In this new age of information, it feels as though it’s impossible to escape from the ever-changing social politics of this world we live in. Social media makes it only too easy for word to travel and hype to build. You can’t open up Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram without being smacked in the face with today’s latest hot-button issue. With the race for President officially in full swing, Caitlyn Jenner’s transition, and gay marriage becoming legal, it seems we’ve been in overdrive lately.
On one hand, change is good. Being informed is good. On the other, once people are “informed” (or think they are), they’re only too eager to scream their own commentary alongside shared articles on social media, which always leads to the same argument. Your mom’s Bible-banging cousin and one of your more educated liberal friends will battle it out in the comments section until one party (usually the conservative) will say something along the lines of: “well, that’s MY opinion. All opinions are valid, respect each other’s views.”
I write to you today, dear readers, to officially call B.S. on the age-old “every opinion is valid” argument. Yes, this is America, First Amendment rights and all that, and people should certainly respect each other on a variety of things, but the “every opinion is valid” argument has evolved to defend views that are backwards, prejudiced, and outdated. It has become a get-out-of-jail free pass for conservatives caught trashing the Gay Marriage ruling, or losing a political discussion. It has become our way of coddling people with problematic views, when what they really need is a reality check. On certain social issues, there is a difference between right and wrong, between acceptance and hatred, between tolerance and bigotry.
“It’s just my opinion!” they shriek when confronted with the truth about their ignorant beliefs. Whether it’s a snarky Twitter exchange or correcting Grandpa during family dinner, the second anyone plays the “opinion” card, we are expected to fall silent in the interest of being polite.
Why is it considered taboo to reply, “well, your opinion kind of sucks?” Why is it so hard to say “I’m right, you’re wrong, and I’m not apologizing for it?”
News flash: not all opinions ARE valid, nor are they all worthy of respect. There are people in the world that legitimately believe in white supremacy, or cutting off aid for the poor, or that all LGBTQA folk should burn in hell. There are people who don’t believe in political correctness, use racial slurs, misgender trans* individuals, and vote for Donald Trump. Those opinions are WRONG, and do not deserve any sort of respect.
In other words, if your opinion is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc, then guess what? I am NOT obligated to respect your opinion, because your opinion does not respect someone else.
This article was originally published here when I wrote for the Odyssey Online.