Geno Auriemma’s call to action

Geno Auriemma, head coach of the UConn Women’s Basketball team, at a NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in 2019. Geno’s call to action is to encourage people to go vote and make your voice heard. Photo by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus

Tuesday, Nov. 3 is Election Day. And in a country that finds itself so divided, it is now more important than ever that we come together, regardless of your political affiliation, to perform our civic duty and vote. For UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma, he has preached it as a way for his team to make their voices heard in a time where many are feeling unseen and undervalued. 

“For a lot of people this year, this [election] is more emotional,” Auriemma said. “This one is fraught with a tremendous amount of intensity, anxiety. There’s a lot of anger on both sides. There’s a lot of mistrust. There’s a lot out there that generally isn’t attached to elections but this has them all and they’ve all invested a piece of themselves into this and I want them to experience that feeling, what it feels like when you give yourself to something.” 

Auriemma is an Italian immigrant who moved to America at seven years old, and earned his citizenship at the age of 40. He has lived through the struggles of not being able to vote, experienced the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s firsthand and survived many elections during his lifetime. But Auriemma said the way he feels today is much different. 

“You can’t make a vaccine for some of the nonsense that’s been going on… The only thinkg you have is your vote. That’s it.”

“I’ve never felt anything like I’m seeing and feeling in today’s world, never,” Auriemma said. “Not ever any time in my life have I been so disgusted with so much of what I see happening in the country. The pandemic is the least of our problems. There’s a cure for the pandemic. It’s out there. It’s coming. I’m not sure there’s a cure for some of the other stuff that’s been going on in this country. You can’t make a vaccine for some of the nonsense that’s been going on… The only thing you have is your vote. That’s it.” 

Geno is right. Whether you think the COVID-19 pandemic is real or a hoax, it will end. That is a scientific fact. The political and racial unrest we face as a nation, however, is a different story. The only way we are going to make a difference in that regard is by fighting for the change we want to see, and that starts with your vote, and your vote alone. 

This election has become one of the most propagandic in history, as never before has the nation nearly been torn apart before the vote has even taken place. The raw hatred some people feel toward one another simply based on who they intend to vote for is beyond my belief. Disagreement is healthy, but the blatant attacks coming from both sides are doing nothing but driving the stake further between the political parties and the country. 

Geno Auriemma, head coach of the UConn Women’s Basketball team, speaks at a conference. Geno urges people to vote on Tuesday, November 2nd. File photo/The Daily Campus

And to what extent does this propaganda even come into play? Who benefits from thrusting your political values into the face of another you know will simply disagree because both sides are too blinded by hatred for the other to hear them out?  

This election has turned into a game, not to see which presidential candidate is better, but which supporters are better. But behind all the banners, flags, road signs and more, the only thing that matters is that you fill out your absentee ballot, get to the polls to drop off your mail-in vote and do whatever you can to ensure your voice is heard by the nation, instead of getting into a scream fest with your alt-right neighbor. Auriemma said it best. 

“Easiest thing people do when there’s a crisis of conscience is to come up with slogans. They come up with catchy sayings, they come up with logos, they come up with t-shirts… So yeah, all these things are great, don’t get me wrong. But you know what they all are? They’re symbols of what? I care. I want to do my part. Okay. Colin Kaepernick took a knee. How’d that work out for him? So now everybody takes a knee, how’s that working out? How many white policemen did it stop, taking a knee? But it looked good. So everybody’s doing these great things to show their support. Well guess what? Your support comes Tuesday. No slogans, no buttons, no t-shirts, no signs on your lawn. Just show up Tuesday and do the right thing.” 

Nov. 3 will go down as potentially one of the most important days in American history. If you are able to do so, I urge you to vote, and even though it may seem pointless, make your voice heard. 

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