“Well, opinions are like a**holes … everybody has one.” – Dirty Harry in The Dead Pool (1988)
This is pretty much where I am these days.
You can say we are a nation divided. You can say that everyone but you is wrong. You can say that you don’t understand what is happening to us. But at the end of the day – the biggest issue – is that we all want our opinion to be right.
Life is complicated. The issues that face us today are complicated. We are often contradictory in how we react to issues based on our preferences, our backgrounds, and our influences and changes that come with every day life.
I remember interviewing a former pastor of mine while writing a paper on the death penalty in college. I asked him if he was for or against it. He said that as a pastor he was against the taking of a life by an institution. But as a father and as a husband, he may feel differently if the victim was one of his own.
That is the truest statement I have ever heard on a political issue.
We are shaped by the events and the people and the influencers that we surround ourselves with. The truth is that we change our minds based on those same things. The crosses we are currently using to bash each other around with may change in the future based on new influences.
Several times a day I find myself overcome with repulsion and disgust and agreement and joy and sadness and grief and a full range of human emotions just by reading my Facebook feed. And that is just a small portion of the influence that others can have on me.
It makes me sad. It colors my impressions of people I have known for many years. People I love and respect. And I have to work hard to not post opinions and throw more fuel on the fire. I don’t always win that fight. But I do try.
The saddest part is that I used to love a good debate. But a good debate does not exist anymore.