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Melania Trump speaking about her "Be Best" initiative. Photo Credit: Andrew Hamik/AP
Melania Trump speaking about her "Be Best" initiative. Photo Credit: Andrew Hamik/AP

Melania Trump's anti-bullying campaign is needed for young people

While First Lady Melania Trump's "Be Best" campaign aims to teach young people to be kind to others, her husband doesn't seem to adhere to this principle.

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When First Lady Melania Trump launched her "Be Best" campaign in May 2018, it was met, understandably, with some mixed reactions.

On one hand, creating a campaign to address issues that so many young people encounter — well-being, social media, opioid abuse — is undoubtedly needed.

However, the campaign falls a bit short when cyberbullying, one of the main pillars of the initiative, is displayed on a regular basis by the most powerful person in the country.

President Donald Trump often takes to Twitter to insult people, from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton, Colin Kaepernick to Robert De Niro, LeBron James to Omarosa Manigault Newman... The list goes on. Meanwhile, Melania's "Be Best" platform states “it is our responsibility as adults to educate and reinforce to them that when they are using their voices—whether verbally or online—they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.”

That's objectively great advice to give to young people, and adults should be the ones best equipped to give them those lessons, but the president of the United States, the leader of the free world, continuously uses social media in the very way that his wife's campaign is actively working against. Generally, the president fails to choose his words wisely, often speaking with disrespect and a lack of compassion.

Due to his status, President Trump’s voice is louder than anyone else’s. What he posts on social media is seen and read with impossible speed by thousands of people. His behavior is at the forefront of the national public sphere and, if nothing else, proves that cyberbullying can originate from people of all ages and professions. It also affirms that anyone can be a target.  

Social media was created with positive intentions, allowing people to communicate with each other and stay in touch from afar. The president, though, takes this well-intentioned creation, time and time again, to its negative extreme.

Bullying has long been an issue that society must address, but cyberbullying is a fairly new concept, bearing many of the same effects of the traditional forms of bullying. More attention needs to be brought to this issue and Melania Trump deserves praise for her efforts to do so, but it cannot be ignored that her influential husband has set a terrible example for American youth with his own cyberbullying, whether intentionally or otherwise.

The "Be Best" campaign is nice to have, but treating others well both online and in person shouldn’t be above anyone — including the president.

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