| 03.20.2018

Saying thanks too late


Americans flood social media with gratitude that came too late for Obama and Clinton 

Most of the nation was shocked by the results of the 2016 presidential election, wherein President-elect Donald Trump beat out the favorite to win the race, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In the aftermath, upset individuals flooded Twitter with messages expressing their appreciation for Clinton and current President of the United States Barack Obama. The hashtags #ThankYouHillary, #ThankYouObama and #ThankObamaIn4Words started trending nationally soon after the final calls on Nov. 8.

But these sentiments were not universally well-received, and it wasn’t just Trump supporters who were upset by the reactions, either. Americans who voted for Clinton or supported Obama were frustrated that the positive statements toward the politicians came too late for their voices to truly matter. If the same individuals applied those thoughts on Election Day, America might have had a different president-elect.

It is true that prior to Election Day, Clinton was not regarded as a progressive martyr and Obama was not seen as a hero like they are now to many on social media. Millions scrutinized Clinton during her campaign, either for the scandals with her private email server or the Clinton Foundation or just her general inability to relate to voters.

The same is true for Obama. Almost every presidential action was criticized through both of his four-year terms. Before Trump was elected, the ironic #ThanksObama was more popular than the sincere #ThankYouObama.

It can be easy to be frustrated by the late support or believe it to be disingenuous after a particularly contentious election. But there is a good reason for this shift after all.

The president of the United States is the highest office in the land. The position brings enormous responsibility, and as such it is important to make sure the person who occupies it is prepared and qualified. The current president — and anyone who hopes to be the president — should be subject to criticism and closely monitored throughout their campaigns or their administration.

Neither Obama nor Clinton are perfect, and neither of them would claim to be. Though many Americans grew frustrated at the ongoing coverage of Clinton’s email investigations or the debates about Obamacare, those issues were important to many voters.

Like it or not, people have the right to access information and have opinions about that information, negative or positive. Publishing accurate information that may call into question the ability of someone to hold such a vital office is not a bad thing. It may be depressing, but it helps inform the public about the figures they may or may not support. More importantly, it keeps powerful officials accountable for their mistakes.

Gratitude after the election is equally important. Clinton will not be the next president, and Obama is almost done with his final term. Though both politicians have their flaws, they each have done a lot of good for the American society as well, and it’s important to remember that and be grateful. It is no use continuing to berate their decisions if neither of them are sitting in the Oval Office.

Ironically, all of this information does not paint a pretty picture for Trump’s next four years. The Republican nominee endured a fair amount of criticism along with Clinton throughout his campaign, but there is one crucial difference — he won.

Trump will occupy the office of the president next year, and because of this it is important for the press and the general public to aggressively monitor his actions and hold him accountable for any mistakes he makes while he is in office. But this will likely be difficult for the notoriously thin-skinned Trump to endure.

Unlike Clinton, who held strong through the public scrutiny with dignity, Trump lashed out at his haters on Twitter or at his televised rallies during his campaign. After he won the election, he met with well-known, credible news figures such as Jeff Zucker and Lester Holt to call them biased and accuse them of lying to the public.

Unfortunately for Trump, any criticism toward him is likely to increase as his inauguration nears and definitely will increase once he officially takes office, as it should. By then, he will have more power than anyone else in the country so it is necessary to monitor each of his decisions, especially since his qualifications for the office were in question during the campaign season.

Once he is in office, the challenge the president will have to face is meeting a much higher bar for how he handles the negative feedback. It is just questionable at this point whether or not Trump will actually follow that standard.

Erin Bamer can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @ErinBamer

Related Posts
No comments

There are currently no comments to show.