Never Have I Ever: Navigating Politics On Social Media

Great Scott! When I woke up on November 9, 2016, it felt like someone had altered the "spacetime continuum," that delicate pivot point that can cause life as we know it to take flight in another direction--and so famously held sacred to preserve by Dr. Emmett Brown or "Doc" in the series of Back to the Future films.

As the numbers finally added up to a Donald Trump win, Americans went to bed either drunk on victory, or thinking it must all be a dream. What happened? What went askew from the polls predicting the U.S. would have its first female president? How did Trump clench the country's most important job while Clinton won the popular vote?

Election 2016 will go down in history as a huge political upset and more so, an unprecedented turning point in the U.S. electoral process. But for every American, the vote was personal. How do I ensure a better future for my family? Who is the best candidate to lead the country toward prosperity, and equality? Will my vote turn hope into real progress?

The answer was debated with clever comedy, on cable news shows, by daytime talk show hosts, and it became the ubiquitous topic on social media. When I jumped in, it felt like Ellen DeGeneres' game, "Never Have I Ever." On the Ellen show, Ellen asks celebrities a series of personal questions and they have to hold up their paddles. One side of the paddle says, "I Have" while the other side says, "I Have Never." Once she asked Drake and Jared Leto, "Have you ever hooked up with a fan?" Through the game, we also learned that Jane Fonda is a member of the "mile high club" and that Martha Stewart has "sexted." The point, says Ellen, is you have to be honest.

Never have I ever talked politics on Facebook before but during this year of campaigning, I spoke out. I wrote based on facts, on my own values, and with honesty. I should be able to engage on political topics with friends via "likes" or "comments." As many other FB folks probably experienced, political posting may result in an onslaught of rhetoric as one's friends--who don't know each other themselves--readily pecked out their opinions and hurled their arguments at one another, all on a digital platform.

Man-on-the-street interviews on our local news illustrated mixed reaction to the election results: "He promises to feed the people." vs. "All the progress that has been made is going to fall apart." Others interviewed were concerned about expressing their opinion publicly.

After it was clear that the electoral college would send Donald J. Trump to the White House, I went public and wrote on FB, "Americans need a big "O" happy ending to fall asleep tonight but the country remains restless. 'Tomorrow is another day.' He may win but can he lead? Now he will feel even more entitled to grab women but watch out Donald, now you will finally have to be ACCOUNTABLE for your actions to constituents of all colors, genders, and religious beliefs. All Americans, support accountability."

Yes, I was trying to keep it light at the beginning but I was completely serious by the end. Got some likes as most of our FB friends think like ourselves. But one comment, from a female Trump supporter, surprised me. She wrote, "What a sore loser. What a sad thing to say. So he's no different then Bill Clinton.. Clinton still ran the Country. I don't have the answers. But maybe Trump will surprise you."

I'm not sore. Neither did I defend Bill Clinton. I hope we will be surprised and if Trump's scripted victory speech--clearly the most humble Trump we've heard--is any indication, he may very well proceed with diplomacy, measured responses (especially on the global stage), and above all, genuine respect for women and people of all cultures and religions.

I guess we'll have to go to Twitter to find out.