What’s for dinner?
It’s a simple question, and yet the answer is far from simple.
Sometimes it’s difficult to decide if you want to indulge in a heaping plate of pasta, topped with your favorite sauce and giant meatballs, or select a healthier option such as grilled fish and a salad.
But I’ve found that selecting what to eat for the evening repast is far more than making the choice to be indulgent or healthy. It’s simply being afraid of offending anyone with your opinion.
It’s a familiar situation that crosses over into many aspects of our lives.
The ability to freely share your opinion, which can never be right or wrong because it is your opinion, can trace its roots to the very foundation of our nation.
One of the battle cries of the American colonists was “no taxation without representation.” They bristled at the idea of the British parliament making laws and taxing citizens without being given the opportunity to vote on who would represent their ideals.
The ability to express one’s opinion was so important that it was central to the Declaration of Independence and reasserted in the First Amendment.
Granted, having differences of opinion can cause major rifts. A prime example is the Civil War, which divided the nation over the North’s and the South’s opinions about slavery.
They also can bring about sweeping changes. Look at the suffragette movement in the United States. Women believed they had a right to express their opinions at the polls, voting alongside the nation’s men. The result was the 19th Amendment, which marks its 100th anniversary this year.
The same is true about our own City Council, where differences of opinion or perceived differences of opinion about the direction of growth and historic preservation resulted in a complete change in leadership.
During the past six months or so, I’ve had several columnists, who were hired to express their opinions, tell me they preferred not to do so any longer.
I understand that it is a difficult challenge and that expressing one’s opinion can lead to disparaging remarks or harassment. I’ve been subjected to that, along with threats to my life and livelihood.
And yet I see plenty of opinions bandied about, sometimes quite casually, on social media.
No one should be afraid of expressing their opinion or be vilified for it. Listening to viewpoints other than your own can expand your mind to new ideas. Or it can lead to discussions to find solutions and compromises.
Whether you agree with them or not, each of us is entitled to express an opinion and no one should be afraid to do so. We here at the Boulder City Review welcome opinions and encourage you, our readers, to express them through letters to the editor and guest columns.
We also welcome inquiries from those who would like to become regular opinion columnists.
And if you can help me decide what’s for dinner, that would be appreciated, too.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.