Like most children, my life’s dream was to become a veterinarian. The combination of living on a farm, and having my selfless mother regularly adopt animals in need, instilled a drive to use my influence to save lives. Many of our cherished pets, like some of our full-sized horses, were rescued immediately prior to slaughter, and others, like some of our donkeys and sheep, were left for dead by previous owners. We were never a particularly wealthy family, but my mother would always make room for a new addition if we knew that they had no viable alternative outside of our home.
However, during my freshman year of high school, I developed severe allergies to most of my animals, and lost all fine motor skills (and a portion of my usage) in my right hand due to a severely damaged nerve in my shoulder. Now unable to operate in veterinary school, I redirected my focus into politics — a medium that I knew I could advocate for animals, and to make (in theory) large-scale change for their welfare. My original pet issue was horse slaughter, considering that so many of our incredible horses and donkeys were almost victims of the industry, and it rapidly grew from there.
During my sophomore year, I penned a letter calling out Michele Bachmann’s historical, Constitutional, and civic errors, purely on the basis of her embarrassing women who were trying to make apt change in politics. Although I was an independent at the time, but a huge supporter of Obama, the vehement backlash from the Republican Party, and the violent threats I received from said party (as a minor, mind you) forced me to introspect into their platform — inadvertently creating an invigorated, progressive liberal.
By that year, I became a staff writer for the local high school newspaper, and regularly wrote pieces on addressing environmental problems plaguing the country. While during my junior and senior years, I was an opinions editor who used the newspapers’ tens of thousands of readers to do spreads and infographics about pressing environmental concerns (aided by the fact that our Editor-in-Chief and I had restarted the school’s environmental club).
Although it was not the avenue I envisioned for myself years ago, I owe my career path to my severe allergies, nerve damage, and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, Republican intolerance. Without such an aggressive response to a simple act, I’m certain that it would have taken me another few years to properly get involved in the political sphere of things. Thanks to the many threats, harassments, and ill-wills, the Republican Party created a diehard activist committed to environmental justice.