Everyone has an opinion. In America, we believe everyone has that right – to hold an opinion that’s uniquely theirs (no matter how goofy). It’s a wonderful thing! But just having an opinion doesn’t make that opinion correct. It’s entirely possible to hold an opinion completely formed by feelings with not an iota of fact to support them. Does such an opinion really hold weight equal to an opinion formed by thorough research, rigorous data analysis and strategic thinking? Of course not! To equate the two things is too stupid to be called “idiotic”. But, our news media does it every day! They will insist to its dying breath that, because “both sides do it” (whatever “it” is), it’s not for them – neutral journalists – to wade in and discern which opinions are valid and which aren’t.
The result? Our press regularly presents bullshit and truth as if they were interchangeable.
The guy who wants to steal your car – or rape you – has an opinion – that stealing your car or raping you is okay. He thinks he should be allowed to do that to you without any possible repercussions whatsoever. His opinion is a criminal’s opinion. Is that really equal to his victim’s opinion – that they don’t want any of that to happen to them? Should that really be a fifty-fifty toss up – “Hey, news audience, this is above a journalist’s pay grade, YOU decide!”?
Would anyone go to a surgeon whose opinions about surgery were based entirely on his feelings about a patient and not on any facts presented? How about a pilot who regularly let Jesus take the wheel?
The problem with basing one’s opinions on facts versus feelings is that it takes way longer (and way more words) to present an opinion based on facts than one based on feelings. Take abortion. On the one side, you have a vast, complicated set of circumstances surrounding one woman and her body. On the other, you have feelings about life. If your attitude is that life begins the instant a rapist’s sperm fuses with his victim’s egg – you couldn’t care less about science. And if you insist that your religious beliefs trump everything – especially facts – then nothing about this entire discussion is now or has ever been honest.
What a shock! Right wingers speak with forked tongues.
Conservatism is all about exactly what its name says: conserving. Conservatives have no interest in the future – otherwise they’d be progressives. Instead, conservatives focus on the past – the thing they want to conserve – and the amount of “the past” that still remains in “the present”. The conservative goal is to dig in their heels and stop America from ever progressing beyond this instant. If they can send us reeling backward through time – back to the glorious past they crave (the one where rich, Christian, land-owning men ran the show and everyone else knew their damned places).
All opinions are NOT created equal. Some opinions are just plain wrong. To equate them (just because they’re an opinion) with any other opinion (on the same topic) is even more wrong. The instant our news media presents bad, wrong opinions as legitimate just because one side says them – long past the time when those opinions were proven to be demonstrably wrong – they normalize those wrong opinions. They make them one possible outcome simply because they’re presenting them as viable.
Our news media breathlessly reports how, during normal off year elections, the party in power almost always loses. What about this election cycle is even remotely normal? When was the last election held in an environment even remotely like the one we’re living in right now – following massive corruption, a worldwide pandemic, a world war in Ukraine and a power grab by one of our two political parties led by an ex-POTUS even federal judges agree is a criminal? Spoiler alert – it’s never happened before!
It really is this simple: everyone has a point. But not every point has a point.