Op-ed: I know I'm right
We have all witnessed this on a social media platform: A bright individual posts a controversial comment, and the thread then lights up with a frenzy of activity. Extremely opinionated people come out of the woodwork to spout their views (which should obviously beat all other opinions). Every so often, one of the debaters will say he will post one last comment about the issue, but then the rebuttal will rekindle the flames and lure him back into the immensely important battle of proving himself correct and the other an imbecile. But what if these comment debates are not as ridiculous as some believe?
The debate starts out with an innocent little post— clearly not meant to instigate a fight. For example, under a YouTube video about wilderness survival, one of these comment debaters might post, “Want to know one of the worst things happening in this country? Abortion!!! If you support it, you’re the type of Democrat that ruins this country!” The setting and wording plainly prove the poster had no intention of sparking a debate and challenging others. One would obviously only write that type of comment if he does not have any time on his hands and does not want to get into any sort of conflict. Especially under a completely unrelated video.
The debate then gets innocently kick-started when another opinionated YouTube browser stumbles upon the comment. Correctly thinking it better for him to angrily reply rather than maturely pass by, he types out an unoffending response: “And THIS shows why we can’t elect Trump president! Republican morons will take away all our rights! Pro-choice! Pro-gay rights!” By intelligently choosing to throw politics, presidential candidates, abortion, and gay rights into his post, the responder ensures that he will not have to waste a good hour replying to anyone who might read his post. He could not possibly think that any of the topics he mashed into his post would elicit a reaction from others or in any way offend them. Why would they?
Unfortunately, in a terrible and unforeseen series of events, the initial poster reads the reply and simply cannot contain himself. He fires back with a reasonable post: “And you think Hillary would act any better? She has stolen top-secret govrenment files!! This clearly proves my point: https://www.anyonebuthillary.org/completely_unbiased_article_attacking_hilla
ry_without_any_sources/Wr86Q5b.” With the debate started, the initial poster does not see a problem with continuing the process. After all, he has to defend his stance -- what if another person thought him wrong? How could he continue to function? One can perfectly understand the reasoning behind trying to fight back and protect his beliefs— it truly matters if an anonymous YouTube browser he will never meet again does not agree with him.
Because no points raised in these comment debates will ever change a person’s mind, the respondent does not bother to read the article, knowing full well that it contains nothing that could possibly sway him from his views. Instead of trying to defend Hillary, however (maybe she did steal government files— he honestly did not read enough on her to know, and he would still support her if she had), he chooses an even better reply: “You moron -- you spelled government wrong. Clearly you don’t know anything, so I’ll end this debate right here.” Because he knows those words would in no way offend his opponent and would thus effectively terminate the debate. Right?
Comment debates illuminate an incredibly intelligent aspect of the human race. Participants in these debates clearly recognize the importance of defending their opinions to complete strangers they will never meet again. Time and time again, results of these debates have proven that the arguments presented will not change a debater’s opinion— but people still engage in this important, time-honored tradition. A few odd individuals might wonder why some think comment debates necessary, viewing them as pointless activities that people waste time on, offend people with, and should basically do away with completely. For many, that seems like a good idea. But for a select, special few, comment debates have become the only way they can build their self-esteem— yet, ironically, tear others down in the process.
However, if opponents of these debates win out, and people come to their senses and get rid of comment debates entirely, how then would humanity proceed? How could people solidify their self-esteem? Certainly not through building others up, talking face-to-face?
This opinion piece reflects the opinion of the stated author. It does not constitute an official position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, nor the editorial board or advisor of LSNews.org. Questions or concerns can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
--Nathan Musser, Special to LSNews.org
Edited: AD, BP