Way, WAY too many.
I think it is absolutely great that young adults can get passionate about the upcoming election. It shows interest in the community and the future of this country and that young people want to have a say in that.
There is, however, a nasty side effect and I know I am not the only one feeling it.
Last week, I had to hide all Facebook posts from five of my friends. And I’m not the person with 400 friends on the social media website –– I only friend people I actually know pretty well. Before I figured out how to hide posts from people, I un-friended a couple folks. (Sorry guys! You were annoying me.)
At the end of that week, one of my good friends posted a plea asking everyone to stop writing and sharing all the political stuff on Facebook. It didn’t matter for which candidate. Just stop. Since then, I have seen several posts with the same message — and it isn’t just in our generation.
“I desperately need a ‘hide political posts’ button on Facebook so I can still like all my friends after the election year is over,” wrote my great aunt, who is quite a bit older than the college generation.
It’s not just on Facebook, though, that is the best place to see it. You can’t watch TV without a ridiculous ad. I stopped going on YouTube because of the political ads from both side. I can’t walk across campus, or listen to the radio, or read anything anywhere without some ad for a candidate.
I’m going to guess that if you are interested in the election, you probably know who you are going to vote for. Even if your reasons are stupid — “My parents are (insert political party here) so I’m voting that way” (and too many young adults have that reason) — you still know who you are voting for.
According to the Washington Post, President Obama has spent more than $109,447,120 on negative ads alone. That’s a lot of negativity. Good thing Colorado is a battleground state, with Denver being the focus of $24.1 million dollars in ads!
As of Sept. 16, $473.4 million has been spent on campaign ads, 79 percent of which are negative. You know what else that money could have done? According to space.com and NASA, it would have been enough money to help speed up development of a new fleet of spacecraft capable of running supply runs to the space station, testing new robotics in space and a new shuttle orbital to replace the old shuttles and the need for our country to pay Russia to taxi our astronauts.
But close to $500 million? That’s not small change and could help a lot of Americans in countless ways instead of annoying them.
The tiny percentage of people who haven’t made up their mind yet on the election should take five minutes of their day and Google the candidates’ positions (Google is an official verb now, finally). That would save everyone, time, money and a whole lot of negativity coming through the media right now.
Again, being passionate about politics and making an impact on society is great. I may not agree with you, but to quote Voltaire, I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. But please, consider the message you are putting out.
Instead of discussing an issue like abortion, gun control, taxes, marijuana, foreign policy or anything else not yet firmly established, too many people are getting worked up over something that many people have already decided on.
I really don’t think that yelling at someone 500 times about how bad the other guy is, is going to help convince anyone that hasn’t already decided your candidate is better.
Sarah Romer is a senior electrical engineering major. Her column appears Thursday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.