If you think it, challenge and then back it

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To be frank, I don’t care what political party you align with, I don’t care how you voted and I don’t care if you’re posting about it online — I care whether you know why.

As juvenile as it may sound, my stereotypically extensive time on the internet has proven to me that formulating opinions while only having part of the story is a multi-generational problem, particularly when it comes to the area of politics.

I know that the concept of gravitating toward news sources that cater to your own preconceived notions and biases isn’t new. But lately my Twitter and Facebook feeds seem ridden with angry posts that oversimplify very complex issues. Whether it’s angry Tomi Lahren throwbacks accusing the largest protests in history as being temper tantrums or an article “proving” the driving force behind Trump’s win was racism, polarizing posts that need to be fact checked are everywhere.

Tumblr posts are not reliable sources. Fox News is not fair and balanced. Odyssey articles with the best zingers don’t automatically spawn from fact. Just because you want something to be true or untrue does not make it so.  

Hot topics like socioeconomic inequality, gun violence, immigration laws, the Syrian civil war and abortion are deep-rooted with long histories that can’t be summed up by one biased article from www.iamrightandyouarewrong.com. If these issues matter to you, they should matter enough to research them further. Why do some people believe that stronger gun laws won’t solve the increasing problem of gun violence in the U.S.? What, if any, evidence is there that it couldn’t?

You can only reference the facts that you’re given and the way you choose to obtain these facts drastically impacts that repertoire.

If you enjoy MSNBC or Fox News, sources known to lean left and right respectively, continue to watch their programming. Realize, however, that they both cater to an audience with specific biases. To start bridging the seemingly ever-growing political divide in this country, we must take the time as citizens to responsibly form and challenge our opinions. Listen to the other side, and not for the sole purpose of a rebuttal. Feeling passionate about political discussions is natural, but closing yourself off to opposing viewpoints and sticking toward self-validating information won’t solve anything. If you’re angry, be angry, but know all the reasons why you are and why someone else might not be.

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