Scrolling down Facebook during election night was quite entertaining but at times disheartening.
“Stay calm and sparkle — voting Ke$ha for president. Let it rain glitter,” one Facebook status said.
“Well, I guess I’m moving to Canada,” another said.
While it’s a great blessing that people can use their freedom of speech to express their feelings, it is saddening when people use those freedoms to spout hateful comments and threaten others for not thinking similarly.
According to Pew Research, 62 percent of Facebook conversations about Mitt Romney and 53 percent of those about President Obama were negative. Even more alarming is the bias in the media. MSNBC, 71 percent of whose sentiments about Romney were negative, and Fox News, 46 percent of whose sentiments about Obama were negative, are just two examples.
By 10:01 p.m. EST on Election Day, Twitter had 20 million election-related tweets, making the 2012 elections the most tweeted event in our political history. However, Pew Research also found that most of the tweets were negative.
Donald Trump called his 1.8 million Twitter followers to action, urging them to oppose Obama and to “march on Washington and stop this travesty.” Many others threatened to start a civil war if Obama was re-elected.
A plethora of other celebrities, talk show hosts, political bigwigs and religious leaders also voiced their strong opinions regarding the elections, which were met by hundreds of opposing comments from people all over the world.
Many people have strong beliefs about politics and about what they feel is best for America’s future. However, they should not be cruel and reckless when expressing their thoughts to others. The beauty of America is that we have the freedom to vote for whomever we want and to articulate our reasons for doing so.
Whether you wanted Obama to be re-elected, he is our president for the next four years. There is no need to be dwelling on negative feelings when we should be looking to the future with hope and prayers for our country’s leaders.
“We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States,” said the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a news release. “It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the president, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times.”
It is true that many of us have experienced great hardships and financial tribulation since the Great Recession started in 2007, and we may have years of great struggle ahead, but cutting each other down over our political beliefs is going to do nothing to fix anything.
“I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through,” said President Harold B. Lee, in his book “Decisions for Successful Living.”
We should be using our freedom of speech to express ourselves; however, we should realize that at times our words have the power to hurt rather than help. We should be using our words to build our country and stand united toward a better America.