The 2016 election has got to be the most ‘memed’ election ever. The impact of the internet on this election’s campaigns is astronomical. The media is pushing out content every time Donald Trump makes an unsurprisingly racist statement, then spends the next week analyzing it and bringing the egomaniac in for interviews. Then someone in the online community shares it, comments on it, and Photoshops Trump’s face into a scene from “Mean Girls.”
Our generation and the upcoming generation have filled their timelines and dashboard feeds with clips of Bernie Sanders running through a train station and Marco Rubio repeating four times in one debate that Barack Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing.”
This is all in good fun. Well, most of it. Perhaps it is just the evolution of internet culture, but we find it frustrating to see the real debate ignored by our peers while they opt for the most ‘memeable’ moments from the night’s biggest stooge.
In addition, there are a lot of lazy personal attacks being pitted against candidates who have legitimate platforms and skills in their positions… i.e. Hillary Clinton. Comparing her to the bulk toilet paper you might find in a public restroom while comparing Bernie Sanders to a package of Charmin does not qualify as a legitimate source of evidence. If that’s where you are getting your information about candidates from, you are being sorely misinformed.
Most of the internet commentary about this year’s election is hilarious, because honestly, the entire thing has felt like a circus from the moment certain candidates entered the race.
But have we gone too far? Undoubtedly, we have reached a point where this whole election has become exhausting. Some of us have stopped watching CNN all together because we know there is bigger news out there than the latest Republican debate. (It’s the same rhetoric we have been hearing for weeks anyways.)
This applies to both major parties. We are just as tired of hearing jokes about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as we are of seeing raw footage of Ted Cruz edited into horror movie trailers.
Again, this is funny stuff. But it’s burning us all out, and at what cost? More and more people are hate-reading the latest caucus poll stories and unsubscribing from the news because the majority of what they see is political coverage. More and more people are rolling their eyes at their social media feeds because they are full of reposts from “Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash.”
But listen, guys. This is not the time to get burned out. The Kansas primaries are in less than three weeks. This is the time when it is crucial for you to stay awake and stay aware.
Unfollow “Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash.” Stop sharing Donald Trump trash. In fact, take a break from Facebook all together. Get away from the twisted statistics and warped quotes used in those “shareable” posts and watch an actual debate. Find sources more substantial than a two-minute “Now This” video to use as your evidence for not supporting Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio.
Read candidates’ actual platforms and plans. Research their track records and avoid Wikipedia. Get involved. Have civil conversations with others about the candidates. Don’t ignore your local elections and local candidates’ policies - their decisions affect you more directly and immediately, far more than the presidential figure head.
And for goodness sake, register to vote and get yourself to the polls.