Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Don't Be Afraid To Say What You Really Think...
I subscribe to both the New York Times and the Huffington Post on my Facebook account, and gosh they are a lively bunch over at those two sites. They've got everything going on, and it's wonderful. News, opinions, controversy, debate -- you name it, they've got it. At the click of the mouse, you can find out anything that is going on in the world, but best of all, you can read everyone else's opinions. There are no holds barred.
The Internet has changed the way news, ideas, opinions, and so much more is discussed. And as with most issues in life there is no right or wrong, no black or white, just varying shades of grey, depending on whom you are. But one thing I have noticed is that, with our wonderful neighbours to the south, almost every issue has become split down party lines -- Democratic or Republican. Everything becomes politicized. How did that happen? Rather than discussing a topic on the merits, people quickly square off into their political parties -- and that's it. All of a sudden something that may be a humanitarian issue, or medical, or scientific -- or whatever -- becomes political. And then people are afraid to say what they think for fear of being called "ignorant" or "biased". The political leaders grab hold of an issue, the talking heads on TV start shouting at each other, and any intelligent debate or discussion goes out the window. Chris Hayes, who was guest hosting the Rachel Maddow show last night, listened to an argument about a particular issue -- with which he did not agree -- and then he said. "I just threw up in my mouth." Oh, goodness.
There is a certain "hot button" topic being discussed at the moment (which I will not mention here...) that seems to have enraged everyone. It's very interesting, and very sensitive, to be sure. The President endorsed the issue, and then he backtracked. I thought that was the most intelligent thing he had done yet, not that he had backtracked, but that he had actually given some thought to something that is extremely controversial, and he thought for himself rather than "along party lines". He listened to the concerns of other folks.
Political correctness is not necessarily a bad thing. Folks have come a long way in the past few decades, and things that were acceptable 20 or 30 years ago would make people blush with shame now. That's a good thing. And it's because of lively debate and conversation that people are able to exchange ideas and arrive at a conclusion that is acceptable to the majority. People should never be afraid to say what they think -- even if their viewpoint is unpopular, or perhaps not currently politically correct.
The fact that anyone can log on to The New York Times, The Huffington Post, or thousands of other newspapers and magazines, and share their opinions about current issues is just amazing. And whether folks agree with each other -- or not -- we all end up with a say about what kind of a world we want to live in, as long as we think for ourselves, and not along "party lines".