I’m falling into a trend… the trend of a rising percentage of young adults getting much of their news online and on their phones. Most online news sites have a comment section; open to anyone to sign up. Usually, I scroll through the comment section after finishing the article to see what is on the brain of the politically minded. With a subject as serious as political matters, I would expect civility and respect among people giving their point-of-view on the subject. Unfortunately, not true. Instead I find hatred and intolerance beyond anything I could ever find in person.
Anonymous posting has destroyed civility. People hide behind a keyboard, say anything with likely no consequence. Trolling, hatred and bigotry are commonplace, cloaked by a website, which makes them feel invincible; most rational of arguments cannot defeat. Have you ever said something rational only to be called a series of expletives and libelous names for having a different political opinion than someone? I know I have. This behavior has even started to seep into our face-to-face discussions as well and has effected our relationships with our neighbors, friends and families.
Who should be our shining example of how we should responsibly conduct ourselves? You would think it would be our elected officials, but they do the same that we see online every day. They demonize one another instead of having open, honest debates on a subject. They do interviews on talk shows and radio where their purpose for their elections seems to be degrading their political opponents back in Washington instead of hammering out solutions to America’s problems. No wonder our overall opinion of our Congress, presidency and government as an entity is so low.
How can we change these examples that have become part of our lives through means of our senses? What can we do to change the culture of intolerance and reflex hatred? The answer, start with us.
We can start by having an opinion based on unbiased facts instead of the never-ending political rhetoric. We can examine the facts on each side of the subject before forming our opinion. It would be a sight to see if people began to back off using rhetoric and use calmly conveyed wisdom instead of division tactics. Even if someone responds with hatred towards us, being the calm and educated debater should give anyone a sense of pride that short fused rhetoric responses can never give us. If you do not know what you believe then what is the point in trying to change someone else’s beliefs in the first place? While our politicians cannot make the differences they are elected to make, we can educate ourselves and calmly discuss so we can begin to reach solutions in our culture. Let us show our government what it means to be respectable leaders and let us come to solutions instead of creating more division.