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Emails to my Therapist

Must We All Have An Opinion On What Should Be Done?

Dear Nicholas,

I’ve been pondering this and I have to say that I don’t know what should be done about immigration, about peace in the Middle East (other than a ceasefire and release of all hostages), about the increased cost of living, about several court cases and much much more.

I do have emphatic opinions on some public matters. But at the same time I’ve come to feel a subtle but insistent pressure that civic duty requires having a well-informed opinion and, ideally, a plan for solving all the problems we share.

Am I The Only One Feeling This Way?

I’m not up to doing all that. Or not willing.

For one thing, the above-mentioned problems seem to me insoluble. And forming an opinion that is more than simply anger and bluster would require massive research in every case. Otherwise, I’d simply be adding to the level of angry bluster.

Wasn’t Always This Way

In my teens, I ignored most of the world’s problems, focusing mainly on my two chief interests, love and literature.

In my twenties, I started writing for newspapers and became enthusiastically opinionated, though I couldn’t say so in writing.

Now I know more about what I don’t know and I am baffled.

As long as I know my basic goals–peace on Earth and cool clean oceans–I know who to vote for, who to support. Must I figure out more than that?

One solution could be to pick a topic–say, the Mexican border–and get better educated.  But why? For the sake of conversation?

Why, Indeed?

Unless I’m going to take action, I don’t see the point. And other than voting, what could I do? My disapproval is not going to change the course of history.

At the moment, it seems to me that holding back a bit on political opining would be a strong step in the direction of world peace, at least within families and in workplaces.

I guess this is a non-issue, really, an unnecessary though nettlesome personal question. But the problems just now are unusually monstrous. Maybe I’d rather ponder than worry or grieve.


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  • Kenju
    January 31, 2024 at 9:33 pm Reply

    I could not agree more! I know only a little about current events, and I am loathe to put in the time necessary to become well- informed. I know my opinions, of course, but they are seldom backed up by facts. I am a bit ashamed to admit that – but – as we say these days, “ it is what it is “.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 1, 2024 at 12:37 am Reply

      I think feelings count, Kenju. I’ve made a decision or two in my life baed only on facts. Not a good idea. So no reason for shame.

  • Mary
    February 3, 2024 at 5:33 pm Reply

    “As long as I know my basic goals–peace on Earth and cool clean oceans–I know who to vote for, who to support. Must I figure out more than that?”

    Yes this sums it all up quite nicely..and that making one know who to vote for means other good things would be in the package as well.
    Great point and so true!

    • Peggy Payne
      February 3, 2024 at 7:17 pm Reply

      Thanks, Mary. You’re right, those two items both have quite a long tail. Wouldn’t it be wonderful…

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