Aren’t we all allowed to have an opinion, even if we don’t agree with each other? Aren’t Americans still entitled to protection of free speech and expression?
I’ve avoided this topic on my blog because I try not to get too political in a public forum. I don’t think it’s necessary and what it usually results in is miscommunication, arguments, and hurt feelings. I don’t want that in any way. I’m not going to get into the specifics of my beliefs regarding the topic I’m going to discuss. I want to talk more about the generalities of how we treat each other, especially in the media and in social media outlets.
By now I can’t imagine any of you out there have missed the controversy stirred up by the CEO of Chick-fil-A and his comments on gay marriage. Again, I’m not going to comment about that specifically here, as I have no desire to get into a debate about whether he was right or wrong. What I care about is that he is entitled to his opinion. He was asked a question and he answered honestly. I know that’s not popular and I know that many people feel discriminated against because of his opinion, but we do live in a country that supposedly offers us the freedom of expression.
Social media and news outlets have made this controversy all the worse. People are posting on Facebook and Twitter on one side or the other, often alienating their friends and hurting feelings. I absolutely can see that when said in certain ways, expressing an opinion could be hurtful. The problem is that I have seen some people simply agree or disagree only to be vilified online. Why is it okay for someone to vilify their so-called “friend” but it’s not okay for that friend to have their own beliefs?
What made me want to write this post today was a news story I saw this morning. CNN aired an interview with Sarah Palin regarding this controversy. Honestly, I don’t care what Sarah Palin has to say, or very many people affiliated with news outlets for that matter. I do care that CNN chose to play the song “Stupid Girls” by Pink* to lead in to the Sarah Palin segment. I mean, really??!! Isn’t this supposed to be a well-respected news outlet? Now it’s reduced to playing “Stupid Girls” before a segment to disparage the person getting ready to speak?
I find this so disrespectful and discouraging. Yes, people may be offended by her opinion but isn’t she entitled to it? Please, let’s have a bit more respect for each other. I may not agree 100% with everything every one of my friends agrees with or supports but I have enough respect for them to love and support them no matter what. I read a quote recently, which I think I saw floating around Facebook, that says “your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does”. I like this because while I have strong beliefs, if I don’t back them up with actions, then truly they mean nothing. I also know that my beliefs mean very little if I don’t respect that other people have different beliefs, and are allowed to express them, than I do. I’m pretty sure the people who wrote the amendment for freedom of expression would be a bit disappointed in the way we are treating each other these days.
*To be clear, I actually really like this song and am a fan of Pink. I have the album and this song is currently on my iPod. Just want to make sure no one thinks I have a beef with the song, which I don’t, only the context in which it was used.
Yes, all very true. The Internet has really changed how discussions unfold, and not everyone plays fair. It seems like so many people have lost their internal filter — not to censor themselves exactly but to ask themselves “Is this appropriate to say in this context?” It seems like the Internet has wiped that away, whether among strangers or friends.
Well said! 🙂