Side Note: I’d like to, firstly, offer that Merriam-Webster defines the word opinion as: a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something: what someone thinks about a particular thing. This is an important fact to keep in mind concerning the following explanation I offer to those who’ve rather combatively approached me in some cases about my viewpoint on certain topics as presented in this weekly column.
When the editor of the newspaper for which I write was first approached in September of 2015 about my desire to author a weekly column he simply asked about the nature and general elements to be contained therein. We met, discussed the matter and I was given instructions to write a couple examples of the perspective content about which my column would concern. At the point I inquired of him as to what he’d want me to write, his response cut, “It’s your column; I’m not going to tell you what your opinion is supposed to be.” To make a rather long story short, I composed literal essays regarding two pertinent topics and, well, following some constructive criticism, I was blessed with a weekly platform from which to express my opinion.
With the exception of one occasion when I was a little under the weather and a second involving a simple miscommunication between the editor and myself, I take stock in the fact that readers seem to enjoy my weekly bantering. Regardless of the topic, the editor allows me the benefit of a certain leverage for which I remain exceptionally grateful. With respect to that specific point, I take the issue of whatever appears in my column very seriously.
As more people have become aware of my presence in the weekly publication, I have received quite a few compliments and engaged several “followers” in lengthy discussions regarding specific details as presented about a variety of subjects. There have honestly been conversations in which I’ve had to explain or justify the position held and a number wherein readers out-and-out disagreed with my opinion.
However, in those cases when I present factual details regarding a specific issue there is no consideration given to my own thoughts in regard to the documented information as recorded. For me to present the particulars of a chronicled event in any form other than what has been recorded would essentially be an untruth. Most half sensible people I’ve come across would term that a bold faced lie. As previously stated, my column and its contents are a very serious matter especially given that the resulting fall-out would reflect poorly on the newspaper and its publisher.
The general rules for writing a column are simply that it contain contains up to a specified number of words, be factual when deemed so, and consist of the author’s original work so as to avoid claims of plagiarism. If these are the only parameters within which I have to operate, my feeling is that the readers, and the editor, deserve my best. What’s presented each week may only require five or ten minutes to review before my face is cut from the paper and used to line a bird or dog cage but extensive research goes into each topic prior to me ever beginning to write. Merely investigating and verifying the subject matter can require me anywhere from one to four days in order to be certain all details are as stated.
In those instances, such as this one, when I outline what is considered my opinion the matter of fact-based information isn’t as imperative. It does remain important simply because I’m not in the habit of presenting unfounded claims without basis. The one vital issue to consider stems from the point that the whole premise for this column is my opinion.
Granted, I don’t expect there will ever be a case when everyone agrees with what I think but that’s what makes each individual unique in his or her beliefs. We all have our views and the supportive circumstances used to substantiate respective positions are how those opinions are validated. I do take particular issue with people who condemn me for what they discern as opinion when it’s actually based on fact and, in turn, are adamantly opposed to even entertaining that I present as true opinion. The peculiar thing about opinions is that they are free and readily available so everybody has one. (I thank you for caring enough to read mine.) Which makes it hard for me to understand why people are continuously trying to “force” theirs down the throats of others? I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.