I avoid getting into debates with people as a general rule. Some members of my family are very outspoken, and there's no way to win them over to your view. I don't like conflict, so if I disagree with something someone says--be it about the president or the public school system--I tend to keep it to myself. I keep my emotions and words in check at all times.
For me, the internet is not that anonymous place where you can say whatever you want. I make a point of being fair and honest (and besides, I suck at lying). But in a way, I sometimes feel like I've denied a big part of me. I have to be so careful around certain people in real life and on the internet. I'm afraid to hit the 'like' button on political links on Facebook because I can guarantee there are would-be-my-mothers out there who frown on it. And I most certainly keep myself from posting things I'm concerned about all the time.
But there's something called writing, and it's been my best outlet since before I could read.
I can, with a set of diverse characters, explore, understand, and come to my own conclusions about every topic. There's something exciting and lovable about disagreeing with my own characters. Writers, or at least most writers, must be crazy. We have all these beloved friends of our own imaginings, and we give them terrible struggles, and watch them deal with it by themselves. We have this world all our own, the ability to create this place we think the world ought to be like, and instead we're creating dystopias and villains and wars.
My favorite character right now, Rael, is my complete opposite. "You're no fun at all," she'd tell me. "Why the hell are you so worried about telling people what you think? Who cares, really? If people are going to be mad, they'll be mad. That'll just show you who your real friends are. Save yourself the trouble and you'll be better off." I don't agree with her on pretty much anything. (Anyone who says that I've made my characters share my beliefs is lying.) It's in Rael's world, on paper, that I can host my latest debates.
And they're a lot more fun--and more productive--than real ones.