Black and white.
Cut and dry.
Good and evil.
Right and wrong.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the world worked this way? Every issue would be resolved so easily. Everyone who thought one thing would be right, and everyone else would be a naïve idiot.
But, wait… isn’t that the way we think?
“Everyone whose opinion differs from mine is just uninformed.”
Stupid. Ignorant. Wrong.
Don’t be ridiculous — the world doesn’t work like that.
Last year in social studies teacher Adam Bien’s America Decides the National Election class, I took a few quizzes trying to determine my political party. We had a good laugh when one quiz told me there was no political party that reflected my views.
Then again, lack of a party could be beneficial. When you define yourself as a member of a party, you could very well be limiting your views. Haven’t you heard the phrase, “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?”
If you think something because generally like-minded people think it, you’re always in the wrong. Just because you have generally liberal views, it isn’t wrong to have a few right-wing ideas, too.
It comes down to this — if you don’t know the facts (or at least something) about an issue, you have zero right to voice an opinion. When discussing the serious issues, the first question should always be “Why?”
So you think President Barack Obama is the best president ever. Or you think he’s doing a terrible job. That’s great, but why? Do you have a reason?
“Well…he’s…he’s just doing a bad job.”
Then comes the tough part. After reading up and talking to different people about an issue, you have to make a decision — what do you think?
Being educated about an issue and not having a definite opinion is better than asserting a certain opinion without knowledge. For example, current events in Syria have caused differing opinions to spring up throughout our country:
“Their problems are none of our business.” “It’s our duty to help.” “Syria? They’re, like, using chemical weapons or something, right?”
I’ll be straightforward — I am incredibly undecided about how we should assist Syria or if we should even be involved. But I at least know that they’re using chemical weapons, and Obama thinks it is unacceptable to stand back and watch.
I’ve heard so many things about this issue in particular. My dad and I just had a conversation about it the other day. Even though we don’t agree 100 percent about any issue, it’s always insightful to hear what he thinks. In fact, talking to nearly anyone about politics or current issues can be insightful — even if you completely disagree.
Having a civil discussion — no screaming or spitting, please — can open your eyes to the other side of the story, and who doesn’t need a little perspective? Basically, don’t be that person everyone rolls their eyes at when he or she starts talking politics. Know about the issues. Listen to other peoples’ opinions. And, most of all, an “I don’t know” is always superior to an uninformed thought.