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Our Editorial: Political war continues online as well as off

By The Editorial Board

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While the Democratic and Republican debates for the Michigan primary have come and gone, the political war rages on on social media.

What used to be a place for posting selfies, travel pictures and connecting with those around you has turned into a battleground for politics. Timelines are flooded with arguments and insults. Shots are fired, and a simple disagreement between two people escalates into an all-encasing brawl. Political opinions quickly turn into personal attacks, which diverge from the original point a student was trying to convey.

Not only do political arguments over social media lack value, but they also cause unintentional arguments among other people.

There will be Twitter fights that first start between two people but then abruptly blow up into a combat zone. People will get themselves involved in things that have nothing to do with them for the sake of protecting their beliefs.

Why do these seemingly meaningless Twitter fights become such a problem?

Simple. Opinions are just that. Opinions. They are completely subjective and individual. Persuading someone else to agree with your viewpoint is difficult, especially when there are no facts to legitimize it. Remember that far-right Republicans aren’t going to suddenly swing-left after reading a tweet that Clinton is better suited to be president than Rubio.

If no one changes perspective, these disagreements only succeed in cluttering timelines and fostering unnecessary hatred.

These alterations go from attacking each other’s beliefs to cyberbullying. Once someone crosses the line, ceasefire. The social media posts need to stop. There is a huge difference between harassment and freedom of speech.

Since political Twitter fights accomplish nothing and can harm others, why are they still happening?

Most of us won’t be able to vote in November. It’s great to have an opinion about our country’s politics, but it’s also possible to get involved without attacking others. Social media platforms aren’t the places to prove your point in an argument, and 140 characters aren’t enough to get your views across. It’s certainly not enough to convey an opinion in a mature, effective manner. It’s best to conduct a conversation in person to save ourselves from starting a social network feud through our phone screens.

The solution to ending all of these pointless Twitter skirmishes isn’t rocket science. As horrendous as face-to-face interactions may be in the world of iPhones and social media profiles, try to look past short tweets and find the deeper meaning in them. Feel free to tweet #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, but also feel free to scroll past #FeelTheBern tweets if you don’t agree with them.

Nothing is wrong with showing your favorite candidates some love on social media, just don’t hate on others for doing the same. America is renowned for its vastly  different political philosophies. We don’t need to celebrate all views, but we don’t need to condemn them either.

We urge you to set down your phone and to think before you post. You don’t have fire back insults whenever you disagree. Save yourself from the wreckage and don’t pay the consequences later. Insults are what everyone remembers.

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