We should be able to partake in civil discourse online

We live in an age where politics are shoved in our faces from the minute we get out of bed to the second we shut our eyes and drift to sleep.

It’s ingrained in us as a lifestyle and is anything but healthy.

We use it to determine who our allies and enemies are when it comes to various political issues.

We become triggered when we see something on social media about Trump, Black Lives Matter, abortion, socialism, COVID-19, masks, racism and countless other 2020 controversies.

We have become so radically devoted to our politics online.

So much so, that it has become the very thing that determines our friends and enemies for life.

Today’s technology has given us the ability to engage in childish fights on someone’s Facebook feed over trendy issues, but are we really trying to have discussions with people, or are we just looking for drama?

We’ve all been in this situation before. We post something controversial and suddenly our phone explodes with dozens of notifications from people insulting us, calling us uneducated, privileged and ignorant.

It’s beyond question that social media has taken the decency and class out of political discourse.

People don’t turn to social media when they want to engage in a thoughtful and respectful political discussion.

When it comes to politics, Facebook and Instagram are two of your worst options for productive talk.

What happens is you end up getting direct messages, from strangers and those you call friends, that take 50 scrolls to reach the end.

The essay they sent you is replete with ad-hominem attacks and a whole lot of self-righteousness as they act like authorities on every major topic of discussion.

At this point, you can either respond and carry on the pointless bickering or leave well enough alone and let them bask in the self-satisfaction of getting the final word.

If you choose to respond, you end up in a back and forth texting match as you attempt to defend your position by copying and pasting links to articles you never actually read into the message box.

You type something grand, delete it, type something else, question it, delete it, try something different, edit it and sigh as you delete it all again.

You should also be prepared for them to hit you with the famous words: “So basically what you’re saying is…” Beyond a doubt, they don’t care what it is you actually said.

Politics mixed with pathos coalesce into this emotion-driven texting battle between two sides, a trend social media has created.

No matter how right, mature, and respectful you may be, the person with the opposing view will still only see you as wrong, uneducated and privileged.

Those with the fortitude to shrug these situations off their shoulders have a degree of self-control few can attain.

Social media has become the perfect breeding ground for festering political hatred and division.

Cyberbullying is the new social justice, and if someone has a belief contrary
to the media’s current trend, they’re squashed like a bug under a shoe.

Those who claim to be open to debate while simultaneously telling those who don’t agree that they don’t deserve opinions due to their privilege and ignorance are simply not willing to listen to those who disagree.

We no longer engage in thoughtful conversations; rather, we resort to meaningless hashtags, emojis and insults.

A great risk to our democracy is the unwillingness to discuss our differences and reach a consensus and understanding with one another, but an even greater threat is the false willingness to debate while picking and choosing who actually deserves the right to do so.

There’s no more hate in the world today than there was a century ago.

It has simply been given a form visible to the naked eye through social media.

Simply look at the comment section of a post from Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

You’ll instantly have access to the opinions of millions of people from around the world.

You have a premium pass with unlimited access to all the world’s false dichotomies.

Left versus right, liberal versus conservative.

Your stance on abortion becomes the sole indicator of whether you’re a good person or a bad person.

It’s not up for debate or even discussion. Everyone else is an expert, and you’re the fool.

All anyone needs to know about what kind of a person you are can be found on your Facebook thread.

We’ve reduced what it means to be human down to a hashtag and an insult.

I grew up in a world where it was OK to disagree with someone over a controversial issue.

You could still be their friend and you could still have mature discussions and learn something from it.

There’s always going to be someone out there with something smart to say.

Someone who is convinced they know everything and that everyone else is the ignorant fool.

It’s up to you to decide if people with a message are unwilling to debate or discuss get the better of you with their dismissive insults and final words.

Hopefully you’ll be able to ignore a position someone is unwilling or unable to defend.

Then just let it drift off into the meaningless void that is social media politics.

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