’t want the person responsible captured and prosecuted, but because it feels more than a bit Big Brother-ish. I’m a little confused, aren’t conservatives the group that complains about government overreach? I know you disagree, and I’m sorry for being dense, perhaps you can explain it to me. Simply, seeing as I’m a slow-witted New Yorker who doesn’t understand what’s in my best interests.
I was also taken aback by your expanding and clarifying statement, “Not only that, but these delicate snowflakes cried that something like this could lead to the Supreme Evil of racial profiling.” Sorry for causing more eye rolls, but my experience as someone who lives in this great diverse city means that yup, I’m also against racial profiling. Why? Because my neighbors, friends, children’s friends/classmates, family members, are a diverse (oops, there’s that naughty word again) bunch. Getting up and living their lives each day, I imagine much the way you do, and being profiled, stopped, too often falsely accused and arrested just doesn’t seem to represent the land of the free to me. Profiling isn’t “suddenly” bad. Perhaps you weren’t aware of it as an issue until recently. That’s ok, you don’t know what you don’t know. You know the nice part of being older? I’ve learned to stop and think; listen to the other side of issues, take the time and put in the effort to learn the subtleties. America is a big place, encompassing many different people, beliefs, and lifestyles. What works in a small town in Montana wouldn’t make sense in New York–and that’s okay. Damn I hope I don’t melt, being a snowflake and all, it’s hot in the city today.
But what really got my fingers itching to respond? “New Yorkers have traded in their traditional toughness for a safe space of politically correct social justice.” Here’s a bit of New York reality for you, our world has changed. We’ve made trade-offs, some I agree with, some I don’t, but yeah, I’ve changed. I assume you weren’t here in New York on 9/11/01. I was. I haven’t forgotten. I haven’t forgotten the fear of trying to figure out what was going on. I haven’t forgotten running to get my son from school, finding a stream of parents flowing in and out of the school trying to get their children, the hushed panic of whispers about parents who worked in which towers. I haven’t forgotten my gratitude for the incredible calm and order the school staff had going. I haven’t forgotten the horrible, unnatural quiet in the streets. I haven’t forgotten trying to reach people I loved with no answer for hours that felt like decades. I haven’t forgotten watching the towers burn and the smell of smoke and the ash settling over EVERYTHING. I haven’t forgotten the first aid stations that were set up so efficiently that looked like not quite perfect movie sets–where are the extras?– because they were so empty. I haven’t forgotten the thousands of people staggering up Broadway like zombies, covered in layers of white gray ash made up of things we didn’t want to think about. Wondering if we were breathing in people. I haven’t forgotten the many, many people who didn’t get to go home. I haven’t forgotten being trapped on this island of Manhattan, no one other than emergency/official vehicles in or out. I haven’t forgotten the nausea and heart stopping this-will-never-be-the-same first time I saw clusters of armed guards in the subway, on the streets and by the bridges and tunnels. Not something to watch on a tv screen, not theoretical, but my city, my friends, my neighbors. Perhaps you think I should be embarrassed to admit this day changed my life and my city forever? That there is fear that didn’t used to live in my gut? Nope, not embarrassed at all.
Chicks on the Right, you have every right to disagree with my political opinions. You have every right to voice those opinions, vote for the candidates who agree with you, protest the decisions that go against your belief systems and values. You can join the millions of non-New Yorkers who are quick to lay claim to our city but have no clue what it is to live here, live side by side with all kinds of people, no idea how to make peace and have respect for those who live differently. But unless you were sitting next to me on the train yesterday, on my way to pick my daughter up from school, underground when the train stopped, vague announcements about a problem ahead, then listening to the announcement that all service had been suspended and thereby wondering if someone had fallen onto the tracks, or jumped, or if there had been another attack, trying to send a text to the school and your child not to leave the school because you were going to be late and you didn’t know how late, feeling the gratitude and relief when the car doors opened so you could run off the train, up and out of the subway and wait behind 342 other people trying to grab cabs on the same corner, knowing you were still on the wrong side of the UN and the President was here to speak there, enough of a New Yorker to then argue with the cab driver about the best route to take so you could get to your child, establish they and your city are safe, knowing you’ve got to get back on those trains to get home, do it again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, you don’t get to tell me how tough and resilient I and my fellow New Yorkers are not.