87°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Opinions are like armpits

“Opinions are like armpits … we all have them but think only ours don’t stink!” Author unknown.

No reasonable person would deny that we live in historically strange and contentious times. Many norms established and maintained for generations in America have been torn away, root and branch.

Philosophers through the ages have reminded us that the only constant in life is change. That said, I know I am not alone in believing the speed of change has accelerated, especially in the last decade. For me, one of the most troubling changes in the last few years has been people’s lack of willingness to express their opinions.

It seemed to start with social media, where ostracizing those with whom you disagreed became the rule rather than an exception. The virtual insulation provided by hosts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, allowed people to practice a version of online road rage where, often anonymously, they could savage their opponents without consequences of face-to-face encounters.

Online donnybrooks soon gave birth to a wholly new phenomenon: being “canceled.” This involves involuntary removal from all social media platforms in one fell swoop. Again, the offense was opinions outside some new “approved norm,” one whose definitions remain elusive to this day. I suspect that, more often than not, political differences are at the core of this issue.

George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Everyone has a right to have his own opinion given that it coincides with ours.” His words seem particularly prescient.

Of course, every American should know that our Constitution protects the expression of our opinions. But what many fail to understand is, the First Amendment was designed to —among other things— protect opinions with which we specifically disagree.

The framers of our Constitution were passionate in their belief that government has no rightful jurisdiction over the opinions of its citizens. Yet in these strange times, our government has recently established a “Disinformation Governance Board,” whose mission is to combat “misinformation,” presumably in the form of expressed opinions our betters have deemed flawed. Say what?

This new division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is eerily reminiscent of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s “1984.” This was a tool allowing one political party to deem which truth was, in fact, “correct” and force adherence in opinions and deeds.

The term “politically correct” was borne out of the 1930’s pre-World War II jargon attributed by the New York Times to Germany’s Nazi Party who were “(g)ranting reporting permits ‘only to pure “Aryans” whose opinions are politically correct.’” We’re not there — yet.

Where all this hits home is — well — at home. Family members have declared that if I supported “X” candidate or certain disapproved opinions, I was no longer welcome in their home or, more dramatically, in their lives. Looking in the mirror I can honestly say I do not practice this type of histrionics. I welcome diversity of thought, opinion and political persuasion. I find it exciting, challenging.

I remember family arguments involving politics of the day, religion, gossip, at times getting heated. But never, as in not ever, did we question our love and devotion to one another. That would be, well, insane!

Of course, we should all resist the temptation to believe we are being persecuted whenever someone disagrees with us. Yet a difference of opinion today marks you with a scarlet letter. Conform or else.

I take comfort in quotes like that of Clarence Darrow: “The world is made up for the most part of morons and natural tyrants, sure of themselves, strong in their own opinions, never doubting anything.”

In appreciation of the humorous point of view of Mark Twain, “I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.”

Opinions are just that — how you think or feel about any subject at hand. Right, wrong, mostly subjective. But for all that’s holy, we must return to the day when we all had the personal courage to voice our opinions.

Quoting Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

With Mandela’s call to bravery as an inspiration, I encourage everyone to speak up, speak out and embrace the joy of being an individual. Use the Golden Rule as a guide: Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Disagreements are a constant, an inevitable happenstance. If you wish to express yourself without being clobbered, be gracious with those who share opposite points of view. Remember the armpit analogy; hold your nose when needed and listen.

I invite your opinions regarding mine.

The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.

Ron Russ is a Los Angeles transplant, living in and loving Boulder City since 2020. His career in commercial broadcasting spanned more than four decades including a brief stint as the announcer for Fox’s short-lived “The Chevy Chase Show.” In another lifetime Ron performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles. He can be reached at russbcr@outlook.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Find unity in, through prayer

My dad had a standby joke about prayer that he repeatedly told in various forms for 28 years as a Clark County commissioner. It never failed to bring the house down with laughter.

Enjoy education’s escapades

Monday was a big day for Boulder City’s younger residents.

Be true friend indeed

There’s an old saying that I’ve never been truly able to wrap my head around: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” I researched the phase’s origin and found references to the earliest possible version. Roman Quintas Ennius wrote circa 300 B.C., “A sure friend is known when in difficulty.” I’ve heard of old sayings but that old?

City needs fair, equitable solution to hangar woes

The local government of Boulder City made an enormous mistake. It’s OK to make a mistake occasionally; what is much more important is to admit it and find a way to correct it.

Blockbuster dream: Movies at historic theater

The Boulder Theatre is a magnificent piece of the city’s history. As the first building in Boulder City with air conditioning, it provided reprieve from the heat for the dam workers. And I think it’s time for the building to be returned to its previous use. Bring back summer movies at the theater.

It’s time to ‘Be Boulder’

Except for those few moments every now and then when the cynical journalist in me creeps out, I like to consider myself a positive person. I look for the best in people and try to ignore, as much as possible, their faults.

First impressions count

It has been quite the move from Pennsylvania to Nevada for little ol’ me (Hi, I’m Owen Krepps, the new guy at the Review). If you’ll spare me the time, I would like to share some of my observations with the town that I have made in my first month living here.

Water conservation top priority for city

With the results of the primary election last month I will resume writing this monthly column for the remainder of my term as mayor ending in November. I congratulate Joe Hardy as the next mayor of Boulder City and look forward to a smooth transition in working with Joe.

Inflation fueled by rising oil costs

What do the rising price of meat products, dairy products, vegetables, cereal and nearly everything in the hardware store, including lumber, have in common? Oil. A barrel of oil is refined into diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and aviation gas. It is utilized in manufacturing plastics, synthetic materials, asphalt, lubricants, roofing, trash bags and the list goes on. Therefore, when the cost of a barrel of oil increases, the cost of goods increases through the manufacturing or the delivery of these products.