If you meant it, you should have put a name on it

SaraBeth Caplin

Speaking your mind always comes with an element of risk. Several thoughts can be running through your mind when the moment comes to stand up for something: What will people think of me? How much criticism will I get for this? Is it worth it?

Yes, there are some issues that are insignificant and not worth getting upset over. I can’t say with any authority what those issues are, but if a person happens to feel strongly about something, he or she deserves to be heard.

Speaking your mind takes guts. Even if what you say offends a great number of people, nay-sayers don’t deserve to rob you of your right to say it; however, I do believe that free speech has its limits, particularly when it comes to the Internet. The privilege of anonymity gets abused every time a person makes a strong statement about someone and doesn’t include his or her name with that statement. The virtue of honesty gets tarnished when a person uses the Internet as a vent for their frustration, rather than the face of the person who caused it.

When you agree or disagree with a person’s opinion, you are not a hero for hiding behind a computer screen when you respond to it. It takes just as much courage to express yourself to someone’s face as it does to express an opinion in the first place. Honesty and constructive criticism in a face-to-face conversation is what helps make someone a better person.

Nowadays, the Internet makes it easy to be flippant with our words and more deliberated with our reputations. Why are so many people’s online and real-life personas completely different from each other? The veil of anonymity makes it so. A person of true character and noble integrity is not afraid to own up to what they say. If you feel strongly about it, let the world know you wrote it. Anyone who puts themselves out there with a strongly-held opinion deserves feedback from people who are brave enough to do the same.

SarahBeth Caplin is a senior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].