Monday, February 6, 2017

Tiny Bubbles (The Yelling)

I think this is my third post with "bubble" in the title. We've gone from art bubbles, to bubble butts, and now socio-political bubbles.

If that's all it takes for you to immediately close your browser window on this post, I don't blame you.

But I digress. I acknowledge readily that I do live in a kind of bubble. This was made most apparent to me by the election. No, not the general election. I'm talking about the primaries, and how Hillary Clinton did extraordinarily well in Florida. All projections, polls, objective analysis, history, and everything I already knew from having lived there for six years pointed to a Clinton victory. But I still know a lot of people who live in Florida, and I'd have been hard pressed to use more than one hand to count the amount openly supporting Clinton in the primary.

Sanders' loss in Florida was not surprising, but the margins were. Ergo, I live in a Bernie-crat bubble. I live in a Bernie bubble geographically, of course. But also socially.

However, this does not preclude my ability to see beyond my bubble. The suggestion that I cannot see beyond my big-ass bubble is becoming insulting. I was born and raised in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I've lived within spitting distance of the Amish and Mennonites (we didn't have as many as Lancaster, Lebanon, or York, but they weren't far away either). I grew up wrestling, and playing football and baseball. My existence was purely suburban. It was not as blue collar as that of the coal crackers, whose signature wrestling maneuver was the "cement mixer" (I think mid-westerners call it a "steam roller"). But I sure as hell was not some kind of coastal elite (or at least not yet? It depends on who you're asking).

Before the start of my senior year of high school, my football team went to training camp at the University of Pennsylvania. Its Ivy League campus is located in Philadelphia. When the camp coaches were giving us a tour of the campus, they explained to us how traffic lights and walk buttons worked, and reminded us that things were "different" in the big city.

Well, yes and no.

My point is that the last two states I've lived in went red in the election. I was not surprised by this. Disappointed? Yes. Especially in Pennsylvania. I've lived in Portland for a little over a year. I haven't magically forgotten what life is like elsewhere. I haven't suddenly stopped hearing conservative voices. The angry voices are everywhere. They are loud, after all.

I advocate for intersectional progressivism. Race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class are all intertwined. Yeah, Democrats need to do more to reach out to working class Americans. But working class Americans need to stop shitting themselves every time an opportunistic blowhard writes off something beneficial as "socialism."

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