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Opinion: It’s time to retire the “Trump is an idiot” tweets

Social media is a powerful tool and it should be used for more than hate

If you weren’t a Trump supporter 12 months ago, it’s unlikely that recent events in the country have swayed your opinion.
America’s tumultuous election season was peppered with various public figures denouncing the then-candidate, terming him a racist and a homophobe while questioning his ability to lead the nation. Yet here we are in 2017: Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States, and the insults are still flying.

It once made sense to call out Trump for his offensive remarks and checkered history. No one who attempts to discredit a family who lost their son in war deserves to go unchecked. But when it’s clear that this and similar examples of outrageous conduct aren’t enough to persuade America he’s not the man for the job, a new strategy is necessary to create real change.

It’s foolish to underestimate the power of social media, but it can only reach its full potential when connected to real-world events. Tweeting at the President of the United States to call him a “moron” accomplishes nothing more than a few likes and retweets; essentially, it’s the politically correct equivalent of disparaging remarks often hurled at Barack and Michelle Obama. But when people with the platform to do so provide tangible methods of resistance, the impact is much stronger.

When DeAndre Harris’ beating in Charlottesville was caught on camera, writer/activist Shaun King converted his Twitter account into a crowdsourced manhunt for the responsible attackers. It didn’t take long for names to attach themselves to the faces, leading to multiple arrests as King’s work provided law enforcement with the only evidence they had thus far.

That’s how social media activism needs to work; as long as it confines itself to the internet, the world won’t see the tangible change people hope for when they hurl their derogatory tweets. If you’re unhappy with Trump’s response to the Las Vegas massacre, firing low-level insults for his description of the shooter won’t convince him or anyone else that we need stricter gun control.

Accounts such as Everytown send tweets that give people context into what’s going on, and lets people know how they can get involved. For many, the desire to create change is there; the means to do so just aren’t as clear. Social media is the most efficient way to spread information in 2017, and when it comes to politics that space should be reserved for information that’s actually useful.

It’s not just social media that’s obsessed with degrading Trump at every turn. News outlets need to do a better job making sure the people they cover are adding to the conversation. “Ben Simmons says President Trump is ‘an idiot’” shouldn’t be a headline nearly a year into the President’s term in office, much less an actual story. Thoughts, prayers, and empty calls for unity aren’t going to fix the long-standing issues in our country, but divisiveness for the sake of divisiveness won’t get the job done either.

The theoretical line in the sand was drawn a long time ago. It will take more than blanket insults to change anyone’s opinion. Not only do these insults serve little to no purpose, but by now they’ve been worn out to the point where they’re hardly worth more than a brief pause while scrolling through the timeline.

If you still feel compelled to joke about Trump’s ineptitude in the Oval Office, least come up with an original joke.

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Top image: (Sean Myers/Neon)

Kenan Draughorne is currently a junior at USC studying Journalism. An avid music listener with a passion for creative writing, he currently writes for DJBooth and also serves as an assistant lifestyle editor for the Daily Trojan.