Political Activism gives Students a Voice
Jessica Wang | Staff Writer
Voting is not the only way for students to get involved in politics.
With the approaching off-year election and looming 2020 presidential election, America has become a whirlwind of ideas and opinions. However, students are working to breathe their beliefs into reality through political activism.
For senior Alexandra Madaras, expressing her political beliefs has long been a prominent aspect of her life. Angered by social injustice within America, she called for change and raised awareness through her personal social media pages.
“For a long time, [political activism] to me was just being loud on social media,” Madaras said. “But I wasn’t actually getting to the people that make decisions. I was just sort of spouting off on Instagram and Twitter.”
Frustrated in her inability to make a tangible impact, Madaras reached out to the Warren County Democratic Party. As a result, she was appointed as the social media intern for the Warren County Democratic Party, where she said she aims to motivate and energize the community by bringing attention to local political events.
“Recently, I went to the Cincinnati Climate Strike,” Madaras said. “That was something I was really passionate about because it was an event driven by young people. A lot of the membership of the Democratic Party in Warren County is a lot older, so I am trying to bridge the gap between some of the older members and some of the new democratic and liberal political organizing that’s happening.”
Senior Vibha Erasala is also amplifying her political voice through interning. To ensure her values and beliefs are represented, Erasala is working to help Democratic representative candidate, Nikki Foster, get elected.
“I felt like no one cared about my opinion because I was younger,” Erasala said. “So I felt like it was important to make my voice heard. I realized that if I wanted to be part of the change, I needed to step up and do it now.”
Senior Adam Baumgardner is seeking to make his voice heard as well. Last January, spurred by both his religious and political beliefs, he attended The March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve become more politically active in high school,” Baumgardner said. “I have a strong opinion of being pro-life, and most of my [Catholic] youth group was going to the March for Life, so I went too.”
Beyond marches, Baumgardner believes an integral part of political activism is staying informed and open-minded. With his 18th birthday quickly approaching, this is especially important to him.
“I can actually vote in the next election, so I started paying more attention [to politics],” Baumgardner said. “We have talks about it as a family. We’re all conservative, but we still have different views on different things. If somebody in our family says something that we don’t agree with, we’ll look it up and see what’s going on and then talk about it. [Political activism] is about talking and being aware of issues, and being able to formulate your own opinions, and getting facts from different sources because there is a lot of bias.”
Having a thorough understanding of the facts is also essential to senior Hannah Paschke. As an avid supporter of President Trump, she’s often been accused of being misinformed.
“I wear my Trump shirt to school, and I get dirty looks,” Paschke said. “Some people are very aggressive and forceful and will yell, but I try to stay super calm because that’s what my parents always tell me; if you ever get into an argument, stay calm and use facts.”
Despite criticism, Paschke remains strong in her beliefs. By attending his rallies, Paschke showcases her loyalty and support for President Trump.
“[The] last rally was in Cincinnati and I went with my mom and friends,” Paschke said. “The rallies are crazy, it’s actually really fun. There’s so many people around supporting the same person, and it’s fun to see everyone’s point of view. But it is hard being a woman and supporting him, because people say ‘You’re a woman, you can’t support him,’ but I stay strong to my beliefs.”
Although Erasala may disagree with many of Paschke’s beliefs, she said she wants everyone, no matter their political affiliation, to listen to each other and work together.
“People need to learn to look past the labels of Republican or Democrat, because that is what’s holding us back as American citizens,” Erasala said. “In the end, we are all on the same team, we are all working towards a joint goal: making America a safe and prosperous country.”
Photo contributed by Hannah Paschke.
Infographic by Aadrija Biswas and Riley Johansen.