Priscilla Olaya Yeverino
I’ve always loved politics. “Loved” like I’ve always loved museums and zoos: the mere idea of them, like some distant society, only to be visited once a year.
I remember scrolling through my Pinterest account, swiping past old photos of JFK and other iconic images of American royalty and landing on a picture of a young Hillary and Bill Clinton. I stared at it and it made me feel good. At this point, I knew only that she was running for president, and had lost the prior election – to President Obama, who I voted for at a still very green 20 years old.
That picture made me feel good because of my institutional human feelings. Hillary Clinton is a woman; I identify as a feminist. Hillary Clinton was a running as a democrat; I’m a minority. Hillary Clinton had endured an unimaginable national embarrassment; women love stories in which other women redeem themselves. To me, the “redeeming” quality was such a simple and frankly, stupid train of thought. A man cheated on his wife and now it was her turn to claim the throne.
Also, let’s be honest. Hillary Clinton was drop dead gorgeous- and she still is, even at 68. I am vain. It was an extremely vapid thought.
To top it all off, I’ve always romanticized old pictures, power couples, and “celebrity royalty” culture, all detrimental to my view of politics at the time. It was skewed, it was all skewed. Thanks, again, Pinterest.
Then I remember becoming a more active user on Facebook. This was the second wave- the first time had been in high school, when my friends and I only used it to upload homecoming pictures and keep updated on social events- now we were grown up. We cared about big people stuff. We were boring.
I had recently impulsively added an old co-worker of mine- she’d been in my “People You May Know” for a while, and I always thought of her as super sweet, so I clicked. Little did I know, this Friend Request would lead to my undoing and rebirth and everything in between.
At first, I ignored her posts. She seemed mildly angry and her posts read like she was yelling. Other times, frankly, it was all too much information.
Who the hell was this really old guy she posted about every day? Why did he care so much and why was HE so angry all the time?
Then I became interested. I remember the first article I read about Bernie Sanders was about such an obscure issue to me: big banks. I read carefully, then I did my research.
I remember in 2011, as a freshman, how much I loved my political science class. “Loved” like I love zoos. I remember having to take some ideology quiz and after some Googling, I found it: ISideWith.com.
The rest is history. I matched with Bernie and it was like some heavenly Tinder match with the perfect guy. I stopped looking- I had found the answer to all the prayers I didn’t know I had made.
I binge-watched his videos throughout the years, I researched him, Googled him, Yahooed him, Facebooked him and everything in between. I shared articles and liked statuses and joined Facebook groups. I was truly, madly, deeply Feeling the Bern.
I got the chance to see Bernie Sanders at his rally in Grand Prairie on February 27th. I was late to work, but nothing else mattered. It was the closest I’ve been to a religious experience. I cried and left crying and it was in that moment that I knew that I no longer “loved” politics like I love zoos. I hate politics now, but I know I need it… I need it like water.
That fall, I went to my advisor and asked her to add Political Science as my minor. I felt like I was changing my name. In a way, I was. I was changing my identity and I knew it was final. There was no going back.
The most surprising thing to me, when I think of this election is not the election itself, but my personal experience with the election.
Would I have idolized the Clintons had I not had a Pinterest account? Or would I have broken through that, as time had gone on, had I watched enough Fox News to subconsciously change my mind about HRC?
Would I have been inspired and changed by Bernie had I not added my now roommate on Facebook? Or would I have cast off Bernie Sanders as the crazy socialist both CNN and NBC paint him out to be?
TV and social media are completely separate entities, but where social media ends and my original ideas begin, I have yet to find out.