POTSDAM, NY- A news article on NorthCountryNow.com about a recent political protest against the Trump Administration’s new immigration policy inspired a lively discussion on their Facebook page. What was unique about this discussion was the use of reason, logic, empathy, and facts cited from reputable sources.
One commenter, a SUNY Potsdam politics major, mourned the new policy.
“Syrian refugees are fleeing a terrible human rights crisis. Imagine if you had to flee your home because of a brutal civil war. I know I’d feel eternally grateful to anyone who offered to help in my time of need.” The commenter went on to link to a United Nations High Commission on Refugees report detailing the economic benefits conferred upon host nations by welcoming political refugees and assisting with their resettlement.
Another commenter, a SUNY Canton criminal justice major and US Army veteran, took a tougher but respectful counterpoint. “I support the policy. We need to carefully scrutinize these refugees to make sure they aren’t criminals or terrorists. If you read the actual order, you can see that this is a temporary measure until proper screening procedures are put in place.” The commenter backed up his opinion by linking to a document on the official US Department of Homeland Security website.
The comment chain continued, with both participants showing signs of active listening and rational follow-up to specific criticisms. “I disagree with your opinion, but I respect that you are able to back it factually,” said the Potsdam politics major.
“It’s refreshing to talk about these issues without the discussion devolving into name-calling and threats of violence,” the Canton criminal justice major responded.
“An article like this will typically result in comments ranging from semi-literate drivel to pure knee-jerk shitposting,” North Country Now senior social media editor Fuh Queson told The Potsdam Plague. “Most responses on there have the political acuity of a salt-crusted slug. At best, the most enlightening thing you’ll see on there is some guy posting a meme of a dumpster fire captioned with a phrase like ‘Here We Go Again’ to reflect how tiresomely repetitive these discussions tend to be.”
“This is entirely new to me. I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Queson in a tone of almost reverent wonder. “It almost restores faith in humanity and hope for the future.”