As a general note on the purpose of the opinions section of any publication, a necessary and unavoidable understanding that both writers and readers must come to is that simple bit of philosophical wisdom: haters gonna hate.
For those not familiar with the many memes depicting the sentiment, “haters gonna hate” is a concise means of expressing the timeless truism that no matter what one says, does or doesn’t do, there will be opposition. It is impossible to dodge the “haters” that will inevitably disagree with whatever decisions one makes.
Some will attempt to play it safe and do things that will minimize the number of haters while maximizing the number of fans. While certain populations bring cultural likes and dislikes that allow one to dodge haters to a degree, anything beyond that camp will discover a faction in opposition.
For instance, one would create a hefty field of opposition at Concordia writing an opinion that homosexuality is an unspeakable evil against all humanity. Take that view to the Westboro Baptist Church, however, and the story will be quite different.
The fact that there will be those that both agree and disagree with every possible opinion in existence—that haters are indeed going to hate—has some sweeping implications for ethics and human relations.
In the absence of universal knowledge of any one deity and moral standard—despite the alleged “knowledge” of some that God exists—it remains impossible to know for certain the distinction between the righteous and the wrong.
Again, while one can stay wary and smart about the opinions they voice publicly—wearing a “Straight Pride” T-shirt on this campus would probably be unwise—the inescapable distinction between opinion and fact cannot be eluded.
At a school so culturally fond of stimulating discussion, this reality becomes an asset. Turn “trolling” (saying or doing things just to evoke a reaction) into a force for good in public discourse. When Minnesota State University Moorhead students write to The Concordian, sit not idly by and rant amongst friends. Arm thyself with rhetoric and write back.
To extend the point beyond print, when someone expresses a questionable sentiment, resist the urge to delve into the ease of Minnesota nice, to speak of it only in his or her absence. Question it. Critique it. Combat it if necessary.
To do so is better for the education of both parties, and this is a college after all. Discussing, arguing and debating is an excellent means of growing intellectually.
Better yet, turn the tables and be the first to troll. Expressing opinions for the sole purpose of evoking a reaction can stimulate the most necessary of discussions. When haters hate—like they are bound to do—embrace it and use it. Mold it into a discussion worth having.
That being said, do so with care and tact. People are psychologically hardened when argumentatively attacked, more willing to prove a point than learn a lesson. Keep the blows above the belt and within the realm of reason—doing so can start the process of progress. Also remember context. This initiative can be noble in class, articles, personal discussions, but probably veers into the sphere of stupidity in job interviews.
When trolls troll and haters hate, smile and embrace it, and remember that for every hater there is a supporter. Perhaps those supporters are not immediately present, but take solace in their existence. For virtually every belief imaginable, there has been someone of stature—either through general reputation or hard-won credentials—that has stood as a staunch proponent.
Certainly there will be plenty that disagree with even this very piece of writing in its entirety. Great. Haters are indeed going to hate. At least there is one that agrees. In the eloquent words of comedian Katt Williams, “Jesus was perfect. He only had twelve friends, and one of them was a hater—sat right at the table with Him. Jesus was cool, didn’t even say nothin’ to him.”
Perhaps it is time to rethink WWJD. To lead a Christian life like good Cobbers, we should love everyone. May that love extend even to haters.