On The Flip Side
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
In the midst of the presidential election, students are speaking out. But their opinions don’t just encompass the politician’s policies: the act of students voicing their views in general has caused a stir. Should young people make their voices heard and utilize social media to do so? Or, should they keep quiet as a result of ignorance on the main issues?
Individual Beliefs Inspire Ideas:
As I write this opinion, I’m currently watching the third and final presidential debate. As the debate proceeds, my Facebook and Twitter feeds are continuously blowing up with comments, opinions, outrages, support—any and every type of response one could expect. Many of the comments I see, I don’t support. Many of the comments I hear, I don’t understand. Furthermore, many of these comments come from people who frankly don’t know what they’re talking about. But on the other hand, many of them do. All I have to say is, thank goodness people are talking.
Growing up, I was always discouraged when I heard kids and teenagers referred to as lost, uneducated, and ignorant. What was it that made an adult’s opinion that much better than mine? Of course, the older I get the more I recognize how little I know. But with that being said, American students currently enrolled in a higher educational institution are among the most privileged people in the world. Statistics claim we are among the top 1 percent in terms of wealth and comfort of life. If we aren’t in a position to weigh in on the important issues, who is?
So what about those people who think they know everything? The ones spewing false facts left and right, the ones updating their Facebook statuses every two minutes during a debate, the ones shoving their opinions down your throat. You all know them. But at least they’re talking. At least they’re informed—or somewhat so. At least they care enough to share their views so passionately. While I strongly oppose shoving your views in someone’s face to persuade them, I support strong, vocal views.
Sitting on the floor with my roommates, discussing the debate, talking about the tough issues: this is what education of the whole person is all about. This is education outside the classroom. This election is a prime example of collegiate America having a voice. This is our time to affect change in our nation—and it’s up to us to speak out and utilize that opportunity. I am so thankful that everyone is talking about the issues plaguing our country. I am so thankful the political talk is invading every part of life on college campuses and social media feeds. But mostly, I am so thankful to have a voice.
Empowering The Misinformed
I also happened to watch the third installment of the presidential debates. Despite the always humorous and yet completely irrelevant petty comments and sass infused in the arguments of each of the candidates, what I found equally humorous and yet equally petty and irrelevant was much of the commentary from my friends and peers on Twitter. I don’t mind everybody speaking his or her mind. It’s free speech, after all. My frustration comes from the social media wars I saw erupting between my friends over misinformation and irrelevant ad hominem attacks. College students and young adults especially should think before they speak.
What I find incredible about social media is the ability for people to digest information and opinions at the click of a button. Everyone has an opinion, and this provides as good an opportunity to voice it as anything. The Internet allows people to share opinions safely from the comfort of their chairs, without having to lose their respective tempers in a personal argument. It allows multiple voices to respond, and I appreciate the information from news organizations on various outlets. I myself have not decided who is the best choice. I am still looking for a good reason to support either candidate. Yet I find my peers trying to imitate Jon Stewart without doing the research to support their crude jokes and wildly absurd comments. It turns me off from the entire idea of trying to figure out a candidate to support. How can my friends be making choices when they post opinions that have no base or substance? There is no chance given to the other candidate—they are always wrong. Opinions empower, but also allow that person to be judged. An ignorant comment, to me, matches an ignorant thinker.
I’m not trying to preach and say that we should live in a perfect world where everyone has civilized, educated conversations on politics and where only people who can do this should be allowed to voice their opinions. I know this is not reasonable to expect, but I think that our age group is better than this.