Everyone has the right to an opinion, but what if that opinion is harmful to others?
As we all have probably noticed, since this year’s presidential election our country has been strikingly divided. Many people are now feeling more comfortable expressing their racist, sexist and homophobic opinions because the leader of our nation does.
The First Amendment allows everyone the right to freedom of speech, but what about that old-school rule that our mothers always taught us: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Sure, it sounds like such an elementary rule, yet if everyone lived by this guideline I guarantee that our society will not only be happier, but everyone would feel like they belong.
What happened in Charlottesville is a prime example of this kind of hate being publicly expressed. White nationalists gathered in this southern city chanting racial slurs and saying, “The south will rise again.”
Although there were incidents of physical violence at this protest, even resulting in one death, the physical isn’t always what hurts the most.
These verbal attacks are encouraging racism and hatred, enforcing a false ideal of racial hierarchy and discrimination against all minorities. These verbal attacks make all other races feel less-than-accepted in a nation that proclaims its citizens as being equal and free.
Another resurfacing idea that has been talked about since Donald Trump’s victory is women’s rights or lack of rights.
Although the idea of women not being equal to men seems almost prehistoric, this injustice is still very much relevant today.
When the leader of our country says offensive things about women in the past and present, it gives others the justification to express this outrageous opinion as well.
The most recent harmful opinion was expressed through tweets from our president stating that the United States government will not allow or accept transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military.
Trump said that our military cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and the disruption that transgender people in the military would entail.
Restricting a group of people from fighting for our country because of the way they identify themselves is incredibly malicious and should not be permitted.
We need to stop discriminating against things that people cannot change. Whether it’s race, sex or your all-around identity, these factors cannot be modified.
People should never be put at a disadvantage because of things they can’t control.
If, after all of this, you still have these destructive opinions, please follow the long-lived idea to say nothing at all. Just because you have the right to speak your mind doesn’t mean that those words won’t hurt any less.