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Each day, millions of Americans log onto various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and others for a host of reasons.

Whether to share photos, catch up on local gossip or the latest news, those platforms have become an integral part of how information is exchanged in 2019. Often, many find themselves scrolling along, looking for what’s trending.

I found a thread I couldn’t help but share as an example today’s style of discussion. The post was from a conservative friend I often agree with who is not a Donald Trump supporter, critical of the Trump administration’s actions on immigration and the outcomes of those seeking to make the United States their new home.

The post started as a throw-down to Trump supporters, essentially calling them hypocritical if they used the stance “we are a nation of laws” when addressing immigration, yet apparently knowingly turning a blind eye to the Trump administration’s own inability to meet those standards. I would certainly be cast as a supporter who has, on numerous occasions, used the phrase “we are a nation of laws.” You bet. Guilty as charged.

The apparent duplicity mentioned by the poster was regarding the law regarding separation of children from their families. No source was cited, but I did find a June 20, 2018, factcheck.org discussion about detention of minor children supporting the post’s assertions. The relevant portion read “‘Unaccompanied’ minors, except in select cases, are to be transferred from the processing facility to a juvenile facility or other care under Health and Human Services within 72 hours.”

Widely reported, the goal is not being met. I don’t like the fact it isn’t being met, but it does not sway my support of the president on this issue. Many wrongly call challenges on the border a “manufactured crisis.” Supporting the president’s efforts, stating there are opportunities and avenues to enter this country legally, does not make Trump supporters knuckle-dragging racists.

There are millions of conservatives who fundamentally don’t like the idea of a border wall but continue to see the damage caused by the influx of drugs, human trafficking and other challenges, and want to employ a wide range of measures to protect those in this country.

Many of those in impoverished lands are nobly seeking a better future, and we can all agree there should be avenues to seek a new beginning. They aren’t headed to Venezuela: exhibit number 6,243 of why socialism doesn’t work. It also is an inescapable truth that many of those seeking entry to the United States have far less than noble intentions, and they create the issues impacting those who aspire greater economic freedoms.

In past generations, millions crossed the oceans to seek American freedom and opportunity to build the nation we have today.

Those who would support unfettered immigration should look to Ellis Island, where between 1892, and 1954, 12 million immigrants were processed on their journey to the United States.

Note the word “processed.” They came to this country through a process. None of us is able, in today’s world, to visit or move to another country without some sort of process. Why should our southern border be different?

I didn’t engage in the ensuing conversations on the post, because when I was able to weigh in, the discussion had digressed into a bunch of caterwauling and name-calling.

There weren’t any posts suggesting any alternatives or ideas about the current crisis. It would require thinking.

No condemnation of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the organization largely responsible for the caravans. No call-out for their exploitations, using migrants as guinea pigs to further their cause. Trump was typically cast as evil.

Posts largely focused on stereotyping, hurling insults and little substance.

I could’ve used some popcorn as comments unfolded. If your retort to a point made by another on social media is to call attention to their profile photo or looks, you’ve lost. Plain and simple.

It’s easy to be nasty to strangers.

Perhaps some chose to conflate their words because they lack constructive arguments. If you make it personal, you might as well shut down your computer.

Personal interaction with friends and total strangers has monumentally changed with the advent of social media outlets.

Social media banter can sometimes be fun, even when the exchange crosses ideological lines. It’s often with friends with whom you differ politically, but you don’t let differences interfere with your friendship. Those are moments when conversation and ideas are truly advanced.

All views should be welcome, but you owe it to others to be informed and show respect. Once upon a time, we heard the phrase, “look before you leap.”

Today’s version may be “think before you plink.” Scroll away and pass the butter.

Scott Frostman lives in Baraboo and has roots throughout Wisconsin. He believes anyone can make a difference and can be reached at

scfrostman@gmail.com.

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