Since the 2016 election, the political division of our nation has taken a toll on the younger generations of our society. The partisanship has created a silent war, sometimes not so silent, that has turned friends and neighbors against each other.
Our unity as a nation is deteriorating, and I have witnessed it worsen rapidly since the start of 2020 (The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic). I believe that my generation has suffered the most consequences from this division, solely due to our heavy use of social media.
Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok have changed politics forever. It has never been easier to quickly spread information around, even when the information at hand is entirely false.
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To preface, I identify as totally independent, and I’m not just saying that to avoid backlash. Anyone can see that Conservative individuals have been completely silenced within the online world, but very few will admit this because they haven’t been “formally” silenced.
If a teenager were to post anything that conflicts with the neoliberal agenda, they would likely be deemed a racist, homophobe, “trumpie,” or even a degenerate. I have witnessed this countless times, yet nobody can speak up against it because they fear being shamed. Nobody wants to be labeled as a racist degenerate, so obviously Conservative voices are going to remain silent.
Recently, a boy within the SAU-16 district was sent home from school after wearing a flag to display his support for the police. Not only was he punished by administrators, but he was also tormented and harassed by his peers.
Most of this harassment was done on social media because it is much easier to hide behind a screen when insulting and criticizing other people. There were a select few individuals who used social media to show their support for the boy who wore his police flag, but they were all mocked and belittled by fellow students. In one example of this, a girl displaying her support for the thin blue line flag received a message that read:
“You are so f*cking ugly and you find pleasure in being a b*tch
please shut up. Give me a good reason the blue lives matter flag
is not a racist flag. When it was really created in protest of the
BLM protests. Please get a god d*mn life.”
The tormenting did not end there, she continued to receive insulting messages over Snapchat. More of them reading:
“Go back to your trailer park”
“You are literally living in poverty”
Using the financial status and home life of a young girl as a way to publicly shame her is absolutely inexcusable, and it is abundantly clear that these messages qualify as cyberbullying. No child should have to face this kind of backlash for harmlessly expressing their beliefs online, their freedom of speech is being taken away from them before they even reach high school.
The same people who preach against “classism” are using social class as a way to humiliate individuals who have different political beliefs. The hypocrisy is disgusting, and it shows resemblance to fascism, the very thing that they claim to oppose.
These kids are way too young to be fighting like animals over social & political conflicts, especially when they have a lot of learning left to do. Social media has given adolescents a mob mentality, and it is concerning.
Using these platforms for the advocacy of racial equality, women’s rights and LGBTQ+ acceptance is great, and not to mention highly effective. However, it has taught children and teenagers to reject any opinion or standpoint that is not identical to their own.
Political variation has supported our democracy for hundreds of years, and now it is crumbling at its foundation. It is incredibly unfair that liberal and leftist teens can post and support whatever they want online, without fear of repercussions. Today’s conservative teens cannot speak freely, despite it being written in our Constitution.