Abandon Uncivil Discourse

by Anika Mittu ’19

 After participating in a rise of activism and attending gun control marches across the nation, many teenagers decide to use social media as a tool to post pictures from the protests and voice their anger towards policymakers. Yet, expressing these sentiments online often involves confronting a comment section that includes unfiltered opposing opinions.

 While most students respond to these statements by engaging in a respectful debate, some begin insulting the individual who dared to express a conflicting idea. As soon as these attacks are digitally published, the issue at hand is no longer solely about gun control. The debate becomes focused on making others feel small based on one of their personal beliefs- without actually developing understanding between the two sides of the issue. These teenagers face a nation where over 50% of democrats and republicans have highly unfavorable views of the other party, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center study. Rather than building comprehension as to why members of the opposing ideology remain pro-gun after school shooting tragedies, or attempting to persuade individuals to defend children’s lives over the second amendment, these comments only serve to create a hateful dialogue between the parties. In a political realm of increasing polarization, the nation needs the few teens who have not yet learned to participate in political discourse without personally attacking their critics to do so immediately.