by TONY SCHMITT
It makes me proud to live in such a free and diverse country. There is such a large pool of opinions, which allows for a culturally rich environment, and it is important that we have the dignity to stand by our opinions.
With our constitution granting us the freedom of speech Americans must uphold a sense of responsibility. The Internet allows millions to connect and express themselves to large audiences. We must identify ourselves and take accountability for what we say especially when commenting on someone else's work such as on a newspapers website.
I strongly agree with John Hatcher, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota Duluth, when he argues that the ability for people to remain anonymous while commenting on articles online is harmful to America's democracy.
Hatcher makes a great point when he wrote, "By allowing anonymity to become an acceptable and common practice, I fear we have unintentionally let changes in technology lower our ethical standards."
If somebody has the ability to remain anonymous they know they do not have to deal with any consequence of what they say, negative or positive. If you're afraid that what you say may disgrace you if your identity was known then you probably should not say it.
We must take responsibility for our words. Hatcher mentions in his article a case when "an article about Iraqi students attending the College of St. Scholastica brought cowardly hateful online comments attacking the students." This is nothing more then the damage of irresponsible language.
I am not saying we should not be critical of other peoples' views because organized argumentation is the oil that allows the engine of democracy to turn. But if someone is going to criticize something, they should do so with carefully thought out language. A language that is logical and responsible.
If you don't want to take credit for saying something then why do you even want to say it? The logic seems backwards. What is its worth?
Stand by your values, but do it responsibly. Don't be a coward; let it be known you support your opinion. We were raised as the land of the brave so lets uphold that standard. This is my opinion and I, Tony Schmitt, stand by it.