Some of Your Opinions Are Not Your Own

I grew up with a very outspoken mother and family.  They were politically and socially aware.  They talked about politics and social issues whenever they were together.  They still do.  Most purchased the news daily and dissected the truth from it.  I realize that they influenced me and my actions and thoughts until this day.  

It’s not that I don’t have a mind of my own, but I can still remember sitting on my father’s shoulders as we protested NYCHA and the disgusting conditions of the projects in the 70’s.  I was only around six.  The protestors took over the street.  There were signs and chants.  We didn’t even live there, our family did. But standing up and fighting for better living conditions for them was a must.

I say this to say that I know their thoughts and views influenced me.  I made a post today about Jimmy Carter being the last Left Democratic President and someone responded that they never thought of him that way.  They said they were gonna rethink it.  I decided to rethink it too. Because it was at that point that I realized I knew relatively little about his presidency…. Hostages, peanuts, solar energy.

They loved Clinton but I was old enough to dissect his Presidency.  And the presidencies of those before him. But I always seemed to stop at Reagan. Never looking at Carter. Almost like I knew he did no wrong.  Today I begin researching his administration.  I may still agree with my family, but at least I’ll know that my opinion of Carter’s Presidency is grounded in facts that I verified.

I must work hard to understand the world through my eyes. Being diligent to conduct research even when I think I know; with an understanding that some of my views were shaped by my family even when I’m not aware. It’s just a reminder that if my parents and family can shape my opinions so effortlessly, how is it any different than these children living amongst the most vile bigots?  Or the covert bigots? And the latter is more prevalent than the former.  Children are always watching and listening.  That’s why it’s important for us to always speak up and speak out against injustice and bigotry.  Those children might hear you louder than their hateful parents.  Our collective voices matter.