The country seems to be gripped by election fever. I’ll be honest, I’m rather bored of it. I decided who I was going to vote for weeks ago and the snide shots, dubious ethics and sniping of Political figures and their followers is not going to change that. I will not talk too much about my constituency, or who is my political choice, but I will talk about dodgy tactics of political campaigners and their cronies on social media.
Now I am all for freedom of speech, as a whole, it is a very good thing and vitally important for a correctly functioning society. If you want to tweet “I think anyone who votes for the Underwater Ferret Strangling Party must be mentally ill” that’s OK – offensive to some, but at the end of the day that is your opinion and you are entitled to it, OK no problem. However, to direct a tweet towards an individual to declare their choice of party to vote for means they are mentally ill, then that is not OK, not OK at all. Sadly this tweet was directed towards someone on my timeline this morning.
As many of my readers know, I have had my own battle with mental illness and as far as I know my choice of political party to vote for at the next election has more to do with my personal political views, reasonable education and overall feeling that the person I am going to vote for is more likely to promote my personal views to Westminster. My current MP is about as far away as possible from me in political views.
I am aware that this morning’s tweeter is obviously very passionate about her political views and thinks that airing them with this passion on social media is a way to get other people to think this way too. She is a little misguided about what some people might find offensive. I also think (because I like to think the best of people) that of she realised that she had caused the person she had tweeted at anguish, she would feel really bad about that. I think she tweeted without thinking of the consequences her words may cause.
I find the whole thing rather saddening on a number of levels. Firstly that the old mental health stigmas are still alive and well and secondly that Twitter – a place a normally absolutely love, find I get a lot of friendships, work and social interaction because of has been sullied by trolls (who are not petty teenagers but real life grown ups!). Thirdly, I really just want people to be nice to each other, whatever their political persuasions, we are all human beings.
So tweeters, electioneerers, political people, please, if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on social media. Just be kind to each other and don’t be a Dick! If you feel like you might explode because of political fervor, take your temperature and go and lie down, you might have a case of election fever.