Krissy Unger- Civil Discourse

Director of Operations for Hampton Roads Weekly MPS Political Management

While many will blame my millennial generation for the lack of civil discourse, they are certainly not the only generation to blame.  With the rising use of technology in our lives, it has prompted many individuals to hide behind screens.  People feel much more powerful when they can “hide” behind their computer screens.  Comments and discussion threads online have become sets of personal attacks on others.  People are more willing to speak their mind through an online post, rather than having an open conversation, face-to-face, in real life.  These viral arguers do not feel threatened or show any remorse when posting their negative opinions online.  

There has been a fine line created between freedom of speech and censorship, especially among the millennial generation.  Those who do not agree or simply appreciate another’s perception on a subject will simply write it off as “offensive” and they then feel the need to manipulate their online newsfeeds tailoring them to only their “likes”.  This process certainly desensitizes those individuals from listening to and appreciating opinions that differ from their own.  We don’t have the opportunity to read the other side 

From the millennial perspective, I believe it is important to take a step back and listen.  That’s right, put down the phone and take in everything that others say.  Where we have gone wrong with civility, is that we don’t take the extra step to listen and process what others have said before reacting.  Whether or not we agree with someone’s opinion does not deem it any less valuable.  Civil discourse is about engaging with others so we have a better understanding.  We all don’t have to agree 100% of the time, but every opinion deserves to be heard and not judged.  It is important to not put forth a counter argument right away, but to take a step back and think about how we can all work together, in order to make great things happen.