New York, New York: A lesson for us all

Visited friends in New York this weekend and was heartened by the sheer number and variety of people walking peacefully elbow to elbow in the city.  We walked by Trump Tower where barricades funneled pedestrians across the street through small gaps. We only saw a couple protesters. One passerby was snapping a pic with a smiling thumbs up, while my husband saluted with a different finger. Mostly people were bustling about their business not paying any heed to the towering headquarters pumping out one alarming cabinet pick after another (read about Trump’s lean toward Russian-friendly Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, and anti- EPA Myron Ebell to lead the EPA)

More hopefully, when we entered the nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there were hundreds of people filing in and out (probably many thousands a day) to be inspired by its massive grace and perhaps to pray. What did I pray for? I prayed that we lift up and spread the tolerance and strength of New Yorkers throughout the country.

My “man-on-the-street” conversations and exchanges with friends in NYC revealed that New Yorkers do not have much love for Trump, having known him longer than the rest of us. Yet somehow they are pulling it out day after day, dealing with the daily grind and their own local politics while enduring daily traffic re-routes due to national security for the president-elect, shouldering the burden of being Trump central. And not to mention commuting past the former Twin Towers every day in the financial district. New Yorkers are resilient.

Meanwhile, I dropped a thank you note to the New York Times building. A grittier location than plush 5th Avenue. Its exoskeleton (did you see the spiderman climb?) reminded me of armor (they say it is eco-friendly from sun) which seemed appropriate considering the NY Times will need to suit up for battle to protect our First Amendment rights to free speech in the face of an authoritarian Trump presidency which has already abused power to chill individuals and the press from exercising their Constitutional right to free speech. And his cabinet pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, may contribute to that problem.

Suggested next steps? Write to your Congressman to block Trumps Cabinet picks. Engage people in political dialogue instead of shunning or shaming. (This Ted Talk on tribalism might help). Triangulate news sources and encourage others to do the same.

 

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