“I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts” Twain

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There is a rather vulgar expression used to describe opinions…like a piece of our anatomy — we all have them.  A debate is popping up on many writing sites this morning about the wisdom of sharing personal views of the political landscape on blogs.  In essence, people are questioning whether authors should discuss their views openly – and if they choose to do so, will it alter a reader’s decision to buy their work.

The freedom to express our views is important.  Within some professions and forums I would argue that it is not appropriate to do so (members of the media, teachers in the classroom, etc.).   For most, though, it’s fair game. 

Be prepared.  There is a reason why Hollywood is often ridiculed for jumping on their soapbox.  Do I care what Rosie O’Donnell thinks about politics?  Ah…that would be no.  Do I think she’s more insightful and astute than anyone else strolling the street?  Ah…that would be no.  Does my stomach turn when I hear some of the far out claims made by high profile individuals?  YES!  Does it alter my opinion of their work?  Sometimes – especially when they ridicule others as a means of bolstering their ideas.

Respect for a diversity of opinion should be a hallmark of political discourse.  Sadly, this is often missing.  Can I respect someone that holds a very different opnion than mine?  Absolutely – if they express that view in a manner that doesn’t demean me in the process.  I’m a woman, stuggling to be a writer.  Do I feel comfortable chatting about my views?  No.  Because the sad fact is they don’t align neatly with many in this industry.  Sometimes….you say it best when you say nothing at all!

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