Be aware of social media pluses, minuses, Clyburn urges
By: THALIA BUTTS, Panther editor
Oct 20, 2020
In this image from video, Congressman James Clyburn speaks from Charleston during the Democratic National Convention in August. (Democratic National Convention)
U.S. Congressman James “Jim” Clyburn sees the 2020 election determining the future of democracy and hopes to galvanize young people to get involved.
As South Carolina’s 6th District representative for over 20 years, the Democratic leader has served generations of South Carolinians in the Capitol. Though, to this generation, Clyburn’s message focuses on being an active participant in building the world they want to see.
“Don’t wait to be asked. Get involved in the political process. Find a candidate or cause that you believe in and latch on,” Clyburn said during a virtual press conference with collegiate editors and reporters on Oct. 8.
With Gen Z (people ages 18-23) projected to make up 10% of eligible voters, this presidential election is the first for many young voters, who are also looking to be the most diverse group of voters this election season.
As a demographic with access and use of social media sites like Instagram, which has integrated a voter resource tool into its platform, young voters are urged by Clyburn to be discerning about information on social media.
“Social media is one of the best things that ever happened. Social media is one of the worst things that ever happened. Just like everything else, it’s how you use it,” Clyburn said.
“What has happened is that … young people don’t spend enough time separating the wheat from the chaff. There’s too much garbage on the internet.”
Some social media sites have taken initiative on helping voters separate the wheat from the chaff regarding information on their platforms. Twitter has taken its fact-checking efforts as far as flagging President Donald Trump’s tweet in May as inaccurate and providing a link to a variety of resources. Other websites have also dedicated their efforts to helping people escape false information.
Clyburn also pushed young people to get involved in whatever matters most to them, even if it doesn’t come with pay.
“Find something to do for which you’re not paid. The rewards out of life come from the stuff that you do beyond the expected and beyond that which is required,” Clyburn said.
“When I was at South Carolina State’s campus, we didn’t ask them to let us demonstrate. They outlawed the NAACP on that campus. When I was a student, you were not allowed to be a member of the NAACP. Teachers were fired when they joined.”
As many college students across the country prepare for what may be the most memorable election in their lives thus far, Clyburn urges young voters to engage with their communities.
“Find the cause or candidate that you’re interested in and latch onto them.”
And for South Carolinians, Clyburn had a very specific request regarding voting in this election.
“Vote absentee early in South Carolina and vote in-person. Don’t mail the ballot in unless you just have to. Vote in-person. If Joe Biden loses this election, I think it will tantamount to giving up the pursuit of perfection.”