For the last decade, our family has resided in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. We lived a couple of blocks from where the Obama’s own a home, right across the street from our synagogue. Hilary Clinton outpolled Donald Trump by a 71% - 25% margin in this area.
At the end of June we upped and moved to a suburb north of Dallas, Texas. Is political whiplash a term?
For the first time in my adult life, I reside in a district with a Republican congressman. When I walk in to the home owner’s association office, Fox News is always on the tube and there are more than a few Make America Great Again caps. One father at our daughter’s school’s kindergarten dance wore a second amendment t-shirt. (While I found this offensive, being just days after Dayton, El Paso and Gilroy, I chose not to confront)
Despite all of this, it is not as solid or deep red as one would be led to believe. We have also seen more than our share of Beto stickers, left over from the senate race.
According to a friend who runs the Dallas area chamber of commerce, over 150 companies have relocated their headquarters to the area. This movement isn’t just because Texas has a favorable tax structure, the area cities have put allocated funding to education and infrastructure. And this is bringing people from across the political spectrum to the area. And the changing demographics are not just due to immigration, but also domestic migration.
Judging by the parents of my daughter’s classmates, half are from the Chicago area. Met one from the Philadelphia area, and more than a few are from California. Some may have voted Trump in 2016, but there is no guarantee they are going that way next time.
Conversations with other folks and families have been wide ranging, about any number of topics other than politics. People seem to want to avoid the third rail.
While we miss some of the things that made Hyde Park special, our locally owned bookstore, the park that, literally, every child played in so you didn’t really need to schedule play dates, it has been good to get out and see be immersed in a completely different region. Getting to know our neighbors has lessened the impact and healed our political whiplash.
So often we make assumptions about other parts of the country without experience. But after actually taking part in conversations and immersing myself in my new community, I have learned that we are more similar than we think. Every area has extremes – liberal and conservative – but every corner of the country also has citizens who are striving to vote in the best interest of their families and the people of our nation.