For those Americans who put us through this hell, nothing will be forgiven, or forgotten

first_imgBut this is a guy who intentionally turned his back on Americans in the face of a national emergency. A quarter million Americans are dead, and hundreds of thousands more are likely to die, because he prioritized his own reelection prospects over saving American lives. He lied about the danger of COVID-19, over and over, causing other people to lie as well. That’s not forgivable—it’s actually beyond any reasonable capacity to forgive, or forget.And yet 70 million or so Americans supported that, tried to rationalize it, and they went right back and voted for Trump. That’s what I can’t get past. Is there anything, in fact, that this person could have done that would have been a bridge too far for them?And what he’s doing right now is unforgivable as well. There’s nothing unusual about this election, other than the fact that it’s occurring during a pandemic. There has been no “fraud” or any cause for bringing 10 lawsuits to try to stop votes from being counted. It’s simply anti-American behavior. If it weren’t so dangerous, it would actually be embarrassing.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – One thing I noticed about the campaign was the preponderance of the “in-your-face” element of Trumpism. From the flags draped on pickup trucks to the obnoxious, oversized signs in their yards, to the fact that half of the voters in my precinct showed up in some type of Trump garb, whether it was a stupid hat or a T-shirt, it made me realize that these people were making known their aggression toward me. Whereas Joe Biden voters certainly supported their candidate, it was evident that Trump supporters wielded their allegiance like a bludgeon. It was intended to offend, to threaten; not only to hurt others, but to negate their existence.In other words, it was just what you’d expect by taking a magic marker out and scrawling the word “FASCIST” across huge swaths of the country. And like spoiled, full-grown infants, they were proud of themselves, as they basked in their imagined power. But there was another type, too, like the GOP poll observers I worked next to on Tuesday. Buttoned up in Oxford shirts and sweaters, they kept their nature well-disguised. Gay also talks about these types, the doctors, the lawyers, the so-called educated among Trump’s base of support.The ones who want to seem urbane. The ones who want to be invited to all the good parties. They lie to pollsters. They lie to family and friends. And when they fill out their ballots, they finally tell the truth.The truth, as Gay observes, is that what we’re seeing is all about identity politics—just not the kind conservatives would prefer to talk about. As she puts it, “There is no greater identity politics than that of white people trying to build a firewall around what remains of their empire as this country’s demographics continue to shift.”So we continue to have two Americas: one which respects democratic institutions and is willing to work for the betterment of society as a whole; and one willing to dispense with those same institutions for their own gain, by surrendering whatever shred of decency and integrity they have to someone like Donald Trump.And as Gay notes, the past few days have proved they’re still out there. They’re not going anywhere, no matter what words of solace or unity are offered.They are not concerned with the collective, because they believe any success they achieve by virtue of their white privilege is achieved by virtue of merit. They see equity as oppression. They are so terrified, in fact, that as the final votes were counted in Detroit, a group of them swarmed the venue shouting, “Stop the count.” In Arizona, others swarmed a venue shouting, “Count the votes.” The citizens of this version of America only believe in democracy that serves their interests.It will be a relief to have a president who I can comfortably refer to as a “President.” Who actually works for the good of the American people, and who doesn’t spend all his time trying to divide us all with hatred. It will be a relief not to wake up each day to some new horror or angry, monstrous  tweet from an unbalanced sociopath.But I won’t have any more illusions about my fellow citizens. I won’t forget this or forgive them for putting the rest of us through this nightmare. As Gay says, by now, I know exactly who they are. And yet, people are supporting him in this.I guess I’m wondering—and I’ve wondered this a lot over the past four years—what the hell happened to these folks?  Did they learn nothing in high school? Or college, if they went?  Didn’t their parents give them some sense of what it means to be an American citizen?Roxane Gay, writing for The New York Times, is shaking her head at this naive white boy.This is America. This is not an aberration. This is indeed our country and who the proverbial “we” are. The way this election has played out shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve been paying attention or if you understand racism and how systemic it really is. Polling can account for a great many factors, but unless they ask about the extent to which racism motivates voters — and find a way to get honest answers on this topic — they will never be able to account for this.Some Trump voters are proud about their political affiliation. They attend his rallies. They drive around with their cars draped in Trump posters and flags and other paraphernalia. They proudly crow about America and pride and nationalism. They are the subjects of fawning profiles that aim to explain their voting tendencies as the result of “economic anxiety,” as if they are tragically misunderstood. They aren’t. We know exactly who they are.- Advertisement – This was a close election, far closer than it should have been, and there is simply no excuse for that. Yes, suburban women turned against Trump and so did a smaller group of college-educated white men, but by and large, in the face of record-shattering turnout, most of the same people who voted for him in 2016 voted for him again. And that is just sick—there is no other word for it.I can understand people voting for a scumbag like Trump because their 401ks did well over the past four years. I get the fact that most Americans don’t give a damn about anything but themselves; that’s been true forever, and it isn’t news.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Storm spotter training classes start this week in our area

