Students debate political opinions’ presence on social media

Chloe Perel, Editor-In-Chief

Thank you, keyboard warrior, for the outstanding gallantry you demonstrated in the comment section.

Growing up in the partisan area we do, it’s easy to fall into the habit of recycling the same ideas given to us. And why not? What’s so bad about believing the same things as everyone else around us? Well, this mindset ultimately leaves us intolerant of other viewpoints, evident in the recent backlash over a pro-life Instagram picture.

The photo in reference is of a girl holding a sign saying “stop abortion now.” It’s captioned, “save the babies #prolife” complete with a heart emoji. Over 2,541 comments were posted underneath.

The hate over this picture was not only excessive, it was unwarranted. To make things clear, I’m not defending the person who posted this or any political beliefs. I’m merely defending the principle of being able to express what you believe without castigation in return.

The post was an expression of free speech, with no direct reference toward any pro-choice group. It had no malicious intent. Yet, the person who posted was met with threats. Most disturbingly, people were joking about her getting pregnant, or even raped. All because of a picture.

It doesn’t matter whether one has liberal views or conservative ones, everyone has the right to freely express their beliefs. It needs to be understood that everyone was raised differently and everyone has had different experiences in their life. We ostracize those who have different opinions than ours then reprimand Fox journalist Tucker Carlson and InfoWars operator Alex Jones for doing the same.

Obviously, views that are rooted in hate and prejudice against a specific group should be condemned. But, as much as you might like to believe otherwise, the official GOP platform actually isn’t pro-racism or anti-women.

Sorry, but the Obamas aren’t gonna come kiss your forehead and tuck you into bed at night for tweeting that Republicans are disgusting. Same goes for the opposite side of the spectrum; you’re not doing your country a service by posting about “idiot snowflakes.” I wouldn’t expect your Purple Heart in the mail anytime soon.

Our peers shouldn’t double as our adversaries. In a time where two groups are as polarized as they are, we should be doing all in our power to engage in positive discourse. I strongly advise those with an inclination to shut out challenging opinions to, instead, have a conversation with someone whose beliefs are different than your own. You may learn something.

I’m all for being politically active. Go to your rallies, your protests, your local representatives and share your views. Stop the bigotry, the partisanship. Endorse your own beliefs. But, the second you turn and scorn those with differing opinions, you’re undermining any point you think you’re making.

So, stop with the “block me if you’re this” or “unfollow me if you’re that.” If you see something you don’t like on social media, you can just keep scrolling.