Partisan Passion


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5 min
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Finalist
Jury
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“The monolith is vocal today,” Amy said with conviction as we passed the Turning Point USA fundraiser. I giggled, admittedly, instead of coming up with something witty to add on. Damn! why do I do that? I know what she wants, but every time I’m with her even my most grandiose plans for responses disappear from my mind as if I hadn't played out our future conversations a hundred times in my head. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe she’s an enigma that I can’t plan ahead for. Whatever the case, my breath feels wasted, the “friend zone” grows stronger with every missed opportunity. Why would she like me anyway? For all I know she could be straight. I mean we’ve only known each other for 3 weeks but I don’t think I’m imagining things when I say we’re pretty close. We FaceTime every day, I’ve been to her place, she’s been to mine. We watch the same shows, we like the same bands, we play the same video games, and we even use the same hair product line, “big and sexy”, just like her.

“What do you think they’ll do when their Cheeto god doesn’t get re-elected?” Amy questions.

“Haha I don’t know, I guess they’ll just have to settle with a free thousand dollars a month, or worse yet, a life without student debt.” She laughs. My sarcasm isn’t wasted on her, but the irony is.

“I have a club meeting tomorrow night, a lot of my friends are going and I’d love to introduce you, would you want to come?”

“I’d love to! When and where?” I respond without hesitation. Any chance to hang out with Amy fills me with joy.

“Awesome! It’s at 7pm upstairs in the UC. Just follow the signs once you get up there”

“Sounds great! I’ll see you then”

We go our separate ways as she heads to her political science classes and I’m off to the monthly Tarrant County GOP meeting.

Yes, I’m a republican. I’m not your typical “Reagan is god” type, but all in all, I usually vote right. Plus, I’ve been politicking to get legislation passed for the past few years and I’m not giving up my party and efforts for a love interest. I’m sure she'd understand if I told her I’m a Republican, but I certainly haven’t brought it up.

At the GOP meeting, I politic with some state representatives and senators to push my bill that helps sexual assault victims get the information they need to recover and pursue their case. It’s something I’m passionate about.

The next day gets here and it’s almost time for the club meeting. Unsure of what to expect I’m dealt the unexpected... the progressive club. When I read the sign pointing to the room my heart fell a little bit. It’s now or never for telling her that I’m a Republican. Otherwise, I’m lying to her by pretending to be a fan of the club. Being around her makes me the happiest I’ve ever been but I’m a farce if even some of it is based on a lie. Side note: she’s wearing a bisexual flag t-shirt so the good news is, if this goes well, I may have a chance.

“Hey Amy, can I talk to you over here for a minute?”

“Yeah, is everything ok?” She approaches me in the corner I’ve led her to

“I think we’ve had a misunderstanding” eww why did I say that, it sounds so aggressive. Too late to take it back now.

I continue, “You know I’m a proponent of LGBT rights, and you know I’m pro-choice, and you know I advocate for universal daycare and paid maternity leave-“

“Right, don’t you love this group? We’re all here!” She cuts me off, just out of excitement.

“Right but the thing is... I’m a Republican”

Silence ensues. Her face turns to a mixture of agitation and complete bewilderment. Quite a few seconds passed without either of us saying a word and I was ready to break it.

“We have the same morals we just want to fix the world in different ways.”

She’s unphased for a moment and then I see it, she smirks “Ok so let me get this right, you think families should be separated by ICE?”

“No, I just don’t think getting here illegally should be easy or rewarded” I’m playing defense, if she wants to pick my brain so be it.

“Well, what about canceling student debt, you said yesterday you were all for that”

“I jokingly said if a Democrat gets elected that it’s likely to happen, I’m in no way in favor of it. In fact, federal student aid shouldn’t even exist.” Oh god, why did I put that last part in...

“But then how would the economically disadvantaged go to college?”

“The same way they did before federal aid was expanded, bank loans”

“But those aren’t guaranteed”

“Exactly!” Wait no, too far. I’ve got to backtrack and explain.

“What I mean by that is-“

“No don’t even finish, it’s obvious you don’t care about marginalized people, you’re just a greed machine like the rest of republicans.”

Ouch... Out of hope and slightly offended (only slightly because I’ve been called worse) I respond, “Ok I’ll just leave forever now, I get it,” and she nods in agreement but with a new look of disgust.

Adrenaline leaves my system as I walk back to the car and I’m left wondering is this really the end? All that time we spent together, all the things we enjoyed about each other, was that really just gone? She was honestly the light of my life from the day I met her and I screwed it up, I guess by being myself.

About a year passes and even still I thought about her daily, along with that moment. I guess this was God's plan for me. That and the bills I’ve been working on. One just passed the senate and was dubbed “Jessica’s Law” after the work I put into it and my experience which prompted me to get involved.

My university called me. They wanted an interview detailing my experience and how I helped push this bill. It wasn’t the first time I’ve told a reporter about the time I was raped. But, this time was different because come to find out, two days later, Amy read it.

She reached out to me in a turn of events I was not expecting, she called me crying. I tried to calm her down best I could and finally through the sobs she got out what had her so upset “Because me too Jessica, me too!”. She’d been raped at 18, the perpetrator had been waiting for her to be legal so he could say it was just regret sex. She was drugged, but much like me, she got to the hospital too late for them to find anything in her system, and with that she never even reported it. She said “I’m sorry I misjudged you, I don’t care if we don’t agree on everything, I just have to know how I can help,”.

We went on to speak in Austin together on behalf of the bill. She did more for rallying people together than I could have ever dreamed of doing. First hundreds, then thousands began signing up to speak on behalf of “Jessica’s law”. It passed but there was more to be done. She went on to start a non-profit that helps thousands of women pay civil fees for their cases and restraining orders. Amy became an unstoppable political force for the rights of sexual assault survivors all across the world going on to speak at major functions and eventually earning a Nobel Peace Prize.

I love my wife Amy, more than anything on this earth. We have 3 lovely children, a house near Austin, and a pet turtle we affectionately named Mitch. It all began with a misunderstanding, and it ended with a beautiful marriage, a life of contentment, and that fulfillment of aspirations we’re all striving for.

You see, we all face struggles, the human struggle is one we are all familiar with. The fact that we all have ideas on how to lessen that struggle should be more impactful than the ideas themselves. Putting politics aside to see the human behind the ideology is not easy, it takes self-control, and at the foundation of that is work. Just like keeping a stable marriage takes work. And it is this work that allows us to see beyond red and blue and work towards the greater good. I’ll leave you with a quote from mine and Amy’s favorite show,

“The bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die. Each of us gets to choose.” (“Pickle Rick”)


Works Cited
"Pickle Rick." Rick and Morty. Adult Swim, Atlanta, 7 Aug. 2017.
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Image of Victoria LaBarre
Victoria LaBarre · ago
Hi, if you are interested, I'm trying to set a meet up between the story authors (no matter who wins) so we can meet each other on UTA campus, would you be interested/ what time are you free this Friday?
Image of Chasidah Fried
Chasidah Fried · ago
I liked the resolution :")