I Have an Opinion

April 29, 2008
By Emily Kim, Carmichael, CA

I recently read last issue’s “Top Five Reasons” not to write opinion pieces or why opinions exist simply to aggravate readers, or something along those lines, and I thought- ‘interesting’. I couldn’t pass the chance to write a response. I am sure though, that many have come across the same article with the same urge.

In refuting the points the author made, I’d like to say that this is not an attack at all, but merely a different point of view on the subject. Let’s begin by ignoring the fact that that article in itself was an opinion, a rather strong one at that too.

First, I read “Define fact.” Well then, fact is something concrete, scientifically knowable, tangible, observed, etc. But how about looking at it this way-I think my brother is a goat. The fact is not that my brother is a goat but that I think it. Of course, it is rather ridiculous unless you’re a kid, and one must find some evidence to support an idea so ludicrous, but I think it, and that is the importance. Can anyone deny it as a fact that I do or do not believe.

Second, the idea that writing about a topic more than a few times just “turns people off” is quite amusing. Consider famous writers and philosophers who shattered the world with their works. Their ideas weren’t exactly new, only widely spread and well put. William Lloyd Garrison published the Liberator to support abolition, Frederick Douglass wrote and spoke against slavery, and Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I find it very hard to believe that slavery was not an issue after all was already said ten times over. Besides, where would we keep our rants and raves all bottled up? In our sorry little minds while the world goes on?

The next one was “some opinions do not need to be shared”, which is somewhat reasonable. I too believe that some things should be kept at a small-talk level; sometimes media does ignore the more critical things in life. However, I think it is refreshing to see a bit of ordinary, to realize that the mundane feelings and observations I have are shared by another, to feel that I can still relate in that way with a peer. Some people take things seriously that seem unimportant, but it is a good way to have an understanding of how to express oneself. I also find it nice to see some empathy versus apathy in all the little bits that are often passed off as unworthy of space on paper.

Ah, the fourth one is a favorite. Religion and politics should be taboo. Hm. Well, religion is a very touchy subject, as well as politics. Therefore, why on earth should they be restricted from expression? People who are afraid to offend anyone else are the ones who will shy away from these topics, and they keep themselves in the dark, hoping that no one will confront them about something as abstract as God or gods. It’s a very weak shield, you see. Nobody ever forces others to conform to a religion through opinion pieces; it’s an excuse to say otherwise. Religion is also a fundamental part in many people’s lives. To some, it is law, to others it is hope, and even others, justification. People have conviction-an incredible force in human brains, and it is futile to suggest that they stop spreading what they have found to be truth. And politics, though many people hate it, runs this country and the world. Change comes from politics, from the unrest that flows from people in response to politics. We’d be in the Dark Ages of humanitarianism, equality and freedom if man did not speak up. The fact is, politics is inescapable in life, and it has to be dealt with. To pretend it is not there is the same as pretending that responsibility to take charge and to better this country is nonexistent.

Lastly, “don’t overdo it”. I can say for myself that the article I read was very fiery and sarcastic at many points. Religious, political and outspoken (and somehow mentally unstable) people were ranted against. I certainly have nothing against the author, but I think following what one believes and is just as important, if not more, as claiming such beliefs. This point was very inconsistent, and invariably weakened the entire argument. It’s an art form to keep tones befitting a certain subject, hopefully.

Not very surprisingly, in the end the author refutes the main part of the article by expressing more lenient points, and that in itself destroyed much of what was structured earlier. Somehow, I get the idea of consistent inconsistency throughout the passages.

And truly, are opinion pieces made solely for the purpose of aggravating and frustrating the public? Maybe, but it’s only aggravating to a stubborn, narrow-minded individual who cares not about thinking twice. Opinions simply prove that the experience of life is gathering, changing and developing the meaning of it all (all, meaning the essence of life, the suffering, the endurance or triumph).

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