“I’m not usually one to get political, but…”
Stop. Delete. Rewrite.
“I don’t usually post my political beliefs on social media, but..”
Backspace, Backspace, Backspace. What was I saying? I’m totally one to get political. I better be after spending countless sleepless nights studying in the library wanting to claw my eyes out pursuing a political science degree. Like many, I turned to social media outlets during, and after, the election to voice my opinions. And like many, I found myself prefacing those opinions with apologies and justifications. So much so, that nearly every status update or tweet I wrote regarding the current state of affairs in our country was erased before anyone even had the chance to disagree with me.
Why do we feel the need to apologize for using the platforms we have to voice our political opinions?
For quite some time, I held onto the thought that political opinions are best left out of social media. It’s felt pointless. People have their beliefs, and no politically charged Instagram post or perfectly crafted Tweet is going to change that. Right?
Maybe not. But maybe it will. Or maybe it will inspire someone to become more involved and informed. Maybe it will lead to important, eye-opening conversations with people we wouldn’t normally discuss these topics with. Of course, there are so many other actions that we all need to be taking to truly impact our political system, but this movement has to start somewhere.
And if social media isn’t the place for these discussions to occur, where is? With 62% of American adults getting their news from social media, it not only seems like a valid place to express our political opinions, but also the most viable one. There’s no denying that social media plays a huge role in our current politics. So why not use our own personal accounts as a platform, unapologetically?
Your thoughts are warranted. Your beliefs are justified. And you don’t need to apologize for expressing yourself. People are going to disagree with you. People may even judge you. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. Unless your opinions are racist, homophobic, sexist, or degrading (looking at you, @realDonaldTrump,) they don’t need to start or end with an apology.
At a time when many of our rights feel as if they’re being stripped away, it’s important to stand firmly in our beliefs and use the most important tool we have- our voices.