16 November 2009

On political opinions and credibility

On a number of occasions in the past, I have been told by well-meaning women that because I am a man, I simply cannot understand the issues surrounding abortion and therefore my opinion doesn't matter (for the record, I consider myself pro-life--although I think if I was pro-choice these same women would happily embrace my opinion). While I don't subscribe to this notion, I certainly understand it.

But let's suspend reality for a moment and consider this notion to be true--that if you're a man, your position on abortion does not matter specifically because you are a man. In other words, you have this deep emotional attachment to something that others cannot or have not experienced, and that attachment or experience makes you uniquely qualified and the expense of others who do not have that attachment or experience.

Now let us consider the many in our country who oppose the wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Should it not follow that unless you have actually been to Iraq, or Afghanistan, that your opinion on the war does not matter?

I'm more of the belief that anyone is certainly welcome to their opinions on any issue, but the amount of credibility that I give to that opinion will be based on a couple of factors. Sure, I would lend more credibility to someone's opinion about Iraq or Afghanistan more if they had actually been there, but on the other hand I also respect anyone's opinion as long as it is reasonably thought-out. So emotional attachment and experience do play a role, but it is not the only role, and it is not black and white. To me the second factor is more important, and that is whether or not you vote. If you haven't voted, I don't care what you've done, your opinion is of the lowest credibility.
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