Choices and Opinions

Dec 3 2020

I keep hearing and reading what I call “an either/or” mentality… as if there is only one choice to any problem.

Right now on the news they are suggesting there are only two choices for Christmas shopping… Black Friday or Online shopping. Seriously? Are you saying there are no other options to buy Christmas gifts? And I’m amazed at how many people buy into this. You mean no one will be going to small local stores, or people will not be buying things all year long, or the thought of handmade and homemade gifts are out of the question? Or maybe just get fed up and go with a no gifts holiday?

I saw some people “discussing” the refugee situation, and how since we “can’t take of our own” we should not take care of anyone else. No, we CHOOSE to not take care of our own… not only returned military and veterans but the homeless, hungry, and mentally ill. We could take care of them if we wanted to, but too many religious leaders and politicians prefer to live in mansions and drive expensive cars and send the message that this is what all of us could and should do. But in reality, we should take care of all of the people in need!! We need to support school levies because our children are our future. We need to make sure all people have a place to live, no matter where they came from, have enough to eat, and have proper medical attention. But those are no longer priorities. The only thing that is important is money and profits.

Then there is the argument between pro-life and pro-choice and that you can only be one!! Bullshit. A lot of people believe that ALL life is important, not just pregnancy, that the quality of life is important at ALL stages, and that people need to have the choice of what that means to them. This includes not just abortion, but also birth control and sexual identity. If you don’t want to have an abortion or marry someone of the same sex, then don’t. But you have no right to demand that everyone else needs to do what you insist is the only way to do it.

And lastly, is all this crap about religion. Again, it seems like there are only two choices. Either you are a Christian or you’re not. And if you are not, you are the devil incarnate and a Satan worshiper. And banish the idea that you could ever combine two or more religious practices!!! I’m getting really tired of seeing comments from both sides…. that everyone needs to “simply be a Christian” or that all religion needs to be abolished. You know there are many in between these two; it’s all a part of religious beliefs evolving as we learn new things. Whatever happened free will and free choice? How does my own personal beliefs make any kind of impact on your own? And if it does, you really don’t have much faith in your own beliefs.

Religious freedom means ALL religions or no religion. Our US constitution assures that. Don’t believe me? Go read it for yourself. And religious freedom doesn’t mean just Christian religions, especially since so many Christians can’t agree about what that even means!

Opinions are important and it’s important that we share them. But there are two things you have to remember about opinions… they are not facts and they only apply to ourselves.

There is never just one way to do anything; not what we believe, think, do, read, eat, wear, live, and everything else in life. I’ve had so many people tell me “you’re doing it wrong” simply because my way was different from theirs… from my belief system to what I eat to how I crochet and sew.

We are not robots, we are human beings and as humans there is no way we all are going to see things eye to eye and from the same perspective? Is it really so hard to expect acceptance of other ways to do things? It doesn’t mean you have to embrace those other ways…just respect the right to make those choices.

If you want the right to make your own choices, in anything, you need to extend those same rights to everyone else on the planet. All 7 billion of us.

UPDATE: I wrote the above five years ago, at the end of November of 2015. A lot has changed in the past five years. When Donald Trump decided to run for president, I never dreamed he had a chance of winning, but somehow he managed to get to the White House. In five years my feelings about some of this have changed. I went from being a Humanist Pagan to a Paganized Atheist, basically the same thing, the only difference is that before I leaned more towards the Pagan aspect, and now I’m more Atheist.

Now we not only have the above to disagree and argue about, we also have the 2020 Election, a more divisive political landscape, a pandemic and quarantine and lockdowns, and those who have turned it into yet another political argument… to wear masks or not, to get a vaccine or not.

2020 has been a difficult year for so many. Too many black people are being gunned down by white people. Too many people have died from Covid 19. Too many people are out of work, losing their homes, trying to feed hungry children, and if parents manage to hold on to their homes and jobs, they are juggling work, childcare and helping their kids do distance learning. And in the midst all of this, there are still those refuse to wear masks and social distance and who want to take away equal rights for people of color and those of different sexual identity.

And now we are back around to Christmas time again, where Trump followers are insisted that it’s only “Merry Christmas” and it’s only a Christian holiday and thankful that “Trump brought back Christmas into their lives”. Either these people have very short memories (like 4 years long) or lack education in American history or only believe what they are told to believe.

Just for the record. Christmas has been an American holiday since the late 1800’s and it’s never been just a Christian holiday, it’s a blend of all kinds of fun cultural traditions. The United States has never been a Christian nation. There is no War on Christmas, only in the small minds of Fox news.

As rough as this last year has been for so many of us, the last thing anyone needs to is to be told “my way or the highway”. Let’s all just celebrate the holidays in the ways that work best for each of us.

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