By Mehrdad Damavandi
Every day you see his name in the news. Every day you hear that he has said something outrageous. Every day you criticise him and understandably you question how he got to where he is today. Yet, every time you mention his name to condemn his latest actions you give him more influence. You allow him to attain control over you and you give him more power.
The President of the United States (POTUS) has been in office since January 20, 2017, a total of 292 days and so far, he has caused controversy, shock and outrage at every turn. From the ‘Travel Ban’ to ‘building the wall’ he has certainly caught everyone’s attention. However, I will tell you about the dangers of mentioning his name, what giving him the attention he so dearly craves does and what the real effects of this are.
His controversies might portray him in a bad light but ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’. In 2015 alone during the Presidential election campaign his name was mentioned by the media around 1.4 million times more than that of Hillary Clinton, his 2016 presidential opponent. One might question why these statistics are important, but with every tweet and controversial statement, the media allow him to be heard. Of course, they scrutinise him as they naturally would. Yet, through the overemphasis of all his actions for better ratings, they give him the platform to be noticed and to be heard by the masses who are disillusioned with politics as it is.
He was and still is a persistent and consistent voice for the silent majority who were too scared to show off their unpopular opinion. The media gave him the publicity he so dearly craved. The media give him the platform for his views to be shared, to be shared everywhere around the country continuously, rather than, for example, giving an equal focus to the other candidate in the presidential race.
In one way or another, without fail the ‘fake news’ media, whom he has criticised extensively, has mentioned his name each day of his presidency and aided him immensely. This is contrary to what they think they are doing when they mention and criticise his every move. According to studies, in his first 100 days as president, he was mentioned in 41% of all news stories, with 80% of those being negative. Yes, a lot said about him has been negative, but even this type of publicity will give him more power. The unprecedented publicity he has been given allows him to be heard, and people listen. Of course, we must scrutinise the POTUS as any democratic country would their own leader. However, this cannot be done to the extent where we miss the point of doing so, where through our scrutiny we only make him stronger and highlight his personality rather than policy, focusing on his rhetoric more than the substance of his policies.
We, on social media, don’t help either. He has even made online platforms tools of manipulation and tools to attain influence. On Twitter, he now has over 41 million followers, the most followers of any head of state in the world, even more so than leading figures such as the Pope. Through the social media website, he has tweeted over 36,000 times with 2,092 of these tweets coming this year. From insulting world leaders such as Kim Jong-Un, calling him the “rocket man“, to making huge policy announcements such as the infamous ‘Travel Ban’, he has used Twitter as a tool to be heard. A device for people to talk about him and to create controversy so people can give him what he wants, attention.
This is working. On Twitter in the last six months alone he received an incredible 12 million more followers, which his outrageous tweets have undoubtedly earned him, and you tweeting him or about him doesn’t help either. We are giving him a platform to spread whatever message he intends to display, everyone will see it. Most importantly, everyone will comment on it, so when you critique him, every single one of your followers will also see his message whether they want to or not. This is where his true influence lies. You only become a tool of his as you spread his messages every time you refer to him on social media.
He will know everyone is talking about him and this will give him power and encourage him further to act as he does right now, and Twitter is the epitome of this. We will give him attention in the classroom and in our daily conversations. We will allow him to gain more power, even when he is relatively inactive.
So, can he win another term with the influence we are unknowingly giving to him right now? At this moment of time nobody can tell, especially when no-one saw him sitting in the Oval Office in the first place. Yet, with his approval ratings dropping to lower than 40%, the amount of support he was always assumed to maintain, there might be hope for those of us who can’t wait for his demise. But to stop him from winning another four years (yes, he is going to be here for another three already) we cannot give him what he wants. He dominates the classroom and the newsroom, but if we don’t over-publicise him each time he does something considered to be outrageous, slowly but surely his influence will diminish.
So, don’t mention his name, don’t give him attention he does not need and certainly does not deserve. Next time he tweets something outrageous, ignore him, you’ll feel better for it, I assure you. Yes, recognise his many flaws and controversies as anyone would but don’t repeat and overemphasise them to demonstrate a point or to attain publicity. You will only emphasise the influence he has over you and this will only make him stronger.
Yes, I am writing an article about him but someone should spread the message, right?
Picture credits: Daily Mail