Politically, America is going through a rough time. Among all the rising movements, the election, and various protests going on around the country, it is an exciting time to be a young adult interested in politics. Besides, isn’t that part of “adulting?” You know, voting, being informed, debating, etc.?
Well, yes. But an outrageous problem has reared its head amidst the sharing of opinions and facts: people don’t know how to be civil. Politics is not a game of Simon Says. You don’t win based on whether or not you stand up (or take a seat) when faced with certain issues. You win when you can voice an argument that logically overshadows another’s. I’m not saying feelings don’t factor in (of course they do), but lately, people only seem to focus on how they feel and totally skip the step of becoming factually informed. Our generation seems so proud of our ability to “adult,” but when it comes to voicing political opinions, never have people appeared more childish. It is a wonderful thing to be informed and have an opinion, and it is an even more wonderful thing to be able to use our First Amendment freedom to voice these opinions. We all have the right to speak out.
I’m going to say that one more time for the people in the back.
We all have First Amendment freedoms. Now, this is important because when scrolling down Facebook posts or reading comments on articles pertaining to this election, it is not unusual for one of the top comments to be something that contributes nothing to the discussion, but rather just places a personal attack on anyone with an opposing view. Telling someone to shut up isn’t a debate. Telling someone to get out because they disagree isn’t an argument. Politics is a back-and-forth conversation of each side sharing and defending their side, and for it to be a conversation, both sides must be present. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion, and not taking the time to listen or understand the other side can end up being more detrimental to you than it is to them.
Having conviction and getting excited is fine; screaming in people’s faces and attacking them just because their views differ from yours is not. Should someone just give it some thought, it’s easy to see how being able to calmly listen and respond to your opponents would not only make for a calmer political atmosphere but also puts you in a better position to defend your view. As voters, it is our job to be informed of the facts, not just the feels. Part of becoming informed is knowing what the other side thinks, having the ability to civilly discuss what’s going on, and being able to defend our views to that. As the younger voters, it is even more important for us to develop habits of becoming informed.