“I got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is giving a peace sign.” –Alanis Morissette, ‘Hand in My Pocket’
Over the past few days, I have been asked over and over about my opinion on the Zimmerman/Martin case. And over and over, I give the same response: “I wasn’t there when it happened. I didn’t serve on the jury. I didn’t sit in the courtroom. My opinion is negligible at best in the course of the matter.” Typically, it doesn’t sit well with many folks – and I get pressed further for a more definitive answer. The tough part there is that I have no answer any closer to being definitive.
Many times, after that exchange, I’ve been told that I am just being obtuse. Typically, I walk away – knowing that I have just encountered an individual who will paint whatever opinion they want on me at that point. And I, frankly, don’t give a shit. I’m well aware of what my opinion on the entire case is, but I’m also aware that I don’t have all the facts, nor was I a witness to the issue. Therefore, my opinion is quite likely based on incomplete information and essentially becomes nothing more valuable than a guess.
So why do I not just go ahead and hang my opinion out there? After all, everyone else does just that with no problem. Its quite a simple thing for me…I’m not everyone else. When I was younger (early 1980s), when you didn’t have an opinion on a particular topic – people took it at face value – you didn’t have an opinion. In today’s overly opinionated environment…if you refuse to provide an opinion on a topic – you’re either being obtuse about the topic, or you have another agenda in your thinking that you don’t want to publicly broadcast (think “racist” here).
I’m sorry, but I just don’t have a desire to play that game. Much like whenever the neighborhood kids picked teams for American football – I opted to not be a part of that, and went back indoors to read. And that was that. No bickering, no name-calling because I didn’t want to play — just the understanding that Tommy didn’t want to play football.
Somewhere, sometime…from those days of my youth to the today’s environment…we’ve managed to lose the entire concept of civil discourse and common courtesy. Well, most everywhere…I have noticed a few exceptions. But those still remain few and far between. Everyone’s always in a hurry to get somewhere. People cut one another off on the highways, rather than yielding to other drivers. People spend their entire day with their face and/or ears plastered into their smart phones rather than occasionally looking up to spend a smile for a stranger.
I know there’s nothing I can do to change the opinions and actions of others. People have to be responsible for themselves. They can hang whatever opinion they want on me when I refuse to dive into the world of wild speculation. They can draw whatever conclusion that they desire over my appe
arance. I’m ok with who I am, regardless of what others think. I’m happy with the way I look. I’ll just shove one hand in my pocket and flash the peace sign with the other as I quietly walk away.