To the Editor:
I have grown increasingly discouraged by the way that we have political “discussions” in this country. The type of dialogue that has normally been reserved for anonymous comments is pushing into the mainstream. Twitter has always been a poor platform for quality, meaningful conversation because of the character limit and ability to remain anonymous, but now that our president relies on this for his communication, the political sphere has followed.
We have long warned others about “internet trolls,” but now we are finding blurred lines where people are lining up to trade incendiary, derogatory statements and name-calling in the hopes that they will hurt or discourage anyone who does not agree with them. I would love to see a candid discussion free from the use of “Libtard” or “Snowflake.”
It is also more difficult to have a conversation that entails point vs counterpoint. Two argument tactics have taken over: “whataboutism” and “assumed moral superiority.” These discussion styles set us back from opinions to arguments.
Whataboutism purely tries to discredit an opponent by bringing up unrelated topics, but never actually addressing the original point. The basis in this tactic is, ironically, Russian/Soviet propaganda.
Assumed moral superiority takes a leap that your opponent would undoubtedly do much worse, based solely on your opinion of that person. Again, this does not address the original point of discussion, and makes a baseless assumption.
I understand that this is a volatile time in our country’s political environment, but I truly worry for our long-term health and interpersonal relationships if we continue to condone this sort of dialogue. Opinions should be evaluated based on their merits and the facts that they present to support, not on the number of opponents that you can drag through the dirt.