One thing I didn’t include in last night’s politics post, that I perhaps should have, is that in considering moving for a chance at higher office, there is a real conflict between:
a) where I could do the most good
b) where I could have a real chance of being elected
c) where I am comfortable raising my children
We moved to Oak Park because it’s a ethnically and economically diverse, queer-friendly neighborhood. (Being a close commute to work was a big bonus, but not the main reason we came here.) I am unwilling to move to an extremely white and conservative area and finish raising my mixed-race children there.
I lived in Salt Lake City for three years — the first year was fine, the second year, the prevalent atmosphere was starting to get to me, and by the third year, I was feeling desperate to get out. And this is despite the fact that I actually genuinely liked my friends and classmates. They were great people — anywhere we moved, I firmly believe, would be full of great, good-hearted people. But pervasive regional attitudes about race / ethnicity / religion / queerness / economics, etc. can really grind you down on a day to day level.
I remember a conversation with a faculty member at Utah about how they had a really hard time holding onto minority faculty — they came, because after grad school, you’re desperately glad to get a job, but after a few years many of them left again. They couldn’t bring themselves to raise kids there, or they just couldn’t take the atmosphere themselves. The University was a bit of a liberal bubble, but not enough of one.
Which leaves me wondering — is it enough to work to make Oak Park a shining city on the hill, an example of what we should all be striving for? Oak Park certainly isn’t yet as equitable as it would like to be. But there is such misery elsewhere…