Though they shouldn’t be, opinions are a tricky thing. Everyone has them, and everyone believes they should be allowed to have whatever opinions they want on whatever topic they choose.
A funny thing happens when someone has a different opinion. It quickly seems to turn into, “You can believe what you want, but only if I approve.”
Many times we seem to forget that just because somebody has a different opinion, they aren’t automatically wrong.
In a world of billions of people, it’s a bit silly to think that everybody will have the same opinion. It’s also pretty pompous to believe that yours is the only opinion that matters or the only opinion that’s right.
All of us at The Ranger have our own opinions about almost anything you can think about.
If you ask us about gay marriage, abortion, religion, gun control or even something like our favorite superhero, you’ll get a variety of answers from “yes” to “no” and all the gray in between.
The thing is, as much as we may all disagree on the actual topics, we still all agree to respect each other’s opinions.
Life is not as simple as black and white.
Many of us have learned the hard way that there is nothing more disconcerting than to firmly believe in something only to have circumstances force you to realize that absolutes are never that simple.
What’s important is not that you were right or wrong, that one opinion is better than another or that two people must completely agree on a subject; it’s that you’re mature enough to accept your differences and respect that they have a right to have a different opinion.
If you want someone to respect your opinions, you should take care how you word your thoughts on theirs.
If you voice your stance in a way that propagates hate and discrimination and invites vitriol, you not only disrespect others, you also lose their respect for you.
Everyone isn’t required to have the same opinion on any issue.
But for a discussion to be open and progressive, it’s crucial to remember that the way you share those opinions or respond to the opinions of others will set the terms for how well your own will be received.
If all else fails, remember the wise words of Amarllo College President Dr. Paul Matney:
We can all agree to disagree, but we don’t have to be disagreeable.