– Mother Teresa
Here’s a question I’ve been pondering a lot lately: do I have to have an opinion about everything?
As the election season heats up, I frequently find myself in situations where people are discussing politics. I’ve found myself struggling to keep up with these conversations. What do I think about immigration issues, No Child Left Behind, Middle East policy, Homeland Security, Kyoto, minimum wage increase, welfare reform, healthcare reform, tax reform and social security reform? I’d been trying to keep up with it all, struggling to sneak in moments here or there to read political sites, even turning on CSPAN for a moment before feeling myself start to slip into a coma, when it occurred to me: maybe I don’t have to have opinions about all of this stuff.
I am not naturally interested in politics, so keeping up-to-date on all the issues takes quite a bit of effort. And I’m starting to think that maybe I just don’t have the mental bandwidth to keep up with it all right now, that next time someone asks what I think about Senator So-And-So’s immigration reform proposal, maybe it’s OK to say, “I don’t have an opinion about that.”
Don’t get me wrong: this is also not to say that there are no political issues that I care about. I am quite concerned about certain topics (mostly related to the respect of human life), and do keep up-to-date and informed in those areas. This is also not to say that I don’t think these things are important. I think they’re all very important. It’s just that I don’t feel called to make these particular issues my concern right now, and that since I’ve hardly had any time to read up on them, I feel far from qualified to voice my opinion in anything other than the most broad terms.
I’m starting to feel that for me, in this phase of life, it’s just not my calling to be all that passionate or involved in politics, to put much time or effort into trying to better the world through changes in government policy or other large-scale initiatives. Right now, as trite as it may sound to some people, I feel like my calling is to just make my little corner of the world the best that it can be: to work on the immigration issue by continuing to lend a helping hand to some friends of ours who are immigrants from Mexico; to preserve the environment by making sure that our household uses our God-given resources prudently; to reform social security by having lots of future taxpayers; to (as Kimberly Hahn once put it) change the culture, one diaper at a time.
Yet I feel like I’m violating some sort of law when I embrace that mentality, that it’s carved in stone somewhere that everyone must have an opinion about every issue all the time. And other people evidently know of this law, or would at least seem to from the looks I get when I say in social settings that I don’t have an opinion about certain major issues.
I thought it would be interesting to hear others’ opinions on this: what do you think? Is it OK to not have an opinion about certain major issues, or is that just a cop-out?
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