Who me, inflexible?

I'VE NEVER MET an opinion I wasn't happy to lose. It's the nature of the beast.

Sure, it's easy enough (at least conceptually) to change one's opinions, but opinions themselves are inherently inflexible, fixed, hard-edged. They may seem to help define who we are, or to offer some kind of group identity. But firmly holding to opinions also tends to companion well with arbitrarily excluding "others" who live on the other side of a city/suburb boundary, or who sit on the other side of a church aisle.

Those who cling hard and fast to hardened views may, unknowingly or consciously, "red-line" whole groups, neighborhoods, cities, states—or even races—as undesirable, simply because of their perceived otherness. Politics may provide the classic me-them example. In its higher expression, politics serves the everyday practice and evolution of democratic government. But politics also can become a kind of Field of Dreams for the strongly opinionated. Could there be any real benefit, for example, in designating individual states in the United States of America (or ourselves, individually) as either blue (liberal) or red (conservative), when in fact there are infinitely more political hues than the two that politicians typically choose between when they're picking their neckties or scarves?

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

August 21, 2006

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.