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It’s an election year, and tensions are running high in every party. It doesn’t matter if you’re building walls, fucking up your email account management while wearing a pantsuit, or feeling a questionable Bern – everyone has an opinion, and they need it heard. Right now.
I love social media. I spend hours each day ignoring my own personal responsibilities by perusing mostly Twitter and Instagram. I even occasionally get paid small amounts of money to write about a myriad of topics on this nifty little website. It’s a beautiful thing, social media. But on the other hand, it seems that every election year, things tend to get very ugly. Very ugly, indeed.
You see, Facebook used to be about status updates. Purely about keeping up to date with what your pals were up to at the moment. Back in the good old days, it was a straightforward and simple platform. No Youtube shares, Buzzfeed articles, or Friendship Anniversary photo collages were to be found, cluttering up the feed. It was a much simpler time. But now? It has evolved into a political word-vomit monster of epic proportions.
I complain about Facebook often; I know I do. But necessities such as my law school class section groups and other assorted group pages keep me logging back in. I wish I could quit it, I really do. Every time someone shares another wild-haired Bernie meme, video of Hillary telling me that joining a gang is like having a family, or how much Donald Trump loves the Mexican people and taco salads, I’m inching closer and closer to the edge. I wish I could close my eyes and it would just disappear. But, no. It only seems to grow stronger each and every day.
It honestly disturbs me how so many people seem to think that their political rants they spew online have any sort of lasting effect, past the initial personal relief they experience by dumping all of that anger off their chest and onto my timeline. By all means, exercise your freedom of speech. I’m very thankful to live in a country in which we are given the opportunity to make complete asses of ourselves via online platforms. You do you. I’ll do me. Just please try and wrap your head around the fact that a simple Facebook post or retweet does not make you a political crusader or scholar of any sort.
You may be “voicing your opinion” by tweeting, sharing, and posting, and that’s great. But that also doesn’t mean that you still aren’t politically apathetic. Our generation would rather sign an online petition or “retweet for X, favorite for Y” than ever leave the comfort of our cozy lofts with artfully exposed brick walls and piping. In fact, we are what the politicians and campaign managers like to call, “all throat and no vote.”
Millenials love to complain. We love to blog and tweet and post about all of the things in our daily lives that we deem an inconvenience. Anything from calling out shitty airlines on Twitter, to griping about the insanely long lines at Trader Joes. I’m literally complaining right now. When it comes to politics, we very much enjoy bitching and moaning. But our effort pretty much stops right there. We complain a hell of a lot for a group of overly-educated and intelligent young people who refuse to actually vote in local elections, midterm elections, and presidential contests. It’s like you’re screaming and throwing rocks at the sky, but just standing there until they fall back down and smack you in your face anyway.
I rarely engage in political discourse via the internet. I prefer to keep my political opinions to myself. Though I truly believe that some friendly political discourse is healthy and potentially helpful, in my experience, it rarely winds up being friendly at all. It usually becomes a pissing match of who can quote their upper-level political science professor from their senior year public policy and administration course the loudest. Don’t get me wrong: I am neither apathetic, nor overly-invested. I’m right there in the middle, probably with most of the likes of you.
This is not meant to criticize those having strong political beliefs and opinions. I just want to raise awareness surrounding the growing problem that is political rants on our social media platforms. They’re taking over our timelines and they’re really harshing the mellow. I wish we would all take a stand against them. Just say no to blind-sharing articles and videos that have catchy or offensive headlines. Have a little self-respect when you’re trolling the comments section, no matter how difficult that may be. Political change happens from outside the confines of your office and computer monitor, if that’s the kind of thing that you are into.
Go ahead and bitch about overpriced brunch, your coworker that chews so loudly that the entire floor can hear him, and the fact that your company won’t match your 401K investments to your liking. Bang your fists on your faux-wood desk in your cube and demand better catered lunches at mandatory staff meetings, more dependable WiFi access, and reasonable bonuses. These rants are rants that I would be proud to stand behind on any given day. I might even throw them a “like.” Though we may be many, together, we stand as one. Post grads all over, unite.
But alas, it is an election year, and many people have a lot to say about all of this politickin’. My “unfollow” button stays hot. Next time you’re itching to share a fire-flames political take and your cursor is hovering over that “post” button, why don’t you just save us all a lot of heartache and close out of your Facebook account. Forever. .
Image via Shutterstock