Many people have found their political voice at every level of government in America. It is easy to express one’s opinion, especially if it is anonymously on social media.

Conversations touching on everything from taxes to schools to the U.S. foreign policy is rife with angry words that leap off the computer screen:  outraged, angry, unbelievable, treason and worse. Either side of any issue its supporters and its detractors. People on both sides of any subject cannot believe that anyone would think opposite of themselves, and therefore are deserving of invectives.

It is impossible to read through Facebook  or Twitter on any day and not see the words that people use to show their displeasure on the opinions or actions of others. This poster is outraged, that poster is angry. To what end?

Most people know their rights when it comes to speech, religion and guns. Rights are one thing, societal responsibility is another. Even though we have the right to say and write that we are outraged over something, it doesn’t foster understanding, it only hardens people into silos of righteousness.

It is our right to express anger at things we don’t agree with; it should be our responsibility to attempt to be part of a solution to the problem at hand.

If neighbors disagree and throw verbal tantrums, disinterested spectators can be concerned about the level of the argument. The public should be even more concerned about the on-going social media battles undertaken by our political leaders.

There are two sides to every issue—both sides believe they are correct. The arguments take a toll when positions are hardened and compromise seems to be out of the question.

There are issues in Keizer that cause divisons: parking issues on Newburg Drive or new fees to support city parks. Everyone has an opinion on things happening in our city. To express outrage does not move the conversation along.

Social media has allowed millions of Americans to join the national or local political debate. It is important to remember that those millions of people had the ability to let their views be heard all along. It’s called an election. If one doesn’t like what their elected representative is doing they need only take the slight effort to vote in their party primary or a general election.

We are all for sharing opinions and views. We promote conversations that help reach solutions. Everything can’t be worth a fight. There are too many problems and crises in the world to be riled up over a small kerfuffle. If one is to go to battle with words, be sure it’s worth it.

There is power in words and when a social media poster expresses outrage, for example, we tune it out. Most people will respond better to a thoughtful, invective-free opinion.

We know we do.

  —LAZ