As a writer for the opinion section of The Concordian, I would like to start out the year with an idea that is somewhat unconventional. I would submit to you, dear reader, that my opinion is not important. To go further, I would say that neither is yours. By themselves they are just whispers, mere scratches on the bathroom wall. Alone, opinions have no impact and fizzle out as soon they escape your mouth or in this particular instance, reach the garbage can or get piled under your philosophy homework.
This is not to say that all opinions are useless. Many people have voiced their opinions and have been met with fame, fortune, and success. We value their views as important. For example, take Martin Luther King, Jr. This one man’s dream echoed across the country. However, in that sentence lies the key to opinion. When King stood at the Lincoln Memorial, he stood with throngs of protestors, a voice that was thousands strong.
By itself, a simple opinion is worthless. Once it is joined by another opinion, then it serves its purpose. A single voice goes nowhere, but two start a conversation, and many contributions begin to change things. Public opinion polls are a valued marker of national perspective, but I would hardly expect to receive a call from policy makers for my lowly ideas. This does not mean that you should agree with me. Frankly, I hope that you don’t. Without a challenge, an opinion escapes critique. This newspaper’s opinions don’t reflect everyone; in fact they hardly begin to capture the perspective of all students on campus. The more voices that chime in, the better we paint a picture of Concordia.
Tell me I’m wrong. Glenn Beck doesn’t attract attention because everyone thinks he is right. (Let’s just say I won’t be reclaiming the civil rights movement any time soon.) Even if you think I’m on the right path, tell me why what you think is better, what should be changed. Even if your only response to an article is “what are you thinking?” or “no way” or “learn grammar,” let someone know. As the writer of this piece, I have put this opinion out there to be read and cause a reaction of any sort. It has no function without feedback. It would be worse to be read and unchallenged than not to be read at all. The Concordian is our school’s newspaper, and is here to play host to your responses, viewpoints, and ideas. Your opinions.
This idea extends beyond just the newspaper you might read on occasion.
Challenge ideas in class, create a real discussion. How many times have you sat through a class where one person pontificates the entire time and the rest of the class sits dull and mute? Engage others’ idea, tackle them with your own. If nothing else is accomplished, at least two sides will have spoken. Freshmen are just getting into the meat of their inquiry classes, classes that should play host to no end of ideas and opinions. Don’t spend the time twiddling your thumbs. Get into the debate and raise more questions, or try to answer someone else’s. I’m not promoting quibbling and bickering, but the essential, root idea: conversation.
Putting it simply and grandly, it will help you in class, it will help you in your career, it will help the world. It will even help in DS over lunch.
So write in, tell me that I’m entirely off the mark. I’d love to hear it. Tell me I’m absolutely correct, and you wouldn’t change anything. I’ll take that too. Basically, we want you to write in, and tell us what you think. We might print it and send it out to Concordia at large. Be part of the discussion, whether it’s this one or one in class. You know what you think. Don’t be silent. Let’s hear it.
A class of 2013 psychology major with chemistry and biology minors, Patrick joined the Concordian as a contributing writer for Arts & Entertainment before writing and editing for the Opinions section.