Online Footprint: How Do You Communicate With Elected Officials Respectfully?

A look at how to appropriately express your distaste with local politicians–specifically, our Governor, Andy Beshear.


Gov. Andy Beshear's Office

Governor Beshear addresses an audience in a May video regarding CDC mask guidelines.

Content Warning: This article discusses sensitive material regarding politics, including references to Adolf Hitler and Fascism. 

In the era of social media, everything you do or say on the internet leaves a footprint behind. That’s why it’s so important to conduct yourself properly online–especially when talking about your elected officials.

This is where the issue that I’m addressing today begins to crop up. Time and time again, I look at our Governor’s social media pages and I am faced with people spewing hateful, racist, and inconsiderate language. No matter what your opinion on the Governor is, purposefully going to his social media pages to insult him and compare him to Hitler is wrong.

It is the right of every American to express their views and opinions, and there’s nothing wrong with doing so. However, being malicious for the sake of being malicious–especially towards those who are trying their best to serve the people who elected them–is simply not okay. To demonstrate how to correctly express your opinions online, let’s first look at some non-examples.


A screenshot from the Governor’s Twitter depicting him as Adolf Hitler (Willa Michel)

Here, we see the Governor depicted as Adolf Hitler to compare his mask mandates to the restrictive policies of Nazi Germany. This is not only insensitive but also antisemitic. It diminishes the impact World War II and its events had on the Jewish community and the world.

Instead of comparing your elected officials to racist, fascist dictators, try writing a letter to them to express your views on or issues with a certain policy (you can find templates here.) Your local elected officials are there to work with you for your benefit- if they make a policy you don’t agree with, talk to them about it in a respectful manner to make a change!


A comment left on a post on the Governor’s Instagram. (Willa Michel)

Listen, I understand being upset with the Governor in one way or another, but the answer is not to cyberbully him on his Instagram. Telling an elected official that they’re “totally worthless” isn’t going to make a substantial change politically. This is just one of many instances of hate in the Governor’s comment sections.

If you’re mad or upset about something an elected official has done, try and gather other like-minded people, form a Pandemic-friendly protest, or lobby for change!


Yet another instance of hate in the Governor’s Instagram comment section. (Willa Michel)

There were an overwhelming amount of unwarranted hate comments on the Governor’s social media pages. This in itself is an issue. Leaving mean comments isn’t effective, won’t make a difference, and, to be frank, just makes the person leaving the comment to look ignorant and immature.

Instead of venting your anger with officials on their social media pages, try to rant to someone in your personal life who will listen! Talk with friends or family about your opinions, and find respectful, not-mean, ways to express them.

Let’s recap: If you feel the urge to make non-constructive, mean, and inappropriate comments or comparisons on an elected official’s social media, step away. Instead of doing that, try giving them a call, leaving an email, sending a letter, or even forming a protest!

For Andy Beshear specifically, you can contact his office through this link.

Happy contacting! Make sure to stay respectful and considerate, even if angry.