In one of the most turbulent, amusing, and even sassy American presidential elections of all time, it’s not surprising that social media has exploded with political activity—from lighthearted jokes to angry tirades on both sides. In the world of political posts, memes have stolen the show. Shared by anyone from the politically obnoxious but mercurial high school classmate you keep forgetting to unfriend or the older family member who posts way too much, political memes have clogged Facebook and other social media for months, and will probably continue to do so even when the election is actually over. But are political memes worth reading and posting? Here are our pros and cons of political memes:
- Memes are funny. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, memes are generally quite witty. Though not usually funny enough to laugh out loud about, memes are a good source of internal chuckling during an otherwise monotonous day.
- Political memes are relatable. If they weren’t easy to connect to, they wouldn’t be reposted. In the tricky world of politics, memes provide an easy way to connect with relevant issues.
- Memes are short. They provide an easy, quick distraction to studying or work that won’t take too much attention away from the things you’re actually supposed to be doing.
- Political memes inspire research on political issues. Because it sucks to not understand a joke, not comprehending a meme can lead to research on whichever candidate or issue it’s about.
- Political memes have a pretty equal playing field. With interesting characters from both political parties, jokes can be made regardless of ideological differences.
- Political memes provide a positive approach to something otherwise possibly depressing. Whether you’ll want to move to Canada if Trump wins or if you’d never in a million years vote for Bernie, memes create laughter about the election rather than tears.
-Political memes create a false sense of political action. Although social media is an important facilitator in the spread of political messages and action, sharing a meme is rarely taken seriously and doesn’t equate to actually getting involved with the issues.
-They can misconstrue the issues. At a maximum of a few sentences each, memes provide little information on the subject they’re joking about, and are often heavily biased by the political beliefs of their creators.
-Political memes may not take the election seriously enough. There’s always a time for laughter, but this election (like all others) is serious and will have a deep impact on the United States. Memes may not be the best way to portray the election’s gravity.
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-They can be straight up annoying. The frankness of memes can easily come off as offensive (especially to someone with a conflicting view), and seeing too many memes just makes them seem pointless.
So, what’s the verdict? Political memes are good, but only in moderation. Although they can be witty, there is a fine line between Ted Cruz and the Zodiac Killer—or is there?