Friday, July 17, 2015

Opinions and Other Smelly Topics

Those who know me know I do a lot of online reading. I like to stay informed. and I try to read what both sides of any topic are saying. I have to say, it is pretty shameful how many people talk when stating their opinions. I'm not talking strictly liberals, conservatives, atheists or Christians. I am talking about all of them. I have said some pretty shameful things in the past, but I think I've learned a very valuable lesson from befriending a certain lady that thinks totally differently from me about political matters. If you feel the need to state your opinion to someone, never put it on a personal basis.

Name calling is one of the most destructive forms of communication. Yet, many who state their opinion seem to feel that the only way they can change someone's mind is to attack them with labels and bad language. The bullying of our children has come under such scrutiny lately, simply because we see the effects of it, and we loathe such behavior. Still, a great majority of our adult population uses bullying and belittling to one another to make their case. Where do we think these child bullies learn this stuff? They learn it at home, even at school by their teachers. Labeling and name calling have become a way of life, and then we wonder why there is so much hate in the world!

Never use the word "You". Such things as, "You can't seem to get it through your head!" "You are crazy to think such things!" "You conservatives! You all think alike!" "You liberals are all power hungry!" are not only juvenile, they are ineffective. It is so easy to slip into this way of thinking and speaking, and it is an attack on the other person's integrity rather than a statement of fact about the subject. We must be willing to attack the subject matter only. We must know the facts so that we can logically speak about them.

Even worse is the name calling that I see. Again, it is bullying technique that is useless to solve any problem. When calling people names it seems that we'll go to any length to find a word or label to so humiliate and offend, as if drawing attention more to the foolishness of the person's opinion than the problem itself.

I'm convinced that the real problem is that most people simply have an opinion, but they have no facts to back it up. It is ignorance, due to laziness for not wanting to do the work to know what to say. Have you ever noticed how many people will quote things that they have been told are in the bible that are not really there? Who do you know that believes something about our country's Constitution that isn't there at all? If you listen to one side of a news report, it's a good thing to tune in to the other side's reports. You seldom get the whole story from one side of the fence.

When my friend and I discuss politics we seldom get through it without exasperation or raising our voices. We've been known to yell in public places and cause our husbands to shrink back in angst. But we never point verbally or physically to one another. The discussion isn't about us, it's about politics. I admit that she has a better memory for facts than I do, and that really makes me want to resort to finger pointing, but I must refrain. Then, we move on to better subjects like where we're going for lunch, and we laugh our way through the doors. A difference of opinion is never worth hurting another's feelings, bullying or character assassination. My opinion is not more important than my friendship. Know the facts, or keep still.

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