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24 Hours in Ohio, Post-Trump

“A man leaned out to yell that he wanted to grab my student by the pussy”

A woman holds her voting sticker in her hand after casting her ballot on November 8, 2016 in Leetonia, Ohio. Photo by Ty Wright via Getty Images

“Mama, you know octopus can grow a new tentacle if they lose one.” Those were my son’s first words upon waking. His eyes popped open like a doll and he relayed that fact as if in the middle of a conversation. What followed was the usual morning rush: Get up, get dressed, make oatmeal, pack lunch, drive him to preschool, remind him to be nice, wish him a good day, and drive home.


Most of my weekdays here in Wooster are generally the same: I clean up the breakfast dishes, pick up stray toys, and then write for a few hours—starkly different from our chaotic life in Brooklyn, where we moved from four months ago. For three years, my partner and I juggled parenting and adjunct teaching jobs, and we barely made our bills each month. Here in Ohio, we can afford to rent a small house, my son attends preschool, we live on one salary, and I have time to write. The town is full of playgrounds and parks, the supermarkets sell organic produce and milk from local farms, and people are friendly. It has quickly become home.

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]In many ways, I have felt freer and safer here than I ever did in Brooklyn. Yet 65 percent of my county voted for Trump. [/quote]

Yesterday, after it became clear that Trump had won, I just put my head on the table and wept. No cleaning, no writing. I couldn’t tell my son about the results. I hadn’t really absorbed the news myself. But as orange leaves drifted down from the ancient oak outside, I was overcome with the loss of a future, and imagined dark images of detention camps, back alley abortion clinics, and rising seas. I wept for my son’s future, for all our futures.

I heard rustling and banging outside. When I looked out the window, I saw my Clinton sign was missing from the tiny patch of lawn in front of my house. I walked outside to investigate. It hadn’t been crumpled up or thrown in the gutter; the sign was just gone. The other two Clinton signs on my street had also vanished, though the lawn sign for a Republican candidate still stood on my neighbor’s lawn. I sat on the edge of the red brick street, in my slippers, and suddenly felt very alone and scared.

In many ways, I have felt freer and safer here than I ever did in Brooklyn. Yet 65 percent of my county voted for Trump. How could I square my comfort with the knowledge that so many of my neighbors chose a leader whose campaign was characterized by bigotry and misogyny, emboldening that sentiment in his followers. Now, even the landscape looked like betrayal. Every sound was a threat: a window battering against the pane, a neighbor raking leaves, a crow cawing. Was I safe here? Was my son safe?

Then I remembered that strange fact about the octopus my son blurted out this morning. Did they really regenerate tentacles? Parenting a three-year-old required becoming an expert on animals. I went inside to investigate online. Yes, they can regrow a lost limb, one that is as good as new, complete with nerves, suckers, and color-changing cells. I imagined an octopus with seven tentacles and started crying again.

I gathered my composure and rushed off to campus for a meeting. I wore rain boots, though it wasn’t raining. Students moved ghostlike through the halls, quiet and reserved, stunned. One student said she had been walking down Main Street that morning when a car slowed down and man leaned out to yell that he wanted to “grab her by the pussy,” using the infamous words of our President-Elect. Another said she had heard that phrase frequently in her shifts at the local bar. A student who works at my son’s school said she’d overheard small children talking about the election, parroting rhetoric from both sides: some saying doctors would be ripping out live babies, others saying they would soon be sent out of the country.

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]We’d told our son for years that bad guys never win; now we had to tell him otherwise.[/quote]

Then the usual evening rituals: We picked my son up from school, made dinner, ate, and played on the rug together. We’d told our son for years that bad guys never win; now we had to tell him otherwise. We promised we would keep him safe, though of course that isn’t really something you can promise. We told him that when he turned 7, there would be another election and we would choose someone good. I hope that we do.

At least all is not as bad as it seems: After my son was asleep, a friend wrote me to say it was her own parents, representing the Democratic party, who’d picked up all the Clinton lawn signs around town. She said it was a regular practice to collect them the day after an election. The signs are taken back to the office, dismantled, and the metal stakes are saved for reuse in the next election. I feel strangely hopeful about that big box of metal poles in storage waiting silently for the next two years. We will wrap new names and new hopes around those poles and press them into our lawns—like an octopus putting herself back together again.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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Politics