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Ryan Dennis

Ryan Dennis is the son of a New York dairy farmer and a literary writer whose early essays were originally published in Progressive Dairyman.

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Farmers elected Donald Trump as the 45th president of the U.S., granting him 75 percent of the votes in the Farm Belt and heavy margins of victory in other rural areas. Those in agriculture are largely responsible for his success in key swing states needed to win the election.

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My Irish housemates, Kieran and Tommy, were sick of me trying to explain American sports to them. In retaliation, they forced me to choose an English Premier League soccer team to follow. I was already prejudiced against a sport that didn’t have cheerleaders and could end in a 0-0 draw, but I played along.

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Ronan puts his hand on my shoulder. “Ryan,” he says. “Do you have the soul inside you?”

Ronan had started his own radio show on the university station and invited me into a recording session.

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“Don’t worry,” I told my girlfriend. “There are a lot of 18-year-olds who live around us. They’ll get eaten first.”

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse is one of my side hobbies. When I drift out of a conversation, usually it is because I’m evaluating the surrounding space and considering how to bolster it against the infected hordes.

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“Hey, man, have you tried climbing?”

I cringed. I was getting a second master’s degree in Iceland, and University Housing had placed me in a dorm.

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It may not be entirely fair to compare Iceland with Australia – two nations of different sizes and circumstances – but it does illustrate how decisions by those behind a desk can have immense impact for those in the barn.

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