This presidential campaign has been quite a trip and as of now, the only thing that anybody can agree on is that they want it to be over already. It appears that the two final contenders will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Each side insists that the opposing candidate contains multitudes of supervillain-level evil and it seems to me that this is clearly the darkest time humanity has ever endured. However, if society is crumbling, the internet can’t stop laughing about it. The most apt political commentary is coming from the funny and frustrated millennials behind the memes.
Memes have somehow become the voice of our generation. The simple thought that Ted Cruz looks like the Zodiac Killer had thousands of voices cackling in unison, causing enough commotion that Cruz’s wife was forced to address the unseemly allegations.
From the wildly inane to the wildly accurate, they encapsulate the many emotions that we have running around in our heads at any time and make it funny.
Our cultural consciousness on media, entertainment, justice and politics are defined by trending hashtags and the endless GIFs and running jokes that come with them. Rather than being written off as cheap humor, youth culture with all of its boundless creativity and goofiness has become the cornerstone of social media.
“In 2016, nothing expresses the complicated feelings that come with the whirlwind of this election quite like a picture of a teary-eyed Chihuahua.”
Memes are a force that several campaigns have suffered from and more have tried to capitalize off of. Only millennials could turn a pun as bad as #FeelTheBern into a phenomenon. A large part of the public perception is now defined by social media and politicians are often subject to criticism and ridicule. But more frequently, these memes and trending hashtags fuel public discourse driven by marginalized communities in a way that would not ordinarily be explored in mainstream media.
In 2016, nothing expresses the complicated feelings that come with the whirlwind of this election quite like a picture of a teary-eyed Chihuahua. Civil disobedience is alive and well, it’s just a lot funnier now.
More recently, in response to Bernie Sanders falling behind and Clinton taking a definite lead as the presumptive Democratic nominee, #GirlIGuessImWithHer began trending. The black community on Twitter voiced their ambivalence toward Clinton using countless GIFs of women from reality shows in all states of distress and various pictures of sad puppies.
As absurd as it sounds, for many, that’s what the election has come down to. For example, rather than going into an exhausting discussion on why Clinton’s take on mass incarceration and foreign policy is troubling to me, my feelings are better defined by a picture of a sad otter wrapped in a blanket.
No matter how the election turns out, it is safe to say that memes will remain an outlet for marginalized communities to voice criticisms and to initiate public discourse. Begrudgingly voting Hillary or Trump into office is only the beginning of a renaissance of dumb jokes that will never cease and I for one feel very sly moon-face emoji about it.