Having Opinions: Be Prude Yet Shrewd

I struggle with extremism. Overly strong beliefs provide a harbor for narrowed ideas and anchor any potential progress within a thinker. We have invested our views upon only a few media conglomerates, making us susceptible to any mismanaged fact. We react without much thought to misleading statistics. We respond to outrage with more rage or obsession. Our news sources throughout the years have diminished from full-fledged articles, to blogs, to tweets, and memes that grossly generalize complicated ideas.

I think it’s great that many people have responded so sensibly, pinpointing deficiencies in news coverage and reflecting on the morality of any given situation. However, we have become prisoners to our ideologies, our small worlds, and tightly held beliefs. We’ve stunted learning any new information and filter our minds to find what specifically pertains to us. I'm not saying there is an easy solution to revamping the American media. I'm saying that as any other concerned individual, we have to bring it upon ourselves to uncover whats right. For every stance you take—for every post you share—read twice as many opposing articles. Not only can that further cement your position on a subject, but it may also enlighten you to the true issue at hand.

Despite the weight of an issue, it’s important to remain rational and choose leveled words when making an argument. Without the concept of moderation during critical events, we lose sight of what’s at the core of an issue.

Relevant example: there are enraged gunmen committing serious crimes at places one would never hope for. Regardless of what you feel is at the core of these events (whether it is gun control, fair coverage, or pure injustice), be cautious by how you intake new information. Not only heed caution when learning about such tragedies but practice temperance when speaking on it. We aren't surprised by how stories unfold, not because there isn’t crippling information, but because we have already predetermined our stance. Isn't it possible that you are immune to reason because you are so deep at one end of an issue? Aren't we all clouded by a plethora of right and wrong information?

Another relevant example: A chicken sandwich chain and the supposed jeopardy of free speech at one end of the extreme and freedom of religion at the other. Both sides can substantially argue that their first amendment rights are in question. If you are truly appalled by the situation, regardless of which end you stand on, make sure you empathize and rationalize yourself out of an extreme end. Failing to do so will cause your frustration to linger, in which case, your cause has already lost effectiveness. Think of the last time you read something by the extreme opposition and miraculously altered your views? Never. Rage fails us. So, do your research: what other corporations support groups that you feel are opposing your liberty? Or at the other end: Whom else do we quiet as a society for simply speaking their mind?

There is truth to both sides but radical ideas don't constitute a viable stance on their own.

Really, disproportional and bias news coverage is an old topic. However, the same way a physician takes an oath to practice honest care, journalists need to carry a heavier burden of presenting well-rounded information. Do justice to your beliefs and remain educated. It's been a work in progress for me to do this as I read/watch the news but it has provided me with a more positive psyche. Change the way you read, be weary of extreme language, and empathize generously to opposing arguments.

This is all my opinion so perhaps I sound extreme myself. If you are easily persuaded by this or don't agree at all, maybe I failed to make my point.  Also relevant: The Best New Show for America