Emma Fullerton ‘22
The “Myers-Briggs 16 Personality” test shed light on many of my personality traits. I have the ENTP-T personality, which classifies me as “the debater.” Prone to playing the devil’s advocate and seeking to “flex my intellectual capacity (their words, not mine),” I have often found myself in the middle of endless debates.
Loving debates is an addictive vice of mine, which is most apparent when it comes to my engagement with comment sections. Whenever I see a controversial political post, especially one spreading fake information, my first instinct is always to check the comments. I love seeing what others are saying and learning about the general opinion on a post. However, every now and then, when I see a comment I strongly disagree with, I feel I have no other choice than to reply to it.
Picking an online fight with someone is always exciting, especially when their ideas and opinions clash so strongly with yours. I experience that very often as someone with moderate and central political beliefs. Sometimes you can get a strong back-and-forth going between you and the person you’re opposing, but other times the conversation simply ends with the very simple reply “No” with the red heart emoji attached to it (a favorite among GenZ).
Other times, my arguments end with the other side not using civil tactics. Many choose to insult me saying I lack basic intelligence or that I don’t deserve to live in America. One thing I’ve noticed throughout my online arguments is that these insults and threats aren’t specific to one opinion or belief; everyone has the option to use these ineffective argumentative tactics.
I’ve had comment section debates with a variety of people with a variety of political beliefs. The one thing that doesn’t change among anyone, however, is the rigidness of their beliefs. Not once have I ever convinced someone they were wrong. And while this may be due to the fact I am an ineffective debater, I prefer to believe that people today are simply too set in their opinions.
The growth of social media has prompted the growth of political debate and political education, especially in our generation. And while it can be a great tool for spreading ideas and sparking discussions, I believe it has helped polarized the already very divisive current political climate. Social media and comment sections have created a dangerous “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality, which is a threat to our democratic society where compromise is necessary for politics.
Like I’ve said before, no one opinion or belief is immune to this. Today, especially on social media, people simply refuse to acknowledge the flaws in their argument and the strengths in the opposing argument. This is something I have definitely struggled with as well. It can be hard to accept when you may be wrong or when you’re misinformed, but that’s simply part of the growth that is necessary to every person in order to become a less divided nation.
The content of this article, as with every article posted on The Exchanged, does not represent the views of the staff of The Exchanged nor the National Cathedral School, St. Albans School, Protestant Episcopal Foundation, or any employee thereof. Opinions written are those of the writer and the writer alone.