first_imgMASON CITY — National Weather Service storm spotter training sessions start this week in our area. Each class lasts about an hour-and-a half, with the National Weather Service encouraging anybody who has an interest in the weather and providing information to them through the upcoming storm season to attend a class.The free storm spotter classes will take place in several locations over the next month in our area:= Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 PM — Cerro Gordo — Trinity Lutheran Church, Mason City= Thursday March 7 at 6:00 PM — Winnebago/Hancock — 875 State Street in Garner= Thursday March 14 at 6:30 PM — Worth County Emergency Operations Center, 99 9th Street North in Northwood= Tuesday April 9, 6:30 PM — Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Hampton= Thursday April 11, 6:30 PM — Mitchell County Conservation office, Osagelast_img read more

Bolt completes golden hat-trick as Jamaica romps to sprint relay glory

first_imgThe U.S finished second in 37.56 seconds with Canada taking the bronze after Britain were disqualified for a faulty handover.The 26-year-old Bolt has now collected eight gold medals at world championships, equaling the record held by American trio Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix, not to mention the small matter of six Olympic titles.The relay triumph followed individual successes in the 100 and 200 meters in the Russian capital.“I’m proud of myself and I’ll continue to work to dominate for as long as possible,” Bolt said, having previously expressed his intention to carry on until the 2016 Rio Olympics.Victory was never seriously in doubt once he got the baton safely in hand from Ashmeade, while Gatlin and the United States third leg runner Rakieem Salaam had problems.Gatlin strayed out of his lane as he struggled to get full control of their baton and was never able to get on terms with Bolt.Earlier, Jamaica’s women underlined their dominance in the sprint events by winning the 4x100m relay gold, anchored by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who like Bolt was completing a triple.Their quartet recorded a championship record of 41.29 seconds, well clear of France, who crossed the line in second place in 42.73 seconds.Defending champions, the United States, were initially back in the bronze medal position after losing time on the second handover between Alexandria Anderson and English Gardner, but promoted to silver when France were subsequently disqualified for an illegal handover.The British quartet, who were initially fourth, were promoted to the bronze which eluded their men’s team.Fraser-Pryce, like Bolt aged 26, became the first woman to achieve three golds in the 100-200 and the relay.In other final action on the last day of the championships, France’s Teddy Tamgho became the third man to leap over 18m in the triple jump, exceeding the mark by four centimeters to take gold.Germany’s Christina Obergfoll finally took gold at global level in the women’s javelin after five previous silvers, while Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop easily won a tactical men’s 1500m final.Kiprop’s compatriot Eunice Jepkoech Sum was a surprise winner of the women’s 800m.Bolt’s final dash for golden glory brought the eight-day championship to a rousing finale, but while the hosts topped the medal table from the United States there was criticism of the poor attendances in the Luzhniki Stadium.There was further concern when their pole vault gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva made controversial remarks in support of Russia’s new laws, which make “the propagandizing of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” a criminal offense.She later attempted to clarify her comments, but there were renewed calls by gay rights groups for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the next major sports event in Russia. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, second from left, competes in the men’s 200-meter final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze) (CNN) — Usain Bolt rounded off the world championships Sunday by claiming his third gold in Moscow as he anchored Jamaica to victory in the men’s 4x100m relay.The fastest man in the world charged clear of United States rival Justin Gatlin as the Jamaican quartet of Nesta Carter, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nickel Ashmeade and Bolt won in 37.36 seconds. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt celebrates winning the men’s 200-meter final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)last_img read more

