Spending 4 days in New York City where my white skin, my mid-western accent was not common place did little to sway me to positions of Mr. Trump or any other GOP candidates. The true diversity of cultures as we toured the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island ferry was not lost on me. Listening to so many different languages whispered as we slowly walked to exhibit after exhibit through the 9/11 memorial showed me the respect others have for our country, even if right now that respect is not reciprocated. I kept remembering how this great city led the nation in embracing our neighbors after the tragedy that hit us all on that day, how we rejected fear. Yet Mr. Trump calls for a nation of haters and cowards, forgetting our better selves. This is not who we are, who I met in NYC. As Brussels was attacked at the beginning of our trip, security was tightened but generosity and hospitality remained. I watched as strangers tapped distracted tourists, telling them they dropped a boarding pass, their metro cared had fallen, their credit card was sticking out of their pocket. I am ashamed to say that I experience more racism and judgment here in the Midwest than I did in this large city,which used to be known for rudeness and a certain lack of concern for strangers.
As I looked at the flags fluttering in the wind, as the skaters took advantage of the last days of the Rockefeller rink, I couldn’t help but consider that Trump Plaza was only blocks away. This man wants to put a wall up and yet millions of people come to this city daily to experience the culture, eat the food, celebrate Lady Liberty. How in God’s name can this man be succeeding in his message? Just as when I went to Epcot and spoke with folks from Europe who were clearly appalled, I don’t have the answer. I just know I don’t ever want to visit a museum showing flags that used to fly with such pride.