You’re not entitled to your opinion

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not-entitled-to-opinionI was watching CNN for a little bit the other day (honestly, no matter who I watch, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, they all grate on me after a little while) and one of the reporters was interviewing Donald Trump supporters outside a Florida rally.

There were no surprises. Their devotion to Mr. Trump is rock-solid, almost slavish. In their review of the debate, they said he made no mistakes, respected women and there was no reason to change from his primary-style delivery.

I was amazed by the realization that someone can be so entwined in their personal desperation and devotion that they cannot allow for the slightest suggestion that Mr. Trump had some areas he could improve upon.

By now, readers are clear on my political and presidential leanings, so it’s no surprise I deviate from the ardent Trump supporters’ assessment of the debate. Those people, it turned out, truly can’t be talked with, as one woman vituperatively attacked the reporter asking the questions.

On the other hand, I’ve talked to some rational Trump supporters. Their reasons are not necessarily the cult of personality buy-in as the very real issues such as the upcoming Supreme Court elections.

One aspect, long considered a fundamental bedrock of conservatism, is abortion. There is a religious and moral imperative that many Republican voters feel is, irrespective of all other issues, absolutely worth their vote and that is making abortion illegal.

That has been a core belief of many American voters and not just right-wing or “moral majority” types, but many who believe killing babies is wrong.

They have the right to believe that. Here’s the question: Do they have the right to tell others what to do with their lives?

Now, I’m not particularly religious (what small amount I carry around stems from my Jewish upbringing), but I don’t favor abortion for my own holier-than-thou issue: you should be responsible for the choices you make. You don’t want to take precautions, fine, deal with the outcome responsibly (yeah, I know this fails its own test – if they’re that irresponsible, it’s possible they’ll be terrible parents, too).

However. In cases of non-consensual or medically dangerous situations, I believe the woman should have the right to protect herself.

The abortion law, like many laws, can be taken advantage of. Plenty of sloppy or careless couples have taken the “Whoops, didn’t mean to” route of using an abortion to make up for their bad decision-making. But the value of the law in extreme cases is valid.

The law may offend some people’s moral or religious beliefs but it is consistent with the prime thought process of the Constitution: people have the freedom to live their lives in their own way. A person having an abortion does not directly cause harm to a person somewhere else, except in that other person’s belief that their personal definition of life (and therefore murder) supersedes that of the person and doctor agreeing on an abortion.

That’s not an opinion you are entitled to because it infringes the rights of others.

Let me offer this example:

I don’t believe in speeding. I am offended and often angered at other people speeding, sometimes recklessly. And, I have the law on my side as there are signs posted in each state showing that Department of Transportation’s legally allowed maximum speed.

I recognize, even though I am legally in the right, that it would be counter-productive to castigate or cease dealings with everyone I know who speeds, even though they are all technically criminals. I certainly wouldn’t bomb garages in protest.

And, I would point out, there are countless lives lost due directly to speeding. Including children.

If I were to suggest to you that you should never speed again or that speeding should be punished harsher than is currently (and ineffectively) practiced, the response could range from ridicule to anger.

In this case, I am entitled to my opinion, because there is no legal right to speeding, but expressing it bears little weight in the court of public opinion (unless you are a surviving friend, relative or passenger from a fatal speeding accident).

The Supreme Court is a critical part of the three branches of government. It exists to ensure that no decision on the part of the other two branches or any of its lower judicial courts creates a law that infringes on the intrinsic quality of freedom that led to the formation of this great nation.

That the practice and practical nature of abortion was never expressly considered in the original Constitution does not prevent the Supreme Court from considering and rendering judgment on that practice if it is brought to their court.

I understand if this counter argument is not compelling or convincing. Those who are against abortion are steadfast based on religious, moral and scientific beliefs. The same could be said for those who are opposed.

If that’s reason enough for you to side with an otherwise unnerving candidate such as Donald Trump, I grudgingly understand. The chances to influence the Supreme Court come only so often and in some people’s views is worth any risk (after all, how much harm could Mr. Trump really do?).

For those people, I will only say I respect your reason, if not your decision. You are entitled to your beliefs and the (peaceful) choices you make to support them.

Now, if you’re suggesting you need to protect the Supreme Court because of the second amendment, you’re just repeating a bald-faced lie of Mr. Trump.

You are entitled to that opinion also, interestingly enough, but you probably shouldn’t be.

 

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