Social Media and Political Bandwagons

Social+Media+and+Political+Bandwagons

Emilie Wipprecht, Writer

Education has forever been a value held high in the Wipprecht household. Topics such as mathematics, geography, culture, society, and money management have often found their way to our dinner table. However, lately a new and quite popular point of discussion has sat down for dinner at the Wipprecht’s; politics. With the recent excitement and commotion of upcoming elections, politics has been the center of conversation for most. However, with such a broad and extensive subject up for grabs, it frequently can be difficult to interpretation as well as misleading. With all this information being thrown at us over the past few months, it’s often complicated to distinguish what is fact from fiction, therefore we atomically believe what our parents, peers, teachers, co-workers, news and social media say instead. By design and the way our minds are engineered it is effortless for us to do just that. Our minds are built to pursue the popular opinions of others without actual or factual truth. Our generation mindset focuses us to believe instead of what we actually know. This pattern can often lead into dangerous  and misleading territory because as time progresses more and more people converse on subject’s they know nothing about, only what the person before them was discussing. This spiral effect forces our generation to be dumbfounded and blinded by the information given to our nation vs. the information that’s actually out there. So what do we have to do to get off that band wagon? What can we do to form our own opinions and not gave to rely on the opinions of others or social media? The answer is very straight forward. All we have to do is dig a little deeper. Unfortunately I recently learned the lesson of being blindfolded by social media, society and popular conversation the hard way.

 

A few weeks ago my dad and I sat down for dinner along with the trendy topic that has grown popular with our meals as well: social media and political bandwagons.  We chatted back and forth about how social media, news stories, and politics have recently blinded people from seeing the information that could actually be found somewhere out there. My dad persistently informed me that social media, news and other forms of information possibly have veiled facts and details about our upcoming elections. He then encouraged me to do my own research and dig a little deeper. Conflicted, I informed my dad that I didn’t need to do my own research on our candidates this year because everything I needed to know was right there in front of me or at the touch of my fingertips. I had access to both candidates’ twitters, Face books, Instagram’s, and etc. I watched their debates, politicians discuss their morals, and I listened to their lectures over and over again. All I needed to know was within a few clicks away at all times. I obviously knew everything I needed to know about them right? My dad sighed and turned to me with a pondering look. After a few moments he finally said, “Emilie, who is Kim Kardashian?”

 

“What?” I replied defensively, “You don’t know who Kim Kardashian is?”

 

I was startled but more or less concerned that my own father, who is a very educated man I might add, did not know who Kim Kardashian was. I took a moment then proceeded to inform him who she was. I started with her television fame, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, then moved into her sister’s fame, then her husbands, how many kids they have, their names, where they live. By the end of my Kardashian 411 lecture I was surprised how much I knew about Kim Kardashian.

“Oh, alright then.” My dad said, “Now who is the 46th president?” he said with a smile. I immediately caught onto the lesson my dad was trying to teach me. He wanted me to see that I was able to tell him exactly who a famous public figure was, just because of social media but I was not able to tell him who our 46th president was. I then accused him of not knowing either. I told him that he was just trying to make me feel incompetent. How did he expect me to know such a thing off the top of my head? We’ve had tons of presidents! A moment later, he too, openly admitted he didn’t know who our 46th president was either.

“Then what’s your point?” I asked. He looked at me closer and said “You are right sweetie, I do not know who the 46th president is,” he took a deep breath, “But when he or she become president I’ll let you know….”

 

The lesson I believed he was trying to teach me couldn’t have been farther from the truth. He was not trying to show me I didn’t know who the 46th president was at all! He was trying to explain to me that I didn’t even know a 46th president hasn’t even served in office yet! That he or she hasn’t existed. He was trying to show me that the only reason I knew so much about one person was based off of social media, and word mouth. I had never known who were our 12th president let alone our 46th because no one had talked about it, known the facts, or it hadn’t been displayed on social media. The more I thought about it the more I became angry because the more I realized my more than comical father was more than right. I had never actually done my own research on Kim Kardashian. All I knew about her based via social media. The same applied for our candidates this year. I had never read a book on either of their qualifications. I hadn’t know how many years they have studied politics, nor where. I didn’t know what positions they have held or the decisions they have made prior to running for president. The only things I have never known about the two had been taught to me through a lab top screen, television or smart phone. I had never dug any deeper or pursued a further education to learn about the two. I was satisfied picking up the information on the surface based o simplicity or convenience. The most frightening part about the lesson my dad taught me is that a large percentage of the population is doing the exact same thing that I had done.

As the 2016 election approaches more and more people grow anxious to talk about our candidates. For the past year every time I have turned on the news, opened FaceBook, Twitter or any other form of social media, elections have been the point of discussion. Every person in America has something to say about our candidates, whether it is good or bad but it comes down to who is actually right. So much controversy has been tossed around our country about our candidates is has almost grown impossible to believe what is being taught therefore we aren’t able to form an opinion for ourselves.