The Election Is Over. The Nation’s Rifts Remain.

Posted On Nov 20 2020 by

first_imgThat is, when people used to go to church. Before the coronavirus.“I just don’t think it’s ever going to be the same,” Ms. Graham, 65, said. “Because I felt like it was beyond political. It was personal.”On the other side of Pennsylvania, 300 miles to the east in Monroe County, a cellphone salesman named Austin Garone said he was exhausted by the thought of telling an ex-girlfriend which way he had voted. By Sunday morning, a semblance of serenity had returned to Maplewood. Mr. Kurland, a digital designer and a musician whose garage loudspeakers had rocked his neighborhood, mowed the lawn. His wife, Ms. Kumar, a psychologist, walked the family’s two black Labradors.That the president of the United States was tweeting again about a stolen election did not perturb them. They had already danced for joy in their driveway.Contributing reporting were Mike Baker from Seattle; Campbell Robertson from Mercer County, Pa.; Sabrina Tavernise from Monroe County, Pa.; and Will Wright from Louisville, Ky. The sounds of something unleashed — banging pots, honking horns, primal shouts — burst from all directions in Maplewood, N.J. And as another Queen song boomed from the muscular loudspeakers in his garage, Zack Kurland stood at the edge of his driveway, arms raised like Rocky.We are the championsWe are the championsHis wife, Neena Kumar, came running and leapt into his arms. News had just arrived that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had been declared the winner of the presidential election of 2020, and now the two were twirling in an impromptu public dance of triumph.- Advertisement – It has been a hard four years for Ms. Graham, with various political disagreements, including with sons who went from supporting Mr. Obama to supporting Mr. Trump. Especially difficult was the brutal mocking of Democrats — in other words, people like her — on social media by members of her church. Their disdain was so vitriolic that she had trouble attending Sunday services. These small moments reflect the sizable fissure in the collective American psyche that Mr. Biden sought to begin closing in his speech on Saturday night. With a stand of American flags behind him, he said the time had come to restore the nation’s soul; to embrace the first three words of the Constitution: “We the people.”Mr. Biden knows from experience how difficult such simple sentiments are to attain. Another historic moment not long ago — the 2008 election of the country’s first Black president, Barack Obama, with Mr. Biden as his vice president — also prompted dancing in the streets. And it, too, was framed as a moment of healing unification. The feeling did not last. MAPLEWOOD, N.J. — A late-morning stillness had settled over a November Saturday in a cozy blanket of suburban serenity. Suddenly, at stadium-level blast, there came the shattering rock ’n’ roll roar of victory:We will, we will rock youWe will, we will rock you- Advertisement – “Whether certain of my family members will elect to not attend certain events because my husband and I are there — that’s possible,” she said. But Mr. Biden still recognized a need to sound the call, once again, for the nation to come together. “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric,” he said. “To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again.”His words seemed directed as much to the individual American as to the nation at large, as if to recognize the gaping rifts created over the four tumultuous years since Mr. Trump was elected. Friendships have fractured. Workplace relationships have cooled. Family gatherings have been altered by fears that a request to pass the salt might somehow lead to a political brawl.In Trump-solid Mercer County, Pa., a retired special education teacher named Beverly Graham, a Democrat, celebrated the big news on Saturday by pouring a glass of honey whiskey. She drank it in quiet toast, then tackled the chore of cleaning the bathrooms. – Advertisement –center_img Updated Nov. 8, 2020, 8:15 p.m. ET The moment evoked an iconic American image: a World War II sailor spontaneously kissing a woman in a nurse’s uniform in Times Square after the news of victory in Europe. Only instead of V-E Day, this was V-B Day: Victory for Biden. But not everyone was dancing. Triumph in a foreign war unifies a country; triumph in an election has the lurking potential to further divide. And by Sunday morning, some of the celebration and grieving had melted away to expose a difficult question for divided families and a divided nation:Now what?- Advertisement – Mr. Garone ultimately decided that the president had not done so. But he is not volunteering that he voted for Mr. Trump in 2020.“If she asks, I’ll tell her,” he said. “But if not, I won’t mention it.”And in Louisville, Ky., a lawyer named Dustin Meek said that she had spent considerable time trying to navigate the political schism between herself, a self-described progressive Democrat, and her family in her Trump-supporting hometown of Ashland, 190 miles to the east.“We’ll start out the evening saying, OK, no discussion of politics,” Ms. Meek, 54, said. “But inevitably, a joke will be thrown, or something will come up and people will poke, and honestly, I have to say, it has strained the relationships.”“It’s hard,” she added.She and her family members cannot seem to even agree on what constitutes “fact,” she said. They follow right-wing news websites, while she favors more traditional news sources that Mr. Trump has encouraged his followers to distrust.Ms. Meek expressed hope that the less inflammatory rhetoric of a new president would ease things. And she said that she would not allow politics to get in the way of attending future family gatherings. They had broken up in 2016 over politics, mostly, after he voted for Mr. Trump — a choice, he said, she found incomprehensible. This time around, she had been calling, texting and sending long Facebook missives, all to persuade him not to vote for Mr. Trump again.“People just hate Trump so much,” Mr. Garone, 26, said. “It’s an emotional reaction and they lose their sense of reason.”He said he had told his ex-girlfriend, still a close friend, that he would not vote for Mr. Trump if she could demonstrate that he had infringed upon her rights as a bisexual woman. True, a record number of more than 75 million Americans had voted for Mr. Biden, the Democratic challenger, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, the first woman elected as vice president. Also true was that more than 71 million others now had to grapple with the concept that their candidate — Donald J. Trump, the Republican incumbent — would most likely be branded by his own worst epithet: loser. If Trump loyalists were honking their horns at all on Saturday, it was probably to clear rejoicing Biden supporters from the streets. And the only hope being offered by their leader was a vow to challenge in the courts what he asserted, without evidence, was a fraudulent election.By refusing, for now, to publicly accept the election results, Mr. Trump was all but inviting dance-interrupting discord. And some accepted his invitation.Trump supporters held “Stop the Steal” rallies outside state capitols across the country, though their cries of electoral corruption sometimes came as news of Mr. Biden’s declared victory was lighting up smartphones everywhere.In Sacramento, Calif., videos captured confrontations that devolved into physical assaults; some in the scrum wore the black-and-yellow polo shirts often associated with the Proud Boys, a far-right, pro-Trump group not unfamiliar with violence. Another video, from Salem, Ore, showed a man in Proud Boys apparel discharging what appeared to be pepper spray, after which a crowd battered a vehicle with fists and a baseball bat.last_img read more


