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Tik Tok, Please Stop Giving Kaitlin Bennett a Platform

Kaitlin Bennett is an American gun-rights activist, anti-abortion advocate, and right-wing media personality. Her claim to fame is a political stunt in 2018, where she used an AR-10 as a prop in her graduation photos at Kent State University, which was, ironically, the site of a mass shooting in 1970, resulting in the deaths of four students.

After graduating from college, Bennett had amassed quite a following within the right-wing media circles. She can now be found on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ network famous for denying the holocaust- “Infowars”- or the libertarian alternative news source- “Liberty Hangout.” 

Kaitlin Bennett represents a nationalist ideology that is on the rise, not only in America but across the globe. Many countries, including Italy, India, and Hungary, have been subject to recent increases in nationalist rhetoric, which has resulted in instability and conflict. Bennett’s brand is founded on “owning the libs,” meaning to dominate liberals on the internet, and eventually on the streets. Some have coined a term for such behavior, “Trumpism.” Dictionary.com defines Trumpism as the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters. Her videos continuously go viral, featuring her being combative with random strangers on the street. 

However, the sensation of Kaitlin Bennett is no coincidence- and it speaks to a much larger problem in today’s culture. She intentionally spews hate against those who disagree with her, uploads videos of the interactions to her Youtube channel. She patiently waits for the backlash to erupt online- particularly on Twitter. Why does she do this? It’s quite simple actually; because we let her. Initially, Bennett was an average college student who took her gun rights activism a little too far. However, because of the uproar and ensuing attention, she now has a platform and resources she can use to further facilitate division and polarization throughout the internet, which spills over into everyday life for many.
Bennett herself has addressed the fact that her opposers are the very reason she has a platform at all.

So the question is asked, why do we continue to facilitate behavior that is ultimately damaging to society? Regardless of your political beliefs, everyone can agree extremist behavior exhibited by Bennett, is harmful to any possibility of civility or even traditional disagreement within politics. 

In the age of the internet, it is imperative and essential to our democracy that we learn to agree to disagree, and that starts with the conclusion of attention given to media personalities who serve as caricatures for those we tend to label as “other.” Bennett isn’t the cause of such conflict; she is merely a symptom. Political discourse is inevitable, but many who have lived through times of discourse say now is notably worse. I can imagine there are plenty of Democrats who see Kaitlin Bennett as an accurate representation of all Republicans. I can also imagine plenty of Republicans who listen to Bennett’s inaccurate account of Democrats and take that as the truth. It is essential we rely on our personal experiences with those around us, and befriend people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and ideologies to combat political “activists” like Bennett. 

 

I'm a student at the University of Montevallo pursuing degrees in Political Science and Multimedia Journalism. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, and watching Netflix comedy specials.
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