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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Stacee Johnston


Let's get controversial

Let's talk politics… or not. Controversial topics are tempting discussion topics, but you need to be hyper-aware when handling touchy material. The easiest way to begin a quarrel is to spill your opinion on the recently passed health care law to someone who shares the opposite stance. There are good points and bad points to this new law – I believe everyone can agree to that – but after this agreement, comes a heavy surplus of devoted opinion that resides around two basic estimations: good or bad. Those for the "good" stand in their corner across from those that believe it to be "bad" – and if your opinions are different, chaos may ensue. Work is a wonderful place to not speak your mind and to not voice controversial opinions – advice that I wish would have been given to me before I decided to discuss the new health care law with my co-worker. Of course, we were on different sides, and the conversation soon became vicious. Words were chosen un-thoughtfully, on both ends, and tempers were flaring while feelings were hurt. Not to mention the fact that we were at work, and were forced to stand next to each other for the following four hours. Along with politics, religion is also a topic that should not be discussed with those who you are not close to. Religion is a very touchy subject that is rooted in deep among its followers. It can be easy to insult important pieces of someone's sensibilities because of a misplaced comment. If you do want to debate on a particular subject with someone, know beforehand if they will be open to the topic you're discussing, or if they'll be offended by it. For instance, the topic of abortion involves opinions that can be emotionally charged. Everyone has an opinion on abortion and no matter how devout in your beliefs, there is someone that zealously believes the exact opposite. Some people may have had abortions, while others may have almost been aborted. Be sympathetic to other's opinions and attempt to understand their point of view. Otherwise, you will just be barking your opinion at someone who in retaliation will be just as stubborn as you – just like I am and have been. The smartest option is to objectively listen to an opposing voice. Listen to the validity of their points and remember them. Arguments are made stronger by addressing potential counterpoints. So discuss health care, religion, abortions, evolution, the right to bear arms, and etc. if you'd like – but know that you might be opening a messy bag that you can't seal back up. E-mail:

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