There is the popular expression that proclaims that opinions are like assholes, in that everyone has one. The difference is that while everyone has one, they generally don’t feel compelled to share it like they do their opinions. In today’s day and age of instantaneous information and being connected with the world at large 24/7, opinions are being served up everywhere by everyone in every form imaginable.
When a hot topic, like the recent refusal of a county clerk in a small Kentucky county to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, takes center stage, opinions become absolutely overwhelming and, disturbingly, vicious and malicious in their delivery. This phenomenon is not limited to this most recent highly publicized issue, either, as the same vitriolic speech being spewed by otherwise seemingly rational human beings can be heard whenever any hotbed issue is broached. From to race relations to foreign policy, there is not so much of a dialogue that ensues, as much as there is a shouting match between supporters and protesters. It is deafening.
Somewhere along the way, we have confused passionate support of a cause with hate filled speech being broadcast across social media, print media, and the airways. We have justified the use of ugly stereotypes, degrading comments, and cruel jokes as a means of presenting the “facts”, and we feel right in doing so, because we believe that we are, in fact, “right”. We hide behind our right to free speech, our morals and values, our religious beliefs, and our convictions to say and do things to present the “facts” and prove our point that hurt those who disagree with us, because we stand on the side of America, God, our political party, and whatever other entity or organization that we are defending. We want others to respect and subscribe to our beliefs, because we know that we are right, yet we deny that same respect to others who offer a different point of view.
This is not to say that we should silence our voices or turn a blind eye to the evils and injustices of the world, but rather, we might want to learn to speak articulately, confidently, and kindly without having to degrade or ridicule our perceived opponents. Speaking loudly and harshly rarely, if ever, changes people’s minds or hearts about an issue, so, who are we posturing for and for what purpose? Words can hurt or heal, and when we are trying to prove our point or sway the opinion of others, we need to strive for the latter or, at the very least, commit not to doing the former. Agreeing to disagree is better than widening the chasm between people or fanning the flames of ignorance, hatred, and misunderstanding. Speak your mind, but mind your speech. We’re listening.
That’s another story. . .
Categories: That's Another Story