Trump’s accounts, down for the count

U.S.+President+Donald+Trump+boards+Marine+One+as+he+and+first+lady+Melania+Trump+depart+the+White+House+on+Jan.+20%2C+2021%2C+in+Washington%2C+D.C.+%28Eric+Thayer%2FGetty+Images%2FTNS%29

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Marine One as he and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images/TNS)

Kevin Aharrah, Print Staff

  In the weeks following the insurrection at the Capitol and the conclusion of his presidency, Donald Trump has been suspended or banned from several social media sites.  Twitter, which the former president frequented during his term, has notably decided to ban him from the platform.  Meanwhile, Trump’s account on Facebook has also been suspended for an indefinite period of time; a site-assembled panel of eventually 40 members will collaborate to determine whether his Facebook account should similarly be banned permanently.

   Trump’s presidency as a whole has highlighted the tensions between Lake Central’s political viewpoints.  These differences have come to a head during the former president’s removal from office and the preceding few months:  Trump’s supporters have scrambled to support him and his policies in the wake of the 2020 election, while opponents to his presidency scorned attempts to overturn a process central to our government.  Some felt that Trump’s removal from social media was necessary, even overdue.

   “I believe that his removals are necessary.  Although they are limiting his freedom of speech to an extent, I believe that the benefits gained by preventing further damage are greater than the drawbacks.  Donald Trump, unwilling to accept his loss in the 2020 presidential election, refused to leave office and used social media to stir his followers to bring power back to him.  For a democracy to function, especially in a tumultuous period of time, acts of violence, or encouragement of these acts, must be controlled. This is not a suppression of the 1st amendment; it is a preservation of the Union,” Nachiket Magesh (10) said.

   According to Magesh, Trump’s removal from Facebook and Twitter was proven necessary due to the recent insurrection at the Capitol.  Lake Central’s supporters of the previous president, however, found little issue with his social media usage, insisting that he used the website correctly and lawfully.

   “I believe that he can say what he wants to because of the first amendment, especially since he mainly used Twitter and other social media platforms to give out information to the public.  But it is also a private business where they can decide what they do with their websites/apps.  He has said some things that are not true, but he has also given lots of information to help the American people through previous hurricanes, such as tips and how to prepare.  Personally, I don’t think Trump deserved the bans,” Ryan Graziano (10) said.

   Trump’s banishment from social media may reflect not only the de-facto end of his presidency and influence, but also the beginning of a new political period.  It’s unclear whether President Joe Biden will make use of social media to the same extent as Trump, but these removals have still put an effective end to Trump’s common use of the site to promote populist messages.

   “Social media was a major form of communication used by the former president with his followers. However, the removals will also prevent false claims (e.g. claims that the election was illegitimate) and instigations of violence from negatively affecting Lake Central life, and life in society.  People must be willing to give Biden an opportunity to improve conditions in this country, and this comes through open-mindedness,” Magesh said.

   The conditions and political climate, both locally and on a national scale, will undoubtedly change with the shift to a new president.  Students remain hopeful that the scars of division between our political parties can heal in the future, and that conditions will improve in the wake of the pandemic.

   “Our society can have a big impact in the future.  We can see more unity or more division.  Life can improve under the new administration.  We won’t know until later in the presidency, but I hope for the best for America,” Graziano said.