Syracuse volleyball’s Amber Witherspoon grows in 2nd year since switch from basketball

Posted On Sep 16 2020 by

first_imgOn her first day of volleyball practice, Amber Witherspoon watched her teammates run through a spiking drill. She couldn’t do it. Throughout 2015, she spent time alone working on a personal net that head coach Leonid Yelin set up as she tried to catch up to the rest of the team.“I would just hit all practice for hours … I think he would forget about the time,” Witherspoon said. “I would work with our senior Gosia (Wlaszczuk), just working on hitting with her every day.” Witherspoon, a junior, is entering her second season since switching from Syracuse’s women’s basketball team to volleyball, and is now in a position that feels right for her. The adjustment didn’t come easy and playing time was sparse in her first year, but the arduous training through fall of 2015 has paid off with heavy involvement in the team’s rotation this season.Through four games, Amber Witherspoon has started each contest and leads her team with six solo blocks. It’s been a long time coming, but she has finally found a home for herself on Syracuse’s middle block. Wlaszczuk is gone now, beginning her own coaching career, and so is the entirety of last year’s senior class. In 365 days, Witherspoon went from the new woman in the building to one of just three Syracuse juniors. Her goal is to always go up aggressively to hit the ball, something teammate Jalissa Trotter has said the Orange needs more of — a fearlessness on the court. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I just wanted to spend some time because I knew she needed it,” Wlaszczuk said. “She was a great person to work with because she listens so much and she did everything like she wanted to do it, not like she had to, she wanted to do it and that’s a big change. She listened and followed instructions even though there wasn’t always an improvement from day to day.”The spare playing time was a blessing in disguise for Witherspoon. Rather than being thrown into high-stakes conference games, she was able to pick up her true passion once again. Basketball was where she originally had the chance to get into Syracuse on scholarship and pursue her dream of college athletics, but her desire to play volleyball never dwindled after playing the sport in high school.During the recruiting process, Yelin noticed Witherspoon late and kept tabs on her throughout her freshman year. After averaging less than a point in five minutes per game as a third-string freshman center on the basketball team, “she made her decision to approach us and play volleyball,” Yelin said, “it was very easy for us.” Despite some of her early limitations, the team saw the physical strengths she exhibited. At 6-foot-4, she was immediately among Syracuse’s tallest players, her leaping ability was well known as someone who could dunk in high school and her self-awareness about where her game was at stuck out.“As much as we wanted to be good teammates, and we were, it was hard,” Wlaszczuk said. “… she knew where she was … she knew that she was way behind everyone else and she never used it as an excuse.” Though Witherspoon has less on-court responsibilities than other players as a middle blocker, Yelin said, the transition wasn’t easy.“What she’s achieved in this short time is incredible,” Yelin said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 6, 2016 at 12:30 am Contact Bobby: rpmannin@syr.edulast_img read more


Arizona Coyotes’ Rick Tocchet replaces fired Gerard Gallant as Pacific Division coach at NHL All-Star Game

Posted On Aug 14 2020 by

first_imgMORE: Everything you need to know about the NHL All-Star Skills Competition 2020Over the course of his 18-year NHL career, Tocchet attended four NHL All-Star Games representing the Flyers three times and the Pittsburgh Penguins once. He compiled a 2-2 record for the Wales Conference and netted four goals and three assists. The 1993 NHL All-Star Game in New York saw Tocchet replace teammate Mario Lemieux who was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Darcy Kuemper was set to be the Coyotes lone player representative; however, he has been out since mid-December with a lower-body injury and was replaced on Wednesday by the Calgary Flames netminder David Rittich. Clayton Keller was listed in the “Last Men In” vote but lost out to Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes. Tocchet is the second-ever Coyotes head coach to be behind the bench for an All-Star Game. Jim Schoenfeld served as an assistant coach for the champion Team North America at the 1999 event.The 2020 NHL All-Star Game will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25 in St. Louis with the All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night. With Gerard Gallant’s firing by the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, a spot opened up to coach the Pacific Division at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. On Thursday, the NHL filled the spot with Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet.Tocchet’s Coyotes currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a 26-18-5 record. He will join the Boston Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy (Atlantic), the Washington Capitals Todd Reirden (Metropolitan) and the hometown St. Louis Blues’ Craig Berube (Central). last_img read more