Politics shouldn’t be trendy

Nisha Gandhi

In light of the current presidential race, more and more of my friends are beginning to identify themselves with one of the two major political parties: Democratic and Republican.

Almost every time I walk into a classroom, someone else has bought a sticker from the infamous RedBubble of either a red, white and blue donkey or elephant, representing the two parties. They flaunt these stickers around, usually on their laptops, and walk with pride in the fact that they have affiliated with a specific party.

To say that this warms my heart is a huge understatement. As a political science student, I love seeing more and more people take the time to become politically aware citizens of America. Personally, I think being politically aware is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The political world surrounds and affects all of us each and every day. In fact, almost every decision you make relates to a policy of some kind, passed during some president’s administration and upheld in order to allow you to make that decision. For this reason, it always struck me as concerning that not that many people keep up with politics, especially American politics. I don’t understand how anyone could conscientiously choose to ignore what’s going on in the world. However, as much as it makes me excited to see people becoming politically aware and affiliating with a specific party, it makes me incredibly sad to know that so many of these people are affiliating simply because it’s trendy.

All over social media, people’s bios are changing to reflect their party. Suddenly someone who you knew to be the least politically aware on the planet has “Proud Democrat” in their Instagram bio and that guy who you swore was a liberal posted a photo of him holding a beer in front of a huge Republican flag, captioned “Go USA *insert U.S. flag emoji*”.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for people being proud of the political party they affiliate with and putting their political views online. I do it all the time and I consider my political views to be a part of my personality. In fact, I love living in a society where it’s not taboo to share your political views because it’s given me the opportunity to use my own voice to influence people online and in person. I’m not, however, in favor of people arbitrarily picking a political party and going nuts on social media using the party as a way to gain popularity. To be quite honest, I think it’s one of the most dishonorable things to do.

You should never be affiliated to a political party just for the likes or just so people think you’re cool. You should be affiliated because you stand for everything the party does and because you would love to see a candidate of that party win the nomination and then go on to win the presidency.

It’s kind of embarrassing that so many American citizens have only recently started to become politically aware and have only done so because it makes them appear cooler on social media. Quite frankly, it’s making Americans look ignorant and oblivious to the rest of the world. Instead of caring about the policies being passed, we are only concerned with how many likes a photo of an elephant bumper sticker representing the Republican Party plastered onto our white Jeep Wrangler will get.

It’s time to put a stop to this. We need to, as a society, sit down and get educated on the issues. We need to know what we’re standing for and what we’re advocating for. Political awareness should not just be trend; it should be so embedded into our everyday lives that the prospect of saying it’s “trendy” makes us cringe.