Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect each others even as we respect ourselves. (U Thant)
With everything going on in the world right now, there are a lot of varying opinions flying around in cyberspace. Some people are pro-Israeli, some are pro-Hamma, some are pro-Kanye, some are pro-Fifty Shades of Grey. The point is that everyone has an opinion on everything. And you know what? That’s totally okay. Every person is entitled to his or her opinion.
I think that we forget that there are many issues out there which don’t have a right or wrong answer. We all have opinions based on our experiences, education, and lifestyle. We are all unique and so are our opinions.
Sometimes, though, we forget this. I forget that the person in my moral philosophy class who is against women having easy access to birth control is from a conservative Catholic country and holds this belief for religious reasons. I forget that the person on my newsfeed who doesn’t think that helmets should be required by law for all motorcyclists is of a faith where headdress is maybe held above laws pertaining to personal safety. I forget that the person on my Instagram who is for the Enbridge pipeline is the child of a tradesperson father and spent years living in poverty because there wasn’t a lot of work for his dad.
Do I still disagree with some of these opinions? Yes, I do. But that doesn’t mean that I can disrespect these people by telling them that their opinions are wrong or disregard their rights to have these views.
We are allowed to fight for our beliefs and opinions. We are allowed to debate our views. We are allowed to tell others our views.
However, we cannot disrespect the views of others.
We cannot trivialize someone else’s experience or opinion by saying things like “you’re a man, you can’t have an opinion on abortion”; “you’re basing your views on being a white person, check your privilege/you can’t have an opinion”; “you weren’t born here, you can’t have an opinion on our politics.”
That’s not okay. We can fight for our opinions. We can write to government officials; we can make changes in our own lives; we can volunteer in countries we want to help; we can write blog posts; we can form clubs; we can do a lot of things to have our opinions and beliefs heard.
We cannot disrespect the opinions of others. We cannot silence the voices of others. Everyone has the right to be heard.
If we ever doubt this, we must imagine what it is like to live in a place or time where we aren’t allowed to have a voice. There are still so many people in positions like this.
The very least we can do is respect the opinions of others.
Thanks for reading my opinion on the matter of opinions.