Short rant:

It's OK to have opinions on things. I have them, and I'm sure you have them. Just be honest that you have them. I was recently frustrated by someone who made the following statement:

"I have no real opinion on abortion, but I think babies are alive when the sperm and egg get together."

What I wanted to do was slap this person, and say, "Um. That's an opinion, and is, in fact, one of the big points in the conversation. You've got an opinion on abortion, my friend!" What was this person thinking? Do they really think the pro-"choice" (I use the terms pro-"life" and pro-"choice" for the two "sides" I know that these terms are not the best, because they paint the two sides in a certain light which is unfair. I understand, but they are the simplest terms to use right now. Please understand and don't get mad at me for using them) side would hear that and think, "I think we can get this person on our side!" No. You're pro-"life". Get over it.

And I have previously heard people make the opposite statement (i.e. "I have no opinion on abortion, but I think women should have the right to choose what they do to their bodies."), and it's the same thing. If you think that way, you have an opinion, and it's pro-"choice".

This rant is neither for or against any forms of (nor preventions of) any sorts of abortions. That was the context of the statement, and that's where the rant comes from. I could have changed the subject, but I did not (that would be deceptive, in my opinion). I do not say anything to sway anyone to either side in the debate. I honestly don't care what anyone else thinks. I have a hard enough time with my opinions, I don't need to take responsibility for anyone else's.

Have a nice day.


Seven Replies to 14-VIII-2009 or It's OK

Lori Lancaster | August 14, 2009
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Amy Austin | August 14, 2009
Okay, not to get all up in your rant here, but...

a) what Lori said;

b) you make it sound like it's not allowed to have a "gray" opinion on anything (i.e., you can't believe in the life of the fetus and still be "pro-choice"?) -- and that's really sad, because the black and white opinions are what cause so much grief "in the conversation"... what's wrong with not being so damned opinionated or passionate as to get everyone else in a fuss???

c) I have a hard enough time with my opinions, I don't need to take responsibility for anyone else's.

True 'nuff... but didn't you just do so in your rant on not having an opinion???

Like I said... don't mean to stomp on your rant -- or your opinions -- but it does seem to be just as contradictory and/or confusing to me as the example you raise... doesn't it?

Aaron Shurtleff | August 14, 2009
Let me clarify:

Everyone has a right to their opinion. I would further argue that it is good and right to have an opinion, even if your opinion does not match my opinion.

Opinions can be gray or questionable, certainly. (And I was so not trying to get anyone in a fuss!!)

The rant was supposed to be more about the type of conversation where someone says, "I don't have an opinion on [topic x], but [gives a statement that shows that they so totally do have an opinion].

The last statement was me trying to say that I am totally not trying to sway anyone's opinion, nor was I trying to belittle anyone's opinion on any topic (and especially abortion, which is where this came up today in my life). I meant that I have enough difficulty forming my opinions, and I don't want to be responsible for anyone else changing (or, heaven forbid, forming) their opinion based on my opinion.

And, in the realm of full disclosure, I have opinions that do not differ too greatly from both of yours, but, not being the owner of the body which would be in question, I am unsure how much sway my opinion would ever hold in the matter of what happens to any child/fetus/mass of dividing stem cells that shares 50% of my genetic make-up. Any if the fetus in question did not have a 50% genetic similarity to me, my opinion should have even less of an effect, I think.

BUT, I do have an opinion. :)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 14, 2009
Yeah, the line:

I honestly don't care what anyone else thinks.

is probably too strong. I apologize if anyone got the wrong impression from that.

Scott Hardie | August 15, 2009
For what it's worth, I think Amy is on to something. This person you were talking to happens to believe that life begins at conception – but that doesn't mean that they have any position at all in the debate over the legality and morality of abortion. They were trying to say that they stay out of that fight and don't have a "side" to root for, regardless of what their beliefs are.

It's like when we're at war with another nation, and the topic comes up in conversation with foreigners about which side you support, and you say that you're American but you don't take a side because you're anti-war. Being American is not taking a side automatically. (For anybody unsure, I'm using the "general you" here.)

I see where you're coming from, Aaron, and I understand the frustration that got you thinking about this. In general, I feel the same way. In this specific case, I think I understand what they meant. But who knows; I'd have to ask them myself.

Amy Austin | August 15, 2009
Aaron: Not saying you, specifically, are trying to get anyone in a fuss... just that being pointedly opinionated, without any room for interpretation whatsoever, often makes for fusses.

I think Scott got the gist of what I was saying.

Jackie Mason | August 15, 2009
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