I have heard from so many older people that the 2018 midterm elections were like nothing they had ever seen before. I would have to say the same even though I this is the first midterm I was eligible to vote. Social media platforms have played a major role in election discussion for a handful of elections. Yet, this year felt different and I’m sure you would agree.
As I browse through my Instagram feed and stories, there were countless declarations of “I vote,” mildly condescending “did you?” and ever so demanding “get out and vote.” While I wanted so badly to be excited about the number of my peers who were engaged in this election, I felt kind of upset with the trendy nature it was taking on. This unsettling feeling was confirmed for me when about a half an hour before one of my friends went to vote, they asked me what these elections were even for. I realized, most people could not make the connection between these elections, the future of our country, and our own lives. Most just felt peer pressured to vote and had serious fomo (fear of missing out).
Something needs to change. I can’t accept that notion that our generation is flighty, selfish, shallow etc. It really is a beautiful thing that social media has connected us in the way that it has. It’s inspiring to see how and Instagram filter or GIPH can get so many people to the polls. But at what cost? Social and political movements need a lot more to them than being trendy. People need to vote because they know what their vote can do not just to be part of the conversation at school or work. I definitely don’t have any magical education reform answers. I just know that in a country where citizens supposedly have so much power, we need to be informed and keep learning in order to make decision that will contribute to the greater good.
It’s wonderful that you may have voted because Instagram or Google told you to. If you made it to the polls that’s an amazing feat and you should be proud that you’re exercising not only a right but a privilege. Let’s just keep from this participation becoming a trend that dies out in 2019.