It’s all over

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

What an election!

I’ve made it a practice, all my life, not to talk politics or religion in a group of people. That’s some advice my grandfather gave me many, many years ago and it’s pretty darn good advice.

Here’s why. With both of these topics, you are going to go into the conversation knowing the person or persons you are talking to has their own thinking, reasoning and beliefs. That’s natural – everyone has an opinion. Also, in both topics there’s no winning the conversation.

Just because your opinion is different than the person you are talking to, doesn’t necessarily mean you are right or that they are wrong – it’s an opinion.

Now, there’s a difference between stating facts and statistics than simply running off at the mouth about your opinion and thinking what you are saying is &uot;the only way.&uot;

Opinions are wonderful things, and thank God we have the freedom to express our opinions and not be punished for doing so.

At the same time, it has been my experience that a good number of people punish themselves by providing the rest of us with their opinions.

I find it humorous, to say the least, to hear someone get on a soapbox about something they are strongly opposed to or in favor of and it be so obvious they have no idea what they are talking about or – in some cases – have no idea which way they are really leaning.

It’s as if some people are so eager to have an opinion they forget to put some thought into why it is they feel what they feel.

Or worse yet, they do absolutely no research of their own on a particular issue and base everything they think or feel on what somebody else has opinionatedly said or written.

My grandfather had another saying about opinions and what they are like, but I won’t share that with you here in this space – it most certainly would offend some readers. However, I will paraphrase and say that opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one.

I respect most everyone’s opinion. I certainly think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and with that said, I too am entitled to mine.

I don’t cram my personal thoughts or beliefs on anyone. I do share with people who are troubled or confused my thoughts as an option, but not as the so-called way to go in life.

For that matter, I make it a habit not to volunteer advice to anyone. If I’m asked what I think, I’ll gladly share it, but to lead someone to believe what I think is what they should think… well that’s just wrong.

I’ve used that same philosophy with three children – two of which are off in college and one still at home. Here too again, there’s a difference between opinions of what is right and wrong and teaching what is right and wrong.

Even children should be entitled to an opinion, as long as the parent has a strong understanding of how to deal with the differences that will surely come about over time.

Wisdom plays a big role in the advice my grandfather shared with me all those years ago, and by the way, yes, I asked for that advice.

That wisdom becomes even more obvious with a comment he made to me once, &uot;If you keep your mouth shut, people might think you are dumb; but if you open it, they surely will know that you are.&uot; Meaning, sometimes you simply need to keep your opinion to yourself.

I guess that’s my point. I’ve listened to so many people mouth off about Kerry and Bush and throw their opinions around like it’s worth their weight in gold. Perhaps some of those people need to understand another fact, that being, the more they say, the less anyone listens – and that goes for some articles that have been published right here in this very paper.

For what it’s worth, I’m glad the election is over. I cannot remember a more negative campaign in my life and quite frankly I was growing tired of turning on a television and hearing one candidate bash another.

On a lighter note, I do want to praise the local election boards – they did an outstanding job running a very smooth election process in the three-county area. Yes, that’s my opinion, but an opinion worth stating since the facts seem to back it up.