Share judgements mindfully: Educated viewpoints contribute to the greater good

Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

Let’s start this piece with a small thought experiment.

I am a 19-year-old white male from a suburban town in New Jersey. I worked my way up to being the opinion editor of The Chronicle during my first year at college. I am currently the one that has the final say on what opinions are published in the newspaper, but does that make me qualified to thoughtfully speak about abortion? Or racial injustice? Most people, including myself, would say no.

However, in today’s era of social media, many believe there are no limits to the topics we can share our views on. A recent example is how social media reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. While the United Kingdom was in the process of mourning its monarch of more than seven decades, many took to Twitter to poke fun at the late queen’s passing. 

An example of this was used in a recent Newsweek article, where they mentioned a tweet from comedian Tim Heidecker that said, “If you think the Queen’s death and the raid on Mar a Lago are just a coincidence you are a fucking idiot.”

This shows how people nowadays feel the need to insert their opinion into any discussion, no matter how unnecessary or unrelated it may be, strictly because they have the option to do so.

In a country where the prominence of disinformation can cause people’s understanding of the media to wane, what we as society need to avoid is someone’s uninformed opinion contributing to the struggle we are facing as a nation. If someone is informed on a certain topic, I believe that adds to a more informed population, something that can benefit us all for the future. 

Prior to social media, if you wanted to share your opinion on current events, you would either tell your friends about it, or maybe submit an article like this to a local newspaper. But now, the moment anything of note happens, people flock to their nearest keyboard and get to clacking away on things that are not of concern to them. 

I would say I’m guilty of this myself. I share my opinion all the time, either in this section, or when I complain about sports on Twitter or Instagram. I will never be a professional football player, so who am I to criticize their efforts? One might even say this entire piece is hypocritical in its nature. While I am the opinion editor, I shouldn’t be the one to invalidate any opinions others may have. But, in my own defense, I think there is a fairly thick line we can all tread, and I take that line to heart in the position I hold. 

When the Supreme Court’s draft opinion regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade was released in May, I knew I wanted to publish a piece in my section about it. At that moment, I knew that I had nothing of value to say, so I didn’t say anything. Instead, The Chronicle’s managing editor, Nicole McIsaac, chose to vocalize her own perspective, and I believe our publication was all the better for it. The public was able to hear an opinion from someone that has a personal connection to the subject matter rather than one who would only prove they know nothing about the topic at hand. 

In this world, everyone has the right to an opinion, and that is something I will maintain for the rest of my days. However, there are people more qualified than others when it comes to making those opinions public. For example, I would trust a Quinnipiac University School of Business professor’s opinion on the state of the economy much more than one of a high school freshman. 

That was the mindset I took when I received McIsaac’s opinion. I knew that she could produce a piece one million times more valuable to the public than anything I could have ever hoped to write on the topic. And I was fine with that. It’s okay to feel that way. 

I believe that we as a society need to learn that while we all may have our preconceived notions about anything, we’re not always required to vocalize them. I think that we should all step back and let those who are more qualified speak. And if you are that qualified person, by all means shout your opinions from the rooftops, but think first. It’s not too hard to tell.