The Time For Civil Political Discourse Has Sadly Vanished
I just remembered why I stopped responding to political pages ages ago: the trolls and nasty responders. It’s the thing I truly HATE about social media. People sit behind their computers and vent their rage at people they don’t know personally. It’s inhuman. I make it a practice never to post to those threads haphazardly/when I’m in a foul mood. I do my homework and make comments based on truisms (or at least, I check my facts on anything iffy before hitting “post’), although there’s always going to be a great degree of opinion when it comes to politics. That’s the nature of the beast.
Sooner or later, without fail, along comes some personal pot shot at me that has nothing whatsoever to do with my post. And since I’ve taught a course in rhetoric, I’m quick to remind these bullies of their dire logical fallacies. However, it seems every time I write on one of these threads something else happens too: I get a sizable number of “likes” from people who appreciate my opinion. Still, I find the foul-mouthed post slayers depressing and I quickly block those individuals. I’m not thinned skinned, but I do find that this particular election cycle has brought out some of the very worst in humanity. Or maybe I’m just seeing it clearly. Sadly, civil discourse seems to be an arcane formality now relegated to the distant past. I was on the debate team in high school, where we were often given resolutions to debate that we didn’t necessarily personally agree with. This was great practice in the art of civil discourse, because nobody on either team was ever personally affronted by the opposite teams’ opinions. At the end of a debate we’d all shake hands, drink coffee and introduce ourselves to one another. And always we’d remark, “great debate. And I really enjoyed your point about x…”