Hello, I’m Paul and I am a member of the coastal elite. I’ve been told I live in a bubble.
Now if this really were a 12-step group you’d all greet me in unison and then I would share my tale of woe. But that’s not going to happen.
Instead of expressing regret, I want to give you a tour of my bubble.
When I leave for work and walk down my block I pass by homes where men live with their husbands and women with their wives, because in my bubble, people can love as they choose without fear of persecution and harassment.
When I get to the BART station I don’t expect everything to be in working order. But there is one thing I can count on: the train I board will be filled with people drawn from every continent. The family connections in my bubble extend to the four corners of the Earth.
My commute takes me under the bay and then emerges above ground in West Oakland. Here is the evidence that not everything in my bubble is state of the art and new and shiny. I can see what happens when jobs leave and the government response is inadequate or misguided. In my bubble the plight of the white working class has been the struggle of the black and brown working class for decades.
My commute ends in downtown Oakland, a place where all the challenge and promise of urban America intersect. In my bubble the work continues and it is never finished.
In the evening when I return home, depending on the season, I walk in sunshine or fog, in the wind or in the rain, and this reminds me that my bubble is part of something larger: a fragile green and blue sphere that calls for stewardship, not exploitation.
This bubble is where I live with the people I love and it is where I will take my stand. I am not looking for guidance on how to accept the things I cannot change. Instead, I am vowing to change the things I cannot accept.
With a Perspective, this is Paul Staley.
Paul Staley lives in San Francisco.