With one of the country’s most historic Election Days less than a week away, Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin advocated for the Clinton campaign at Plymouth State University Friday, Oct. 28, and in a larger way the importance of community.
Wearing a gray ivy cap, black jacket and blue jeans the star of Rudy held a cup of coffee and spoke unrehearsed about his feelings toward this year’s presidential election.
“The message is always the same,” he said. “You’ve got to be invested in your community, and you’ve got to register to vote.”
Rather than address a room full of press and town residents, Astin walked into the University’s student union building beside the Daily Paws breakfast café, high-fived more than 40 students, and talked about the importance of the election and the necessity for millennials to come together.
In 2016, Astin worked relentlessly for this election. He said he will miss Halloween with his children this year, a difficult experience, he noted, particularly for his 11-year-old daughter.
In the 24 years of working on Clinton’s campaign, Astin missed one year in 2000 while filming Lord of the Rings.
His message Friday was clear from the beginning: the presidency has come down to a fight between fear and reason.
Astin contrasted Clinton’s experience in the political system to Trump’s lacking, warning such a background is not to be taken lightly.
“The presidency of the United States is not a job you want to learn on,” said Astin.
The 45-year-old actor later sat down to expand on his thoughts on Trump and his predictions for the future of the country.
“Right now, the choice couldn’t be clearer,” said Astin. “You’ve got a lifelong dedicated public servant on one hand and a total abject font of negativity and incompetence on the other.”
When asked how the country would adjust to a Trump presidency, Astin was cautiously optimistic.
“The United States is very resilient,” he said. “If Donald Trump is president, I’m sure we’ll find a way to plot on, but it would be so self-destructive.”
Despite his reservations for Trump, Astin retained sympathy for his supporters. “Those people aren’t going anywhere. I don’t call them ‘deplorables,’ I say they’re acting deplorably,” he said, recalling Clinton’s comments from early September.
Astin recognized that a disregard of right-wing issues would only exacerbate the climate of negativity. Still, he wanted voters to know anger was not an effective way to go about getting issues resolved.
“It’s actually probably the least effective,” he said. “It’s great if you want to keep getting 20,000 people, kind of like a wrestling match to come scream and yell, but if you really want to deal with issues, you have to hire people who you can communicate with, who understand what you want.”
Astin added that a candidate must be able to learn from their constituents, and said he sympathizes with Trump’s working class supporters.
“I feel like I have more emotionally in common with working people than I do with people of means,” said Astin. “I know that working people have a certain level of expertise that isn’t really understood or appreciated by the governing class, but I also think the working class people have a responsibility not to behave as if they know more than they do.”
Speaking on the responsibilities of voters, Astin agreed their job is a difficult one; made up of educated guessing. He added, though they should not be motivated by polarizing ideals.
Unwavering from his support of Clinton, Astin noted that though there are some things he disagrees with, many of her demerits have been blown out of proportion, such as Benghazi and deleted emails.
Astin said he watched all 11 hours of Clinton’s testimony and read through hundreds of the emails released by WikiLeaks. When asked if his findings deterred his support for Clinton, Astin said no.
“I feel more confident about her after reading them,” he said. “She comes across in those emails as a great bureaucrat. These people are operating on a nexus of power, and there is some awkward s**t. Can things be done better? Absolutely.”
“I think she’s been treated worse… Michelle Obama said in her speech at the convention that Hillary Clinton’s made it OK to take for granted that a woman could be president, and it’s absolutely true. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to my kids.”
Astin ended the session on an optimistic note—He said Americans, especially Republicans, can thank Trump for getting the country politically active, after the election.
“He’s given them every opportunity to come together after the election and say ‘OK, that’s not what we’re about.’”