Have you ever heard someone claim, “I’m entitled to my opinion!” as justification for posting something rude, or just plain mean, online?
I hear it a lot with politics. People on all sides calling names, beyond just sharing views or beliefs about the way America should be run. It often enters into the name-calling phase. It seems it’s tough for people to stick to the topics at hand and focus on the issues. Instead, when they don’t know what else to say, they go to the old playground argument, “Yeah well, your mom’s ugly and wears combat boots!”
In my world of TV, I hear comments about my appearance pretty often. People tell me that they hate my dress or think my hair is ugly, and then go on to say “Well, I’m entitled to my opinion.”
Of course, you are.
Everyone in America has a right to their opinion. That’s what we are all about. But you can also exercise your right to keep your opinion to yourself.
If you think I am fat, skinny, ugly, or don’t know how to dress, it is your right to have that opinion. But when you choose to exercise your right to SHARE those ugly comments to me, your opinion crosses over into just being rude. (Read my HEY, BULLY! JUST STOP! blog here).
Somehow we have gotten the idea that we are allowed to be disrespectful or cruel to each other, because we are entitled to our opinions.
Believing someone is ugly is certainly your option. Verbalizing that to their face crosses over from opinion to disrespect and rudeness.
Remember when your mom used to tell you if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all? I miss those days.
A favorite thing to do in recent years is blame “the administration.” Ever hear, “Thanks, Obama!” muttered in contempt? How about blaming Trump when a racist flares his ugly tongue? It’s the liberal’s fault. It’s the conservative’s fault. The reason we’re unkind is someone else’s fault. They deserve it.
The thing is, we have been cutting each other off in traffic, flipping each other off, calling people names, for a whole lot longer than the last year that Donald Trump has been President. I have gotten cruel and unkind comments from viewers since long before email even existed.
It’s certainly easier to be rude now because of the internet and social media and the speedy ability to share your opinion.
How about instead of teaching our children to stand up to bullies, we teach our children to not BE bullies?
How do we teach our kids to be kind to each other and treat others as they would want to be treated when we don’t do it ourselves? How great would it be if we did not have bullies on the playground, so there would be no need to teach our children how to stand up to bullies?
Yes I know, that is me living in a bubble, wishing and hoping that we could all live in a peaceful world.
I understand there will always be bad people. I understand that we will always have people with whom we disagree.
But it’s not the really bad people who belong in jail that are spewing out hate on Facebook during an election.
It’s my friends who attend my church… It’s my neighbors I had dinner with last week… It’s the parents at school… It’s my relatives…
We are America. We are the ones being rude to each other and calling each other names.
Let’s raise a generation of children who show kindness instead of shouting about being “entitled to my opinion!”
We can do better. I want to do better. How about you?