Point of View: Discerning the times: Lack of opinion calls for reflection

By Caty Hirst
City Editor

I had a column due this week. And when I sat down to write this particular column I could not think of anything. I sat at my desk, head slightly down, starring at the screen and my fingers tapping the keyboard impatiently, waiting for a piece of opinion to miraculously fill my head. Waiting to feel passion for a particular topic so that I could beat out my anger on my computer and shout it, figuratively, for the entire world to see (or at least all those who pick up the Lariat and read the opinion page).

But I had nothing. Nada.

And, believe it or not, I am typically a very opinionated person.

You want to know about my stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict? I could tell you about it for hours. My position on the budget cuts? That discussion could get real heated, real quickly. I take a very firm stand on the church’s involvement in government, the United States’ position on foreign affairs, the war in Iraq, gay rights and just about any other controversial topic on the table.

I even have a position on Disney movies and cartoons. So naturally when it came time to write this column, I wasn’t stressed. I knew I would be able to find something to write on—except I couldn’t.

No matter how long I sat at my desk, no matter how many times I tried to present an intelligent argument for or against something—I just got stuck. Every sentence I wrote was awful. Every thought was pathetically formed and not communicating like I wanted it to.

And then it hit me. It’s OK.

I don’t have to feel passionate about everything all the time. I don’t always have to sound or look like I have my act together all the time.

Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, I can just say I don’t know. Because I don’t really know. Yeah, I can talk for hours about what I think we should do in the Israel-Palestine conflict…but that doesn’t mean that my answers are the right ones. It also doesn’t mean my answers are the only answers.

Sometimes, putting your opinion out in the world and doing your best to share it with as many people as you can is the least productive way to come to a correct conclusion.

I won’t learn anything new about the Israel-Palestine conflict if I think I’m right all the time. I have to step back from what I want to say and let others speak first. I have to be willing to listen to others and engage in a conversation of opinions. So consider this my opinion on the importance of stepping back and recognizing that it is OK to not have an opinion. It is OK to know you don’t have all the answers (even though we like to think we do).

Who knows? You might even learn something new when you let your opinions down. When you just drop it all off at the door and go through an hour, a day or even a week just listening to others and absorbing what is around you.

Caty Hirst is a junior journalism major from Caddo, Okla., and the city editor for the Lariat.