Sincerely, Sumner: WWIII

In the second installment of this series, Columns Editor Sumner Wallace ’20 discusses the impact of the World War III memes that have been flooding the internet.


Kiley Butcher

Sumner Wallace ’20 shares her thoughts on the WWIII memes.

President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike on Jan. 3 to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. This, like many major news events these days, resulted in a lot of internet chatter. Included in this chatter were memes proclaiming the start of World War III. While I agree that in some cases memes show an awareness and an honesty about the bizarre reality of the world we live in, I think in this case—no matter how honest—they are in poor taste.

Although the rising tensions and potential for war may be uncomfortable and scary for some in the United States, this is not a situation to make light of with more memes. To start, Americans living in the US face no real threat. Due to the sheer size of the United States, it is unlikely that any other world power would be able to invade it. However, it is a certainty that Iran is vulnerable to invasion. 

In addition, many memes have brought up worries of being drafted into the military. This is also unlikely. In order for anyone to be drafted, congress would have to reinstate the draft—a move that would receive serious backlash in this current political and social climate. New military technology, like drones, reduce the need for man-power as well, making a draft unnecessary. 

This is not a situation to make light of with more memes.”

— Sumner Wallace '20

The World War III memes are self-centered and insensitive. The mere fact that people are making cheap jokes off the suffering of millions of Iranian citizens for internet clout and laughs is despicable. As there is no imminent threat to the American teens and twenty-somethings spreading the memes, there is no reason for them to be using comedy to cope. Posting #WWIII #relatable belittles the lives of Iranians and any other group affected by the conflict. These people are not “Kyles” or “Karens”. They are real people.

As well as being greatly insensitive, the memes give Trump more airtime (whether intentional or unintentional) and distract from the consequences of the poor decisions he has made. Trump does not need more publicity. His Twitter alone does enough damage without the rest of the internet tagging along.

This is not World War III. And anyone who insists it is by continuing to post about it should be prepared to deal with the fact that it was their president that started it.

To anyone that has the time, the energy and the platform to make these memes—try spreading awareness, creating change, or just shutting up for once.