I’m sure you’ve all seen the recent trend on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit: “Post Your Unpopular Opinion”. I’ll admit, I’ve participated. Firstly, because I enjoy seeing what people consider to be “unpopular” and secondly, I’m a fan of educated debate (where you can find it anyway). However, in reading many of these threads, I found a somewhat recurring theme. Many of the things that people consider “unpopular”, in my opinion, shouldn’t be. Shall I provide examples? You know I’m going to anyway so…
Unpopular opinions circa 2017:
1. We need feminism
2. Men shouldn’t regulate women’s bodies
3. I’m pro-choice
4. Children need mothers more than fathers
5. Let the refugees in
The list goes on…. I’d really like to avoid the politics and arguments behind those 5 points specifically and focus more on the common theme among them. They all come back to treating people fairly and equally and respecting their rights as individuals. Why is it that these subjects aren’t popular opinions? Why do we feel as if we should have a say in what other people are allowed to do when it doesn’t personally effect us? The word autonomy does exist for a reason. Why do we treat people who are a different gender, religion, or race as less than? The word equality also exists for a reason. The common theme among these opinions makes me wonder… Where did our humanity go? Where did our kindness go? When did we lose our compassion for others?
Most of the time, when we hear the details of a personal story firsthand of something we might usually fight, such as a family of refugees being allowed into our country, we have sympathy for it. Because we’re hearing it firsthand, it’s in our faces, it’s made real. It’s easy to say “Fuck the refugees! Don’t let them in!” when you’re not staring a starving child from a war torn country in the face. It’s easy to say that abortion is never okay when it’s not your 16 year old. It’s easy to say men and women shouldn’t be equal when you’re the one who’s had the upper hand your entire life. And it’s easy to say mothers are more important when you’ve never grown up without a father. It’s easy to have an opinion about something that doesn’t effect you or your life personally.
Our compassion and capacity for critical thought are two major things that separate us from animals. Without these we become subhuman. We become cruel. We cause damage. We become opinionated; and in this world, our opinions are screamed at the top of our lungs until they start to effect public perception and legal policies. We have the ability to have a drastic and irreversible impact on other people’s lives and we exercise this ability with no thought for those people it may effect. That right there, is what I believe should be unpopular. I am of the opinion that when laws are passed, the people effected should have a say; they should be allowed to offer an opposing viewpoint. What we do and say in that regard should be challenged, looked at, drafted, opposed, and done again. We need to pay attention and be careful. Because these opinions we hold, these laws we support, these people we condemn, it’s all real. It’s not just a Facebook argument this week, it’s not just what’s trending, it is life. It’s our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us. These things do have an effect, they causes casualties, they change lives. We have a responsibility to be decent, compassionate, and good people. That is a key point in being a member of any community. So why does it seem that most of the community has forgotten that?