I first published this piece on Righteous Anger.
So, more ramblings on things embodied by the 1st Amendment. This time, it concerns the freedom of speech and “I’m entitled to my opinion.” I’ve found that too many people take this as, “I can say whatever I want and you can’t reply, because it’s my opinion and I can have it.” It is your opinion. And you can have it. You can make the most racist, violent, fucked-up statement you want, and you’re absolutely free to do so. However, demanding that no one respond to it because it’s “my opinion” is bullshit. See, this free speech and “it’s my opinion” thing means that people who come across that opinion have a right to their opinions on what you’ve said.
I fully accept that people won’t like my opinions, because most are highly contrary to standard American doctrine. And people can get pissed at me for them. In fact, much of the time, I expect someone to get pissed at me for them. I’m not going to tell them they have no right to do so, because “it’s my opinion”. If it’s something that I have reflected on and stand by, I’m just going to say that I don’t give a shit whether they agree or not. If they have a point, I’ll revise my opinion and say so. Regardless, the expression of something that is my opinion does not remove the right of others to theirs. Just like when they express something, the fact that it’s their opinion does not remove my right to think they’re fucking idiots…and say so. Because, y’know, it’s my opinion.