Public Opinion: Worthwhile or Fostering

May 19, 2009
By Taylor Tanner BRONZE, McDonough, Georgia
Taylor Tanner BRONZE, McDonough, Georgia
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Radio, television, and magazines have changed dramatically over the past decades in the sense of what is published or said and who is allowed to give their opinion on different topics. The first amendment practice of freedom of speech is exercised daily in today’s society. The expression of opinions from different citizens, political figures, and entertainers does not foster democratic values as long as society is aware that the opinions they hear are simply opinions, nothing more. If these opinions do anything, they help informally educate society by making them aware of different situations which causes a spark of interest to form that urges for more information. Opinions heard through different sources of entertainment are worthwhile as long as the people of society hold onto their opinions despite what another believes, the opinions are respectful, and contain some form of intelligence.
The public’s statements of opinion are extremely valuable. However, often times people change their beliefs to match those of a cool or beautiful celebrity. It is important that individuals stand up for what they believe. Society’s ability to do this in the past is what has made the United States such a strong democratic nation in which anyone has the ability to be heard. If the opinion of one person changes several other citizens who had a more positive stance, then opinions become negative. Moreover, democratic values are not lessened in any way because citizens state their opinion. Values are increased because people are staying involved and doing their part politically. Taking the time to discuss different topics shows urgency and that people care about what is taking place in their nation. Democratic government means that everyone participates.
Often times talk radio, web blogs, and television shows take a comical stance to different issues in order to increase their number of listeners or viewers. This is only acceptable to an extent. When these different entertainers begin falsely bashing political leaders it becomes a negative action to state an opinion. A clear line should be drawn in order to maintain a level of respect. Many people will not agree with certain issues, however, there is a proper way to approach a topic. For example, during president Obama’s running period for the election of 2008 many people placed bumper stickers on their cars reading “NOBAMA.” Although this is negative, it is an opinion and a decent way to voice it. However, others who opposed Obama winning the presidency sent pictures in which Obama was drawn to resemble a monkey. This is beyond disrespectful and in many ways fosters democratic values. Actions similar to those show the lack of intelligence an individual to look beyond skin color.
Finally, a third determining factor of an opinion’s acceptability is the amount of intelligence it holds. Opinions are often worthwhile if they are spoken by a person with some intelligence of the topic. This idea was shown during the 2008 radio talk show on 95.5 “The Beat.” This talk show spent 30 minutes every afternoon interviewing several ordinary citizens around Atlanta. They were asked who they were voting for in the election. Many proudly stated that Obama was their choice. However, when the host would state different opinions of McCain they would say that those were the reasons that Obama would be great for the United States. These opinions fostered American values because the people were so uneducated in what Obama stood for that they took McCain’s views for his.
Every individual has a right to an opinion. Many times a simple opinion blooms into a great change. Moreover, it is important to remain educated and respectful when delivering opinions in order to hold onto their value.

The author's comments:
This piece was written from the prompt "Write an essay in which you take a position on the value of such public statements of opinion, supporting your view with appropriate evidence."

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