Last week’s election and the entire year’s campaign cycle absorbed people’s interest people across the nation.
A tidal wave of posts took over social media outlets. Voters and non-voters alike took to message boards, walls and Twitter feeds to air their unfiltered opinions.
Some veered into disrespectful, uncivil speech.
While freedom of speech is a vital part of our society, it is not reason to fill news feeds with hate and disrespect.
Whether it was Democrats gloating about their victory or Republicans angrily lamenting their loss, the divisive statements were unbecoming.
Ironically, these polarizing, intense rants failed to recognize a basic democratic ideal—the uniting of diverse viewpoints.
By creating a dichotomy between “a good side” and “a bad side,” people discount the possibility of compromise.
They refuse to understand another person’s perspective.
Setting up this false binary means people are overlooking the full range of opinions.
These enraged posts underscore a larger issue—uncivil discourse.
Many Facebook status updates and tweets came across as demeaning.
Instead of promoting ideas, it dampens the political ideation process and discourages all parties.
We rarely see this type maliciousness play out in real life, but in cyberspace, it’s an all-out fight.
Behind the protection and distance of a screen, people can easily make a sweeping insult about a person’s beliefs.
This destroys any chance for someone to feel welcomed into political discussion.
Hearing these divisive arguments coming from fellow students was especially disheartening.
Just follow the old adage: Think before you speak.
This way, students will represent their school well.
And, more importantly, they will represent themselves and their ideologies better.
Of course people should express their opinions. But they should do so in a decent manner.
Otherwise, the true goal of social media—to connect people from disparate backgrounds— will never be achieved.