I’m planning to open a modern speakeasy. It’s a long-term project, something I want to build slowly, with a lot of attention to detail, over time. I put my first coins away, set my intentions, and now I’m ready for discovery. Discovery is where I do all of my research: finding out what it takes to open and run a bar, figuring out where can I afford to buy, and deciding whom to hire to help me. I also get to ideate on fun stuff like names, concepts for décor, and how I’ll get involved with the community—eep! So many questions. So, today I started with a tour of Kings County Distillery, New York City’s oldest and largest whiskey distillery, the first since prohibition.
Elections feel a lot like the hunger games; each team prepares year-round for a culminating battle and brandishes weapons in the form of political attack ads, lawsuits, mobilizing violent mobs, or using dog-whistles to wake up sleeping giants who massacre people in synagogues. They’re rife with competition, fear, and scandal. If elections reveal a blueprint to genuine freedom and healthy co-existence, it’s lost on me. When we cast our ballots, we are voting for two Americas–where some people are in, and other people are out. Pundits said this election was the most important of our lifetime. I don't know about that, but it upheld that we’re not only on different pages politically, we’re not even in the same library.
Our fears are shaped by the people around us; by what we see, hear, and read; and by our experiences. If I burn my hand on the stove, I’ll be afraid to get close to the stove again. This election season’s political commercials and radio ads using language like “illegal aliens” incites fear of immigrants and refugees. When we see our family members and friends stereotype people because of how they look and where they’re from, that stokes fear too. And sometimes we’re afraid because we’re losing control and things feel unpredictable—a pervasive fear often used to justify why so many white people voted for Donald Trump in 2016.