It is becoming more common place to see debates raging on the internet. Debates about what books to read, what movies to watch, what the school boards should and shouldn’t be teaching and so forth and so on. It poisons Facebook, it poisons Twitter, it is the court of uninformed opinion and the internet has become the stage, the bullhorn for these ragefests.
Uninformed? Yes, you read that right. I have read two such arguments recently. One expounding the evils of reading books written only by a certain gender, race and religious bent, and the other on the evils of sex-education in the schools. Neither of which I want to get into here. If you want to wade in with your opinions, find them on the internet and do yourself a favour, read up on them. Read everything you can find from respected and learned sources before you offer up your opinion. This is a practice that is largely ignored.
Yes, I agree, your opinion, or my opinion, is just that, our own. When it starts being a problem is when that opinion is ill-informed and when that opinion it stuffed down the throats of others.
There are many people out there that take exception to certain things. I understand that. You are allowed not to like something, but don’t base that dislike on an article you read, written by someone that didn’t bother to fact check because they feel they are right.
It’s not hard to understand why this happens in today’s age of clickbait, and lazy journalism. Look at any well written, well researched and non-inflammatory article and then scroll down to the comments. They are populated by commenters that didn’t research, can hardly spell and when called out for their ignorance, hide behind religion. Here’s a news flash for those people, the smart, religious people are sick of you dragging their faith through the mud.
On a Sex-Ed debate one woman, a proclaimed home-schooler, proudly announced that she didn’t not have to read the article she was against because “I have read the bible cover to cover”. Well so have I and I’m not religious. At all. I don’t remember a single passage on Sex-Education. And don’t even get me started on her whole rant that it promotes homosexuality reasoning either. What astounds me, is that she is teaching. Thankfully only her children, I can’t help but feel sorry for those poor kids. The thing with the whole Sex-Ed thing is, if you don’t like it or agree with it you have options and the best option is education. Teach your kids! Don’t rely on the TV, the Internet, society or the school. Teach them the reality and let them make up their own minds. If you forearm them with proper, not skewed, knowledge, they will make the right choices. You have to allow them that ability, that freedom, that most basic of rights.
In order to teach, one must be educated and that includes the stuff they don’t like. With out knowing the full story, both sides of it, how can one teach? What happens in that case is no different than brain washing. Her children have no choice. “You will believe only what I say because I said it”. Ouch. Where have we heard that before?
I guess my beef here, besides my total lack of patience for the intentionally ignorant, is that reading, the act of actively gaining knowledge, is falling by the wayside in lieu of Internet News. When places like Fox News can’t be bothered to hide their bigotry, misogyny and blatant stupidity, how can we expect the viewers to be otherwise. Everyone has an option. Just because you don’t like or even agree with something, don’t assume everyone feels the same way and you can’t make them.
I know not everyone can read, which is why I participate in the Muskoka Novel Marathon to raise money to combat illiteracy. Everyone deserves the basic right to read even if the mass majority that can, choose not to.
Always fuel your brain before you open your mouth or fire up the keyboard. And remember, your opinion is yours alone.
Don’t be loud, be informed. And above all, READ.