LETTER: Respect others’ right to opinion
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 13:02
To the editor:
I learned of Richard Winters’ column “Media show worldwide moral decline” because a Facebook friend was throwing a fit over it. I read it just to discover why they were so agitated. Sharing Winters’ opinions on several issues and therefore knowing how unpopular they are, I immediately admired him for the bravery it took to publically own them.
Sure, there were statements that could have been worded better, plenty of arguments that could have been more effective, but for the most part, I agree with Winters. The glorification of immorality is rampant in our country, and there have been Statesman columnists advocating lifestyles that I personally find lewd.
With that said, I write, not simply to come to Winters’ defense — I’m talking to you, agitated Facebook friend — but to make a strike at what I find to be an equally serious problem: our utterly exasperating habit of personally attacking those who disagree with us.
I know a few Statesman columnists, having written campus news once upon a time. Consequently, I am fully aware that Winters’ column has already prompted at least one bitter rebuttal from an ex-columnist who championed the opinions he condemns. That rebuttal has been met by a small outpouring of support from Utah State students who feel the need to express how stupid they feel Winters is, some of whom are obviously offended by his opinion and find no way to respond to it other than by being petty and rude.
To those students, I admonish: get over it.
We live in a world where, rather than standing on our podiums and declaring “I will defend to my death your right to your own opinion,” as Winters reminded us Voltaire did, we find it more attractive to yowl from the familiarity of our own crowd that we will only defend another’s right to their opinion when it’s our opinion also.
Honestly, I think it’s embarrassing that the same people championing the moral views of 30-40 percent of campus can’t stand that one individual is respectfully disagreeing. For months, I have opened the newspaper and read opinions that are abhorrent to me. I won’t stoop so low as to personally and publicly affront the columnist, however. They deserve to express themselves, just as we all do, and the best way to react is to kindly share our perspective instead of acting like spurned preteens.