Grace Renae

United States of America

I am a firm believer that some things have no meaning, but I over-analyze them anyway.

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I love writing and always have, but I know that there are plenty of people superior in this field. Therefore, I welcome any and all constructive criticism.

Keep Your Opinions Off the Internet

October 3, 2018

I’m sure every one of you has something that you believe in strongly enough to post a rant about on one of your online accounts. Whether it be something as current as abortion, or as historical as the founding fathers’ skewed view of slavery, you most likely think this topic through in the shower, phrase an eloquent way to say it, and formulate defenses for it. Or even if you don’t, you at least think enough to form a solid opinion. When another on a website comments something against it, your heart may seize up inside and your fingers might rush across the keyboard to prove this person wrong. It’s okay, we all have something like that. For me, it’s victim-blaming.
            But it needs to stop. My proposal is to remove opinions from the internet.
            A drastic assertion, I am aware. When I say internet, I am referring to all social media (which, let’s be real, is the main use of the internet these days). Still sounds drastic?  Good, because it is supposed to. For many people, social media is the only method of communication that they use on a regular basis. It is the main influence of their thoughts and views. They post on it to defend themselves, almost as a form of comfort, where they can justify their thoughts and therefore validate their opinions. It limits negative consequences. Social media also provides a larger span of visibility, meaning that a rant placed there could earn more viewership and therefore have more influence than if they had just told it to their friend. I am aware of all these things. I am also aware that ranting is not the answer.
            There’s no other way to say it: the World Wide Web has a thriving population of people looking to fight you. Take it from me. I learned this lesson the hard way, from my friend Lane, who enjoys responding to literally every negative remark on his uber-conservative posts. Lane does not like talking to me about politics, because I believe differently than him, and each Facebook post he makes tends to have some kind of biting remark at libtards who are being special snowflakes because they need safe spaces and like not dying in school shootings—hold on, that’s a whole other speech. Anyway, I used to argue with Lane all the time on his status updates. I would go on for hours and hours about my ideas, listing every strong pillar in my argument and all the weak ones in his own, completely tearing that poor thing to bits. At the end, Lane said, “Good debate. You almost got me there.” He said it like nothing had changed, even though in my mind I had destroyed him. But he was right. Nothing had changed for him. I wasted my breath—or rather, my finger-stamina—trying to make him think like me. That was never going to work, and he’d known it all along; I was the idiot crusading through his direct messages like an overbearing commanding officer.
            I had to learn to let him be wrong on a post, and to go above the post.
            That’s right, that’s the ticket. Keep your opinions away from places where they will do nothing but make people angry. Keep them out of the comments sections on YouTube and Instagram. Don’t waste your time typing a tirade on Facebook to your great aunt Joyce about how America needs more gun control after she scrawls out a rant about how the people on your side are (excuse this word) pussies. If she posts about her support of assault weapons on Facebook, then chances are she will not sway her set beliefs because of your rushed paragraph. There is not anyone to convince there, as people seem to assume they have nothing else to learn.
            Don’t waste your energy. You do not need to justify yourself to great aunt Joyce, nor do you need to humor her need for conflict. Instead, use this opportunity to learn about what she believes and try to understand why she thinks as she does. Take that information to heart, and evaluate your own stance on the subject: has it been strengthened or weakened, can you rebut her statements or not, is she respectable enough to listen to on this subject, etc. Be the person who actually thinks on both sides. Once that is settled, use your valuable time to actually make a change.
            Did you think I was telling you to keep your opinion to yourself, and to never share it? No! If anyone tells you to do that, distance yourself from that person as soon as you can! No, keep your opinions off the internet, but put them into essays and activism. Put your opinions in books, plays, and speeches such as this one, and debate face-to-face with your snobby relatives should they provoke you. Take those opinions and paint them into your art, scatter them in your needlework, embroider them on your shirt pocket should you so wish. Don't stay behind the blueish haze of a screen, protected by anonymity. If you believe in something, and it is safe for you to believe in said thing, believe in it with your whole being and share it with bravery. Take the half-hour you'd spend making yourself sound fancy in the comments and use it to step into the sunlight for your cause.
            True belief knows no fear. Why channel all of that passion into something so temporary and frivolous as a Tweet when you can immortalize your greatest desires in five pages and take ownership of your own thoughts? You believe that your opinion is the right opinion, correct? Great! In that case, there’s no need for you to explain yourself to someone who will clearly not see it your way—especially when your treasured energy can be diverted into much more useful avenues. We have to stop playing defense, my dear generation. We are the future, and our thoughts count just as much as the thoughts of our older peers. We do not need to cower behind usernames and handles to get out points across to the masses, we should rise up from our facelessness and become the largest activists for change in our chosen areas.
            Ironic, isn’t it, that I posted this speech on the internet? I mean, not on social media, but still the internet. Again, the internet is an amazing tool for people to use to spread their voice, so long as they choose the right boulevards to send it down. Anyone can rant in the comments section. No confidence there. Own your ideas, and if they are right, you will defend them. That, my friends, is the only way you’ll garner any lasting change. 

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3 Comments
  • fatpanda

    This is well written! Great job


    about 1 year ago
  • Unapologetic Regret

    Oh man, I love the flow of the speech! Great aunt Joyce is shaking.


    about 1 year ago
  • Johanna

    Wow. This is fantastically written! Great job! Good luck in the competition, you totally have a great chance!


    about 1 year ago