Generation Z Knows the Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban TikTok
It’s not just about the Chinese Communist Party — it’s about control over America’s youth.
Read the follow-up article here: https://medium.com/bigger-picture/tiktok-was-never-anything-anyone-expected-d19e77aa3234
Generation Z is a generation centered around technology and diversity. As a proud member myself, born in 2000, we have come into our own as the much more liberal and progressive version of millennials. Yet, at the same time, we are so incredibly set apart from our older counterparts.
The realities of a post-9/11 world have always been a part of our lives and the threat of complete and utter destruction of the climate has loomed above us. We are the generation that has to clean up the messes of those previous and we have been able to come together in our diversity to rebel against the status quo.
While others in history have altered societal norms and policy, Gen Z is extraordinary in that we have the technology to bring so many people together at one time. We can create a movement and spread it worldwide in a matter of hours.
We are a virtual militia.
In sticking with the militia metaphor, we have a variety of figurative virtual bases in which we congregate and strategize. With the internet being so accessible, apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have provided a unique space for us, in that we can interact with other like-minded people around the world and feel less alone.
While older people may critique us for our level of phone usage, we really turn to our phones because, especially in these times, we feel utterly helpless and ignored by those in power. We feel cast out and that no care has been taken by our older counterparts to create a sustainable future for us. We inherited a world with an infinite amount of issues, which we never asked for.
That is why we turn to our phones, so we can connect with others and form our own unique generational culture. With them, we can momentarily escape the realities of the troubled world we have been given without our consent.
One of our generation’s metaphorical bases, TikTok — an app that originated and is headquartered in China — is now at risk. President Trump has threatened to ban TikTok in the United States, all in a virtual war against the Chinese government. The reason given? That TikTok is a front for the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to intercept information on young Americans’ cellphones.
Now, I am not saying that is a total impossibility, but Trump wanting to ban TikTok has nothing to do with security. It is simply another blow he can trade with China in the U.S.-China trade war.
This is indicative of the classic U.S.-China power struggle. Nothing more. Just an attempt at a second coming of the Cold War and absolute economic dominance.
This is a behavior we have come to not only expect from Donald Trump but from the U.S. government in general. Most decisions have been more centered around continuing the American empire rather than giving actual U.S. citizens assistance or basic freedoms that have become expected in other developed nations.
The true reason behind this supposed TikTok ban, however, is not just a furthering of the wedge between the U.S. and China. The deeper layer of this is that Trump and those in power want to restrict young people’s free speech.
A catalyst was when Trump’s June reelection campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was filled with empty seats, reserved by hundreds in a mass online campaign mainly organized through TikTok. After that blow to Trump’s ego, the idea of the U.S. actually banning the platform took hold.
In a message from Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s U.S. General Manager, the app is not disappearing anytime soon, much to the relief of American users:
“We’re not planning on going anywhere … and when it comes to safety and security we are building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do.”
— Vanessa Pappas, General Manager at TikTok U.S.
See, what Trump wants to do is be a sheer authoritarian. He wants all American citizens to believe that every decision he makes is for their benefit, as opposed to a part of his massive ego trip. He does things to “put America first,” which only hinders the United States from being an active player on the world stage. And it is in attempting to regulate free speech that he believes he can accomplish his goals, with American citizens being none the wiser.
The fact is that Trump doesn’t want to ban TikTok because of supposed Chinese interference with the application and its users. Trump wants to ban TikTok because it puts a dent in his plan to be reelected in November. The president knows that young people are the future and, by regulating their freedom of speech and creativity, he can continue to further his power.
Generation Z knows that Trump disguises his attempts at authoritarianism as patriotism. We know that’s how he has been able to exploit vulnerable Americans and we won’t stand for it.
We must continue to resist and to realize that this government in its current form cannot stand. We know Trump’s obsession with reelection and we know that if we can stand in his way, we can actually put America back on track.
This is about more than TikTok — it’s about stopping the United States on its path to fascism.