I try to have an open mind. I’m a libertine, so I don’t feel that I can exactly point my fingers at someone else’s oddities when I have them in abundance myself. So long as those oddities or fetishes or quirks don’t harm anyone, who cares? That’s my opinion.

Lately, I have seen one thing that I feel a need to squash. Opinions. We all have them. As the saying goes, they’re like assholes. Everyone’s got one. The other part that  comes with that is that they’re usually full of shit, too. Some opinions sound great and feel like everyone should embrace them. Really, though. Are they? Let’s take a better look at opinions.

First, opinions are nothing more than thoughts, beliefs or feelings on some subject. That’s it. They’re your inner workings about how you see the world. Opinions are NOT actions. Opinions do nothing more than yell loudly and get in the way. Opinions never changed anything. Gandhi didn’t change India through opinions. Tiananmen Square wasn’t just an event of opinions. Opinions are just people voicing their views of the world; they’re the voice crying in the wilderness.

Opinions, though, can be powerful. For example, try standing anywhere in the United States and say you don’t agree with the war and see what happens. This is especially amusing if you try it in a town where there’s an Armed Forces base nearby. People get upset or angry with opinions and I don’t see why. Everyone is entitled to have them. The more you have, the more you imitate a thoughtful, intelligent human being. It’s great camouflage.

I don’t really care what someone’s opinions are. Have them. You believe in God? Great. Have a good time. You believe aliens probe you anally at night? Remember the lube. You’re a racist? Misogynist? Arrogant bastard? What I hear is “la la la la la….” Opinions are just thoughts. That’s all. You can shout them in the middle of Times Square with all the other nuts shouting random thoughts.

No, my problem is actions. You’re allowed your opinions, but when you try to act on them and force them upon me, then we have an issue. You’re a racist? Fine. Have your opinion. Want to drive me out-of-town because I’m a half-breed squaw? Now we have a problem. Actions have consequences. Opinions don’t.

No one ever said I had to agree or even like the things other people say. I don’t like what a politician is saying, I can change the channel or read something else. However, if that politician decides to take my loved ones to fight overseas in a war I don’t agree with, then I have a problem and there are channels for me to address that problem.

It’s not just the extremely negative actions that are a problem. There are those who believe that Christmas is the greatest holiday ever created. Personally, I think it’s a time when  people can demand I buy them stuff to prove I love them. I don’t even get to buy them stuff I want to get them; I have to get stuff they want. Those are opinions. However, when you, who believe in the “Magic of Christmas” (sold by Hallmark and Disney), starts forcing me to buy you stuff, there’s a problem. Sure, you’ll get the sweater or the toy or whatever you wanted, but you’ll lose a friendship. Take your pick.

I don ‘t care how right you think you are. Have your opinions. Respect my right to not like them or not agree with them. Whatever you do, don’t force me to hold the same opinions. Then you’re acting on them and infringing on my right as a human being. If you want me to respect you, your boundaries and your lifestyle; respect mine.