I don’t have anything profound to say about the tragic and senseless events that the Jewish community and my city suffered at the hands of yet another hateful domestic terrorist. It’s not shocking, because nothing is shocking anymore: schools, concerts, churches, movie theaters – we are running out of places where we are safe.
And then it happened in my own city. In a beautiful neighborhood called Squirrel Hill that Mr. Rogers literally called his own. Where Jack takes a young Kate to an Alanis Morrisette signing at Jerry’s Records on This Is Us (except that wasn’t the real Jerry’s Records they showed BUT STILL).
It’s where I sometimes meet friends for breakfast and get delicious bread at the Asian bakeries, try to guess who lives in the big fairy tale-esque houses, and pass by Tree of Life synagogue on the way to one of our favorite cemeteries.
And now it’s on the map because some evil madman slaughtered a group of people for what? Being different? Believing in something different? Our whole city was attacked.
Fuck, it is still so raw. Today on the trolley, a small group of strangers opened up to each other about it and it felt bonding just being there to witness people coming together, like last week when a small clump of us were waiting to cross the street and witnessed some young guy, in a stupid hurry, run into oncoming traffic and cut in front of a turning bus so tightly that he had to BEND HIS BODY to keep from getting clipped by the bus. The bus driver laid on the horn and we all stood there for a split second, holding our breath, hoping that we didn’t just witness a Faces of Death scene, but then we all exhaled and laughed when we realized he made it. And I mean laughed, because we had so much anxiety to release. And it was really cool, like we were a club now, after sharing this near-trauma together.
That’s how it felt on the trolley too. That human connection that I usually shirk, but today I needed it.
Pittsburgh is a beautiful melting pot. Yeah, I complain about living here, but for being a little-big city, it’s got the best mix of people, you guys. And there is no room for racism, bigotry, prejudice, homophobia, misogyny – not in this city.
I’m heartbroken, angry, panicked, and frustrated. We have got to be better. We have got to beat the racists, misogynists, xenophobes, bullies – all of them. We have to put anti-Semitism back in the past. We have to get rid of this country’s volatile figurehead and all of the hateful rhetoric and smug, blatant White Nationalism that comes with him. He is stoking a very dangerous fire. Evil people feel way too invincible in this current social and political climate, but this is not “their time.” It will never be “their time.”
I’m going to vote my fucking face off next week and I hope you will too. Shit won’t change over night but at least it’s a start.