Educate yourself before voicing your opinion

Carlyn Schmidgall, Senior Writer

Forty-one percent of likely Trump voters support bombing the city of Agrabah, according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling. Given how threatening anything vaguely Middle-Eastern-sounding is, it’s hard to blame them. However, there’s one major problem with their hawkish opinions: Agrabah is the fictional city from Disney’s Aladdin. Forty-one percent of likely Trump voters support bombing a city that doesn’t exist.
It’s definitely embarrassing— and often humorous for others— when our unsubstantiated opinions are proven to be flagrantly wrong, but there are much worse consequences than our own embarrassment when we’re revealed to be less knowledgeable than we claim. When we form opinions before knowing the truth, we tend to bend or ignore facts so we a see a version of reality that matches our own perception of it. Rather than warping reality to match our own close-minded views, it is critically important that we know the facts first so we’re able to draw logical conclusions, leading to understanding on all sides of an issue.
What’s more, spouting our own uneducated opinions can cause others to form their own opinions based upon our half-baked logic. Though we mean to or not, we encourage others to jump on our misinformed bandwagons, magnifying whatever disastrous result may arise from our uneducated opinions. This could lead to potentially catastrophic situations when our faulty opinions give rise to actions—for example, trying to destroy a make-believe city—that accomplish nothing, or create a problem that didn’t exist in the first place.
However, educating ourselves takes time, and it would be impossible to know all the details of all the world’s issues. Educating ourselves is an ongoing process, but we owe it to each other to make an honest effort. Of course, it’s inevitable that we’ll find ourselves in conversations where we’re totally out of our depth, and that’s okay. Rather than trying to astound others with our maybe-correct ideas, we need to realize that “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid response. It’s freeing to realize that we don’t owe anyone an answer. If we do feel compelled to speak up, remember that the only opinions that should matter are ones that are educated.