Am I Better Off Now?

Tracy Cross
7 min readJul 16, 2021


Whenever election time comes around, I always ask if I am better off now than I was before the election. Usually, the answer is a resounding no.

Why do I do this? I live in Washington, DC. For several years, I’ve been trying to buy a house, but I am absolutely convinced that these mayors just don’t get it. The current one is Mayor Bowser. She seems to think that a single mother with one child makes about $95,000 (or up to that) and that should qualify them to buy a decent house. This was an actual thing! If I made $95,000 a year, I would have purchased a house awhile ago.

It’s vexing, to say the least.

Let’s talk about crime.

Since Mayor Bowser has been in office, crime has not been particularly great. Now, it’s downright out of hand. Everyday, I’m reading about someone getting robbed by a 14 year old, or shot by a 14 year old. Why are these children out here doing this? As a mother, the question I ask myself is “Where are the jobs?” Now, I get it, we just came off a pandemic and whatnot, but these kids should not be out here like this. I mean, every damned day. Now that my job is going to stay open later, I am actually living in fear of walking home, like I used to. I have to carry some type of protection and not be afraid to beat the living shit out of someone that approaches me on the street. Granted, I don’t get approached that often-could be how I walk or whatever, but it’s nerve wrenching.

Where I live, most of the guys in the hood know me or see me walking around with my kid. I greet each and every person that I see because you never know. Like I told my neighbor, “That person that you greet may be the one saving your ass when you get one block over and get robbed. Be kind to everyone.” I walk with my head up, no headphones on, both of my hands free, my phone in my pocket and look like I know where I’m going. Why? Because if you walk around, typing messages or reading something on an iPad, well, hell, I’d even jump you. It’s a matter of common sense and safety.

Let’s talk about riots and shit. Last year was an entire fiasco here in DC. Half the time, folks didn’t know if business should close or stay open because [insert name of protest] was coming to your block. Mayor Bowser turned the plaza in front of the White House-Black Lives Matter Plaza. She named the street Black Lives Matter Plaza. Wow. I’m so moved. Considering you signed paperwork allowing tear gas to be used on protestors. Folks were just standing around and then they get tear gassed. Outside of that, you didn’t do much of anything. Yeah, you said some big things to Trump, stuck your chest out, but you know, there was not one iota of reassurance in this city. In my hood, it was every man for themselves. Soon enough, white folks that live over here got sick of those Trumpers walking through and destroying and took matters into their own hands. Not to say that we don’t have some Conservative Chads over here…because we do. We actually have more Chads than Karens. I think any Karens would honestly fuck a Chad up. All you need to do is look at the Next Door App and see there was an empowered Chad out there last summer, at the park, talking shit. Next day, what happened? Protest? Led by the Karens. They are as done with all this shit as we are. So, I salute the Karen not Karens over here, but honestly, it’s all tiring.

What’s next on this? Let’s talk about sick leave and COVID leave. You’d think since the Mayor adopted a daughter, she’d understand child care and the need for it. Nope. Not at all. Not only does she not understand it, but she managed to confuse the hell out of everyone that needed it. I needed COVID care because my kid’s school was closed until April. I had to use borrowed leave and now I’m venturing into “Leave Without Pay” Realm. Why? Because the schools don’t have their shit together-don’t, just don’t say anything-and COVID leave has expired. No more Paid Family Leave, no more FMLA. Nothing. So, ah, in terms of child care and such-the Mayor gets an F from me.

These things may seem like small potatoes or bitching from me, but it’s true. When I’m listening and looking for a person to elect, I want to see if they fulfill their promises and if I’m better off than before. Because I do what I need to do to get my hustle on, I am better off because of me. I’m not looking for a handout, but I love DC and I would love to live here, but when an apartment is about $3300 to rent and $500,000 to buy with homeless folks stealing my packages and assaulting me on the street, it kinda makes me wonder what the hell the Mayor is doing.

And the last thing is the homeless problem. I’m not gonna address the police because those guys…um, yeah. I don’t think anyone really gets what “defund the police” really means, but they don’t. The homeless have taken up huge swaths of land near me. They are all up at the mall around the corner, chilling all day. They casually stroll through the neighborhoods day and night, just stealing boxes off people’s porches. This is not to say this hasn’t been happening, but it’s happening more because, well, no one really gives a damn. I mean, I’ve seen videos of people walking up and stealing cushions off porches, stepping into gardens, opening fences and stealing bikes that are chained up. This is some pretty horrible shit. It’s never been this bad before and it’s getting worse. What I’m afraid of is that one of these days, one of those people will be shot for stepping up into someone’s yard, taking what’s not theirs.

But, you want to know the worst thing off? The worse problem of all of it? The kids. These people are bringing their kids out with them and teaching them how to steal boxes off people’s porches. Daily, someone posts a video or a message about how some parent has their kid running up to a porch and stealing packages. Someone had a grocery delivery and a mother and her three kids wiped that shit off that porch in less than five seconds after it was delivered.

Is this the type of DC we deserve to live in? And I ask myself, again, have things gotten better with Mayor Bowser elected?

There is a fraction of truth in this. I’m not saying what, but I’m just saying.

There is a microcosm of truth here.

Here’s a story for you. I worked at the Mt Pleasant Library. Mayor Bowser came for a meeting of some sort, at night. The protesters knew and they were coming for her. It was back when “sanctuary cities” were a thing. We had no Library Police officers, save one and no MPD police officers. These people marched right up and inside the library. I didn’t jump up in the fray and none of my coworkers did-we like living, thank you very much-and Mayor Bowser came out and spoke to them.

Both sides were heard. When the protesters finished their grievances, Mayor Bowser answered them. Then, there was a kind of pause. Like that “Far Side” cartoon where the mace rolls between the mailman and the dog. Nobody knew what to say. Then, the protesters started back up and the security force with Mayor Bowser went into full panic mode. (I was doing my work and went to the lower level to shelve some books.) The problem here was that the workers knew a lot about the Mayor. They knew how she called up daily and complained about the previous Mayor. Oh, they had dirt because a few of them worked for the old Mayor. They didn’t like Lady B. When her security force came down, looking for an escape, there wasn’t much help. It was almost comical because they were going to kick in doors to places without exits. Finally, after watching them run in circles, I showed them the exit and told them I needed to swipe my badge for them to get out.

Did I get a thanks or anything? Nope. I got to watch her run to her SUV, sit inside and call the police. Next thing, all the MPD was at my branch and every Library Police Officer ever to wear a badge was there. We had so much security that night, it was astounding. Sirens in the streets…and all the homeless and borrachos ran away from the building. It felt nice working in a super safe place.

Lady B comes back in, sits with the important, rich folk of the neighborhood. They have a nice, quiet meeting. None of her security spoke to us. They actually wanted to keep as many people away from her as possible. They met, she schmoozed and she left. She looked shook when she came back in for the meeting, by the way. I watched it all and thought, “This chick is in over her head.”

I knew then what I know now, things were not going to get any better. And I also voted for the other guy.

So, when election time comes around-don’t ask who you should vote for, ask yourself if things have improved for you since the last time around-then decide who you should vote for. No doubt, Lady B will be running again and she definitely will not have my vote.



Tracy Cross

Tracy Cross is a writer of horror stories, loves disco and is from Cleveland, Ohio. She wants you to buy her first book, “Rootwork” in November of this year.