In my opinion, there are five lights


Sure, you can have an opinion on something. Something like, Green is the best color, or, Chocolate tastes better than vanilla. Those are completely subjective points with no possible right answer. No matter how many people agree or disagree with you on the perfect level of spiciness when it comes to chili, you won’t be either right or wrong; you’ll just have your opinion.

You can also have an opinion on something that’s practically impossible to know, like if World War One would still have happened if Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated. Obviously history would have been different, but to what extent? Sure, there were lots of indicators that Europe at that point was just waiting for an excuse to erupt into war, but there were also a myriad of unpredictable variables involved, and we can never really know for sure (see Chaos Theory). So you can have all the opinions you want on the matter.

But you can’t have an opinion on a provable subject. For example, you can’t have an opinion on how old the planet is (“400 years, but that’s just my opinion”) when evidence to the contrary exists (especially when evidence is well-established- in this case, in many fields).

That’s not “having an opinion”. That’s rejecting reality. And disregarding evidence and actively undermining people who point out the way things really are- that’s not proving you’re “right”. That’s not having a reasonable discussion.  That’s *gaslighting*.

You don’t get to “have an opinion” about my lived experience.  You don’t get to define my reality or silence my voice.  And you sure don’t get to act all innocent while attempting to do so.

Grab your torch and pitchfork

re:  (barely touching on only one small particular aspect of) the political fallout of the Paris attacks

What truly frightens me these days is how easily good people are led to ugly thoughts and behavior with hardly a hesitation or shred of guilty feeling; no, indeed, they are self-righteous and smug. That is terrifying.

Just because an asshole thumps a bible and waves a flag doesn’t make them right. And it certainly doesn’t make them any less of an asshole; in fact, it makes them MORE of an asshole. In one fell swoop, they manipulate and distort your religion, rewrite and whitewash the history of your nation, and undermine your own humanity, all to “prove” a point they made up out of vapors, all to serve their own purpose, which has nothing to do with your safety, prosperity, or well-being. An asshole is not in your corner, not on your side, and an asshole will turn their bullshit on you as soon as it suits them.*

Why is there so much support for the assholes and their self-serving fear-mongering bullshit, and so little for fellow human beings running for their lives? It’s absolutely terrifying.

Especially since I am rendered as “other” and counted as “one of them” (as opposed to “one of us”) more often than not, and my ability to pass (which I am extremely privileged to have at all) is, even on my best days, no sure thing.

*And yes that applies to ALL pundits, regardless of which political party they belong to, which school of thought they subscribe to, which religous doctrine they thump, or which flag they wave, everywhere in the world. It applies to the “other side” and it applies to your side, too.