Swimming in a Sea of Red

by Madison August 

In a way, I always fantasized about my senior year of college. The meetings, auditions, agents and connections all come into fruition after years of training. Getting signed by that perfect agency and securing that gateway into the career you’ve always dreamed of. Booking broadway, bing bang boom, set for life… thats how that goes, right? I in no way fantasized about finishing my theatre degree over zoom while teaching preschool in Idaho, interning for a winery in Paso, self-producing a musical, (and most importantly) volunteering for Biden/Harris but 2020 is full of… surprises. After a few months of moping and sitting in my own bullshit, I realized as much as it felt like this was a time of nothing, it could be a time for everything. 

I’ve always been a “political person.” In high school most of my energy was spent on fighting self proclaimed rednecks and working to implement systemic changes in the 99% white, misogynistic, homophobic school. During the 2016 election, I felt helpless. I was 17, unable to vote, attended one Bernie Sanders rally and watched hell unfold. I cried on election day, unfriended Trump supporters and felt that was all I could do. I accepted and conformed to the state of my country and the loss of representation of my beliefs, then went off to college. 

Coming into LIU all of my energy was channeled into my major, I focused on my personal work and self. While I still had passion for politics and change, it didn’t feel like I had time or energy to give to a cause larger than myself. I was an activist but

my actions didn’t follow suit. I was an ally, but aside from facebook posts I wasn’t fighting for or with anyone. I had time for a lot of saying, but not a lot of doing. Now, it’s time to be better. 

Idaho is a red state. Idaho did its part to help elect Trump in 2016. Idaho is well, Idaho. Idaho is also the state where my family’s tribe’s reservation is based. My native tribe that voted for Trump in 2016 due to his (broken) promises to the Nimipuu people and tribes across the country for preservation and governmental support. Moving to Idaho for 5 months (Oh god) was not the plan. After living in California and New York my whole life, being immersed in what felt like a sea of red terrified me. Week one in Idaho we drove past a Trump parade of 100’s of cars and my initial reaction was to flip them off and scream, and upon doing so, my entire family freaked out and rolled up the windows because “all those cars have AR’s in the back, you’re putting us in danger.” This wake up call and change of pace was startling at first, but I realised my actions could mean so much more in Idaho then they ever did in New York or California. 

My vote in Idaho is going to feel so good. Encouraging others to vote in Idaho feels so good. Volunteering for Biden has been exactly what I needed to really know I was doing my part towards something larger than myself and my career, a feeling I sadly haven’t known during my time at LIU pre-covid. During this time, what you can do even as little as making phone calls, handing out buttons and going to virtual events can mean the difference between winning or losing this election. This may be the darkest time you have ever faced but the opportunities to step outside of your path, even just for a few months, could be exactly what you need. This is the wake up call to take real action. This is the time to get it done, and get him out.

Author

post.bottomline@gmail.com

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