In Highlands, 3 Honored for Saving Man’s Life In Bike Race

first_img“Up until about two days from the event I wasn’t even registered. My friend (Ayla) had to convince me to sign up, and I still wasn’t sure I was going to be accepted because I was such a late entry. And then transportation became an issue because I don’t live locally,” Aiello said. “This situation could have turned out much differently if any one of those hurdles had gotten in the way.” For McGraw, “thank you” didn’t capture the emotions that overcame her when her husband, William, awoke in the hospital following a heart-stopping medical emergency he suffered on the side of Route 36 while participating in the annual Bike New York-sanctioned Twin Lights Ride. Hitting Close to Home What Might Have Been “Thank you hardly seems like enough,” she said in the emotional letter, read aloud by Highlands Police Chief Robert Burton at a Jan. 16 government meeting filled with residents, police and fire department personnel and local EMS workers. “It makes me think about my own family and how lucky I am.” Actions Speak Louder Than Words “When you enter this job you accept that you’ll have to be doing things like this. It’s something that can be perceived as extraordinary, but a lot of extraordinary things happen on the job,” Roxby explained.  “Thankfully the guy didn’t need any help, but then I said to (Ayla) that I knew CPR, but I was thankful I didn’t have to use it. And looking back it’s the craziest thing, because there was nothing that could have prepared me for a few hours later when I would end up performing it. But this incident really put me on edge and in that state of mind.” HIGHLANDS – In a heartfelt letter to three good Samaritans who helped save her husband’s life during a cycling event in September, Kathleen McGraw said she struggled to find the words to express gratitude. “I think this is a case of the training and experience taking over. I’ve performed CPR a few times now. In some cases it’s been unsuccessful. And in others, like this, it was successful. I’m just very thankful that the three of us could draw from the experience of working in stressful situations,” said Roxby, referring to Ramirez’s membership with the Roselle Fire Department, and Aiello’s employment history with the Metropolitan Transit Authority and NJ Transit. Saying “thank you” couldn’t possibly sum up the tears of joy she swiped away when her two young daughters, Kathleen and Annie, and teenage son Liam rushed to William’s bedside to share a deep embrace. “I’m very appreciative of the people who saved me, and appreciative of the people these biking events bring together. These are people who enjoy life, who celebrate life and in my case, people who can save a life. Because of them I am still here with my family, and I can’t thank them enough for giving me that gift,” said McGraw, who added that prior to the Twin Lights Ride he had never visited Highlands, and quipped that after missing the easiest leg of the race, a downhill stretch from Route 36 to Huddy Park, he needs to return to for another biking excursion.center_img Burton explained that two nearby riders, Aiello and Ramirez, dismounted their bikes, raced to McGraw and began performing CPR in tandem.  Just three and a half months removed from the incident, McGraw was a man of few words at the Jan. 16 awards ceremony, standing together with his saviors under the same roof for the first time and thankful for the time they’ve given him. “It’s not something you really think about until a night like this, when you see him with his wife and kids. And you start thinking about that letter, and their kids having another Christmas, another birthday, another wedding, and that really makes it hit home,” said Roxby. Roxby said the gravity of his actions, in cooperation with Aiello’s and Ramirez’s, didn’t sink in until the Jan. 16 meeting, when he came face-to-face with the entire McGraw family. Aiello went on to describe an ominous moment during the race when she witnessed a fellow rider get clipped by a passing motorist and how it placed her in an anticipatory mindset.  A motorist who observed the incident reported it to a Highlands Police officer patrolling about a mile away from the scene. The emergency was reported and Roxby was the first officer to respond, treating McGraw with a defibrillator unit until the Highlands First Aid Squad arrived and transported McGraw to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. During the Sept. 30 incident, William McGraw collapsed on the side of the highway approximately a half mile from the finish line located at the borough’s Huddy Park, across the street from Kranky Cycles and the Waterwitch Cafe on Waterwitch Avenue. According to Aiello, the Brooklyn resident has thought a lot about the events of Sept. 30, most prominently about how she almost didn’t attend the biking event, and what her absence might have meant. A return trip will be made simpler for McGraw and his family after Bike New York president Ken Podziba, who attended the meeting, told William he may participate in any future sanctioned event free of charge. “We are looking forward to Christmas, the New Year, and hopefully many more holidays and birthdays and vacations and family movie nights and graduations and weddings. These dreams can exist because of your actions that day. We are forever grateful.” For Kathleen, actions are more impactful than words ever can be, a notion that brought the McGraw family from their Hoboken home to the borough’s community center on a frigid winter evening to honor Alexandra Aiello, Claudio Ramirez and Capt. George Roxby by awarding the heroic trio of first responders with Lifesaving Medals.last_img read more