Last week, economics professor Dave Brat shocked the political world with his stunning 11 point upset of Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA), the majority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brat’s campaign was engineered by 23 year-old Zachary Werrell, a graduate of Haveford College who was working on only his second political campaign. Werrell has since found himself in the spotlight, but not entirely for good reasons: he was forced to scrub his Facebook page after a variety of controversies surfaced about the content therein.
As first noted by Yahoo!, and subsequently Gawker, Werrell had some pretty controversial content on his Facebook profile. In one post, he implied that being pro-choice meant you shouldn’t be outraged by George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin:
He feels that states should be allowed to secede from the United States:
In other posts, Werrell:
- Said that there is a “war on boys” and posted a story that called for ending female teachers in all boys/co-ed schools.
- Called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.
In response, Werrell removed the content on the page or made it private so that the general public couldn’t see it.
As a 23 year old, I suspect that Werrell has used Facebook for most (if not all) of his adult life. This incident is also symptomatic of something we are all going to see more and more in politics: younger generations getting nailed for doing stupid things on Facebook. In many circumstances (though not these, I’d argue), incidents in which younger people have used social media to post pictures of themselves doing stupid things will require more patience and tolerance from us. After all, all of us have done something stupid at some point in our lives that we’d rather not see published to the world. Unfortunately, many members of the current generation of high school and college students seem to have a reflex to document every aspect of their lives – including the more unsavory ones. This is something of which society will have to learn to get more tolerant.
However, as far as I am concerned, that does not excuse Werrell’s comments. The comments noted here were made in September and October 2013, less than a year ago, so it’s not as if Werrell can write them off as indicative of his foolish youth. As for young men and women in general: please, please, I am begging you, think about what you post!!