A couple of my friends were discussing Election Day worries last night. Specifically, about the prospect of "poll watchers" hanging around and being douchey. Firstly, yearrrghghgh I do not have enough drugs to deal with this, but secondly, it made me think about demographics.

Dorchester is, as I may have mentioned, heavily not-white. Historically, this has been a very working-class neighborhood -- around the turn of the 20th century, there were a mix of family homes and rooming houses for Irish immigrant workers where we are now -- and this seems to have held true even as the definition of "working class" has precessed from "daily toil in the factory" to "daily toil in a boring pointless office job". I see an international panoply of clothing all the time in my various neighborhood wanderings. One night on my walk home from the T, I passed a guy in a dashiki, a lady in hijaab, and a Buddhist monk in traditional beads and kesa using his bank card to swipe into the ATM kiosk on the corner. The pasty people in the neighborhood look pretty much like us: Young, and either obvious students at UMass, or working in low level 'professional' jobs that still don't pay enough to live closer to downtown Boston, or out in the fancier suburbs in Quincy.

Nobody glares at anybody else, so far's I can tell. Black dude held the door for me down at the T stop last night. Judging from the cars on the street and the state of the houses on our block, everybody cares, and though we are definitely not the 1%, collectively there is enough economic clout to show it.

It is, to be blunt, not a safe place for Trump supporters to hang out. Boston in general isn't (I've seen a finger-countable number on the train over the past couple of years, and they are treated like dangerous whackjobs; other passengers will actually disembark and change cars to avoid them), but Dorchester especially wouldn't be. Like, they could try, but they would be swarmed and outnumbered by a kajillion naturalized and second-generation Vietnamese, Indian, Middle Eastern, African, and other immigrant peoples, plus liberal white kids and a lot of natural-born American citizens of all ages who happen to be black. This is a place where they assume you know that #blacklivesmatter.

Additionally, the polling center is just off Meetinghouse Hill, about two streets over from our local PD. This is effectively the center of town, so not only is it our friendly neighborhood squadroom, it is the main office for the Dorchester unit of the Boston Police Department. They keep the SWAT toys there. It's not unusual to go down into the commercial district in the middle of the day and see a truck from BPD 1st Armored Division parked quietly on the side of the street, because the people in charge of heavy weaponry are having lunch at one of the 972 phở places in Fields Corner.

Massachusetts residents have historically held voting rights in high regard, to the point where several hundred years ago, we shot at the British for withholding them. It's definitely a Thing. You run for municipal dog-catcher out here, you mount an actual campaign. Our section of Dorchester is very boring these days, to the point where when the neighborhood soap opera three doors down from us had a screaming domestic, we got half a dozen cars plus ambulance crew out here to basically watch while like three officers handled it, because they had nothing else to do. If anybody decides to hassle voters tomorrow, I have a feeling that they'll be, if not arrested by some poor uni who is rolling their eyes as hard as they physically can, then probably herded into a circumscribed area and babysat closely until the polls close, or they give up and go home.

[As for more blatant forms of intimidation: Massachusetts believes in the well-regulated part of the Second Amendment. This state is licensed-carry of handguns only, no carry of anything else at all, Assault weapons are banned. You have to undergo a background check to even get the card you need to buy anything, and the issuing police department is allowed to tell you no for pretty much any reason at all, including "wtf, no you are not allowed to stockpile and carry guns in a densely-populated residential area, are you insane?" The only people legally open-carrying on the streets of Boston are law enforcement; while technically you can get a license to do so, in practice, wandering around with a gun on your belt counts as a de facto reason to revoke it, and if you argue, you get arrested. Anyone illegally carrying is come down on like a ton of bricks -- the general city police blotter has a lot of instances of 'stopped a car, found a gun, into jail you go'. Any idiot who tries to stand around conspicuously carrying a redneck security blanket will not be standing there very long.]

My brain goes haywire under prolonged stress, a condition which in this case may also explain a lot about the 2016 election in general. So my plan for Election Tuesday was to go vote (for Clinton, if anyone still wondered, although I would just as happily voted for Sanders if he'd won the nomination) AS HARD AS I PHYSICALLY CAN, check off a couple other things about charter schools and just giving up and legalizing pot, and then come home and drink like Papa Hemingway while I write a novel about superheroes.

If you want to help me pay for my medicinal liquor, you can sign up for my Patreon, which will get you a stream of author's notes and some novel excerpts throughout the month, or send a contribution through PayPal, which for November I have decided will get you a sample chapter sometime around Thanksgiving. You'll probably get more stuff if civil war breaks out on the 9th, as that will make me hide in my house even fucking harder.


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