The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Actor Sean Astin campaigns for Clinton

Astin poses with Louise Carhart ’17 and Spencer Pajk ’17. Photo contributed.

By Louise Carhart

Grinnell and Hobbiton converged this Thursday, Sept. 29 when Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” movie franchise, visited Grinnell in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Speaking in the Grinnell Area Arts Council Stewart Gallery, the former Middle Earth resident implored students to realize the potential of Iowa’s electoral votes and to think consciously about the impact of their vote. His visit coincided with the first day of early voting in Iowa.

“It’s actually kind of exciting to be in Iowa on the first day that you can vote, it’s electrifying,” Astin said. “Iowa is absolutely critical.”

Astin remained objective about his role in the campaign, explaining that he understands some millennials’ desire to vote for third party candidates or abstain from voting altogether. He was adamant, however, that doing so would only contribute votes to republican candidate Donald Trump.

“What’s important to you? What do you care about? This election could not be clearer,” Astin said. “It couldn’t be a more stark contrast. Our country stands on the precipice of making an extraordinarily horrible mistake. I wish it were funny.”

Astin poses with Louise Carhart '17 and Spencer Pajk '17. Photo contributed.
Astin poses with Louise Carhart ’17 and Spencer Pajk ’17. Photo contributed.

Staying true to his roots, Astin threw in some appropriate “Lord of the Rings” references to illustrate his points. Throughout the current election cycle, Astin has visited thirteen states to encourage Americans to vote for Clinton and take advantage of the democracy provided to us.

“There’s some good left in the world. You can actually use all of the metaphors from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or from ‘Goonies’ or from ‘Rudy’ on any side of the political argument, it’s not just a democrat or a Hillary thing. I try to be careful about using that,” Astin said.

Despite throwing some humor into his speech, Astin made sure to drive home the point he flew to Iowa to make. In the face of a possible Donald Trump presidency, the actor felt the need to pursue activism and campaigning as strongly as possible in order to voice his concerns and play a part in a Clinton victory.

“The fact is that Donald Trump has absolutely no experience in government, zero experience in federal government,” Astin said.

Organized by Hillary for Iowa and the Iowa Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign, the event aimed to bring attention to early voting. For Anna Schierenbeck ’18, co-chair of Grinnell Campus Democrats, the event was an opportunity to get students out and voting early.

“I think the advantage of bringing a celebrity to campus is that it brings out a different crowd — hopefully some people who may not have prioritized voting this Thursday will prioritize meeting Sean Astin, and then get out to vote,” Schierenbeck wrote in an email to The S&B. “It also helps to hear someone you admire speaking about the importance of voting early.”

For some students, the event provided extra encouragement to vote for Clinton.

“I love Sean Astin and I needed some kind of guidance in where and how to vote,” said Helen Lant ’18.

Most students felt the celebrity draw was enough to bring them to the event and clarify the reasons why they should vote for Hillary.

“I want to early vote, and I need some motivation for Hillary Clinton,” said Rachel Buckner ’18.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *