Opinion: How to properly hold an argument

Mike Richards is a senior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Mike Richards

Let me paint a familiar (and timely) scene for you: You sit down at your computer after a long day of staring at your TV. You open up Facebook because staring at your smartphone has become tiring, I understand. You scroll down and come across someone making comments about Ferguson, you read the comments involved, you become infuriated and join in and thus sparks fly and die into a pit of idiocy.


I’m ashamed to call myself an American, let alone a human after reading some of the heinous responses to this event. I’m not here to open up that gate again, if it were even closed, but I am here to speak on the manner of positing your own opinion, whether it be idiotic or not. I’m not afraid to offend.

Here’s the most common example I’ve seen: the “bait-and-response.” This is when you are involved in an argument, and while you may be posing well thoughtout responses to your opposition, that other party’s only rebuttal is, “well, what about [insert non-relatable situation here],” just to stir the cauldron of ignorance a bit more, (as if it were getting cold).

A friend of mine just recently found himself involved in such, and yes, it was about Ferguson. It was in relation to the manner of burning flags and other such incidences.

Let me make one point here: Why is it not OK to burn flags, but you can wear American flag underwear? I don’t think Uncle Sam is going to have a bigger smile knowing that his stars and stripes are in your pants rather than being on fire. Depends on the day, I suppose. Sorry for that image.

Anyway, not only was the person he was arguing against completely foolish in his or her responses, the primary response was the “bait-and-response.”

Here’s what that says about the person: “Well, I don’t necessarily have a great response to the point you just made, so let me dig out the graves of untimely events and toss them around like a bad juggling act. By then you will trip and I will look the better because I, being the ignorant one, never considered your party’s side or opinion.”

Whether or not I agree with a person, I at least respect his or her right to have his or her opinion stated, but what’s the point when it’s a one-person show?

If you’re scared of being offended or being wrong, don’t argue. Just sit by as your beliefs are shattered in front of you because you were too scared to make a case.

If you believe in something, let alone believe in yourself, then say something.

That obviously comes with its restraints, but thank you to the arrogant, racist, idiotic and oblivious people in the world who make it so easy to argue.

There is no democracy without opposing parties. There is no competition without opposing sides. There is no debate without opposing opinions.

It’s in our nature to disagree with other people, and there is no way that the billions of people in the world all share the same beliefs.

But I may not agree with yours, and I will argue with you about it because I can.