In response to the recent news of Senator John McCain’s diagnosis of brain cancer, some social media users have made highly negative comments towards the Vietnam War veteran. These posts reveal underlying issues about how far partisanship has gone in our society.
One example of this is shown by Caitlin Johnstone, who wrote that “I sincerely, genuinely hope that Arizona Senator John McCain’s heart stops beating, and that he is subsequently declared dead by qualified medical professionals very soon,” in her article for Medium. Johnstone's statements bring up our country’s collective lack of compassion and raised an important question: Do statements that border on threats belong in the media? I’d like to hope not. However, I am still a strong supporter of free speech.
The issue is not whether people can, it is whether they should. We should face controversy with logic and reasoning instead of knee-jerk reactions. As college students, and generally heavy social media users, we are often some of the biggest perpetrators of this knee-jerk reaction. However, we often forget that we are forever representing our university and that we have a responsibility to represent it well. After seeing a death wish tweet posted by a Tulane student, my entire impression of the university shifted negatively, even though I understand how unfair it is to judge an entire school by one student’s statement.
The justification of those posting these death wishes is that McCain is a “warmonger” who does not care for the healthcare of Americans. However, recently, Senator McCain shocked both supporters and critics with his "thumbs down" vote against the Senate's last-ditch "skinny" plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now, both sides of the political spectrum have reasons to be upset at the Senator.
Luckily, not all statements were as tactless. The majority of opinions from both sides were supportive of Senator McCain's fight against cancer. Former President Barack Obama, Senator McCain's opponent in the 2008 election, tweeted this:
President Donald Trump, who has made conflicting disparaging comments about the senator in the past, stated his support for him as well.
It is important to be careful with what you tweet and to remember to retain your humanity throughout it all.
Lead Image Credit: U.S. Federal Government via Wikimedia Commons