A country could hardly be more openly and vigorously divided than the United States has been since the 2016 Presidential election. That includes our home turf, Brooklyn, New York, and The Brooklyn Ink‘s recently adopted sister city, Brooklyn, Ohio, where we last touched base early on election day.
Here in deep blue New York, Saturday Night Live captured the mood in Brooklyn—where nearly 80 per cent voted for Hillary—beautifully in its ‘Bubble’ sketch, a depiction of a place where like-minded liberals (“and absolutely no one else”) could pretend to live in a where the election never happened at all.
Our sister-city, Brooklyn, Ohio, seems to have experienced November 8th and its aftermath quite differently. The town in Ohio is historically democratic, mostly white and blue collar. Hillary still won the vote here, but could only reel in 53.24 per cent. As such, Brooklyn, Ohio seems to depict our torn nation perfectly.
“The Trump yard-signs are still out,” said Donna Hammon, 49, “but the Hillary signs disappeared immediately after the election.” Hammon, a Brooklyn, Ohio resident who worked in the steel industry for 20 years and is now a church secretary in town. “People are happy that Trump won,” she said. Hammon didn’t want to say who she had voted for. “But it wasn’t Clinton,” she added.
“I think people here appreciate, and are grateful for, the change that Trump will bring,” said Wayne Fortlagh, another Brooklyn, Ohio resident.
But Joyce, an employee at Karen’s Hallmark Shop who didn’t want to give her last name, feels differently. “I don’t think people will like the change they’re going to get. We’re all very disappointed to have someone with his reputation in office,” she said. “Everybody that came into the shop the day after the election was in mourning. I didn’t expect this to happen.”
The divide in Brooklyn, Ohio hasn’t led to any protests. “We’re a peaceful community,” said the Chief Secretary of the police department, Jackie Ans. “After the election, we’ve just continued to go about our business.” Ans lives in Brooklyn and has been with the police for 23 years.
In fact, some Brooklyn, Ohio’s residents don’t appreciate the protests elsewhere at all. “The President-elect needs to do something about this rioting, it’s not the Christian way to go out and break windows,” said Fortlagh.
Hammon agreed. “People need to grow up,” she said. “This all reminds me of immature children stomping their feet. I didn’t do that when Obama won. Trump’s election is a positive change.”
When asked what kind of changes she wishes to see, Hammon said she hopes for an end to illegal immigration, an increase in jobs, and changes to the welfare system. Brooklyn, Ohio doesn’t experience a lot of illegal immigration but Hammon said she is concerned about potential overflow from Cleveland.
The welfare system, Hammon believes, should be helping people get back on their feet, not support people who don’t want to work. “Don’t have ten babies and expect me to support them,” she said.
Trump’s campaign seemed to finally listen to, and validate, concerns that Hammon and people like her have had for a while. “You always hear about the very poor and the very rich,” she said. “I’m sick and tired of it.”
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, New York, they’re brewing up the next protest.