Unclassified info: Take time to consider other opinions

One of my haters left an interesting note on the Glendale News-Press website after reading my last column. In it, she asked what made me qualified to comment on redevelopment agencies.

I thought that was a good question.

I didn’t know I had to be qualified to have an opinion on anything. I’m dead serious.

I’m not going to delve into the sacredness of our constitutional rights. Numerous historians and political pundits with more expertise have already done so with great eloquence. But I will say that our 1st Amendment right defines who we are as Americans. And polarizing though this inalienable right may be, I can’t imagine life without it.

Truth be told, my own slanted rants pale in comparison to someone like Ann Coulter, who has made quite a good living stating outrageous opinions. I know, because I’ve spent a lot of time as one of her haters.

I guess hating someone’s opinion gives us all reason to live, doesn’t it?

Ironically, I have to admit I’ve begun to have some respect for Coulter — not because I agree with anything she says. I don’t. But putting my own opinions out for public consumption on a regular basis has given me an understanding of the armor she’s had to build in order to forge ahead. Maybe she just doesn’t care or maybe the money is enough of a buffer, but it has to be a little emotionally draining to draw such ire.

Perhaps the bigger question regarding a right to express an opinion might not be why, but when is it appropriate to do so?

I wonder if it is appropriate for the Republican Party to express its opinion on the State of the Union right after the president has delivered it to the nation.

I question this not as a liberal who is trying to suppress the GOP from sharing its vision of Utopia, but as someone who wonders whether the process of giving either party the immediate opportunity to do so is a good thing.

These days, we barely have time to digest our president’s vision before we have to hear how wrong everything is. I'm not sure this need for the other side’s opinion to be heard is completely productive, nor am I convinced it leads to healthy debate. All it seems to do is keep us mired in mud.

Everyone wants to strike with such rapidity that there's no time for intelligent contemplation. It becomes two voices trying to shout over one another as quickly as possible to get the sound bite of the day.

If we are going to continue this process, there should be at least a little more time to reflect upon what the other side is proposing.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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