This is going to be a short and sweet post since I’m currently sitting on my couch on a Sunday night stressing about all these work emails I just received, but dammit I committed to a post every Wednesday so I’ve gotta kick out this draft now.
Do me a quick favor and think about one of your most recent conversations. Did you talk about how you’ve been doing, and what you’ve been doing? Or maybe did it veer into likes/dislikes or maybe even heavier topics like current events? I basically covered every topic of conversation just now so unless you were having an intense philosophical interaction then your answer is yes. Chances are, you also shared an opinion at some point during that conversation. It may have been small like “Oh ew I could never eat that, cauliflower is disgusting,” or it might have been something heavier like “Lax gun laws in the United States are perpetuating a culture of violence and preventing accountability for violent actions.”
Sharing opinions is something that I have observed to be integral to United States culture in particular. Sure, people share their opinions in every other country as well, but the United States is obsessed with our first amendment, and thus our supposed right to say whatever we want, whenever we want.
Since I’ve had the opportunity to live in a couple different countries, I’ve noticed that no other culture is quite as aggressive about sharing their thoughts. You can get into a heated debate anywhere, but Americans seem fixated on their ability to share their opinion, ANY opinion, more so than others.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. In fact, people who don’t have strong opinions tend to bore me. PICK A SIDE PEOPLE. But that might just be my American showing. Personally, I immensely enjoy having conversations with people who have definite opinions because I have definite opinions.
Additionally, I would go so far as to say that nothing ever gets done by people who don’t have strong opinions. People in leadership positions often have polarizing personalities because they have strong ideas that maybe some people don’t agree with. Passive people rarely cause change. If you don’t even feel strongly enough about something to talk about it in normal conversation, you’re never going to shape the world to fit that ideal.
However, there is a limit to this opinion drenched, soapbox endemic that the American people love to court. Many people love to spout their opinion but don’t love to back it up. We’ve gotten lazy under the protection of free speech and we don’t bother to research and conduct our due diligence on our opinions.
In the end, I’m an American, and I am grateful for free speech. But I’m also grateful for the people in my life that taught me free speech is a responsibility and that I better know what I’m talking about.