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We often celebrate our ability to have a soap box on the internet, to be able to get our opinions to the masses, unfiltered by "the media". Thousands blog daily, on the subjects they feel passionate about, while others post on message boards their feelings about the day. Much like the printing press before it, the internet has done a lot to promote the marketplace of ideas and the flow of information exchange. These are good things, and worth celebrating.

Still, there's a disturbing trend, here on these blogs, and at the internet at large. It's what I like to refer to as the "Plague of Caring". Allow me to explain.

1) I understand what it is like to feel passion about a subject. I think passion can be a good thing, a great thing even, when used in a positive, creative direction. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way as I do. Where we could use this website to create a genuine community of discussion and idea exchange, what we end up with are half baked blog posts and over exaggerations. Rarely do people on opposites of the political fence agree to disagree; instead, there is a game of escalation that is played to see who can "one up" someone else.

Liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, what is the point of debate if you're going to be so close minded you never allow yourself to be open to new ideas or viewpoints. Do I win a prize if somehow I beat my chest the loudest at my opponents and lower myself to name calling. Day after day I find myself clinking on links here, hoping for intelligent discourse, and instead I'm lead to a sad mix of fingerpointing at the opposition and back patting of ones self.

2) In the race to "shame" or "humiliate" those we disagree with, little care is given toward the English language. I will never claim to be the best speller or have the best grasp of grammar, but I think I do enough. What I fail to understand is how anyone can expect to win over minds while misusing quotation marks, misspelling words, and improper comma usage.

Consider this: just once before you sit down to write your next opus that you're sure is going to knock the sense right in to the heads of your antagonists, take a moment to breath and really think about what you're about to say. Look at the words you choose, the order you put them in, and really think about the message you're trying to say. Think about how much better things could be if instead of rolling down in the dirt we raised the level of discourse between ourselves.

If you really believe in the viewpoints you hold and the things you believe in, isn't it worth it to give them their due respect instead of just adding to the noise side of the signal to noise ratio?