Letter: Tell Me Your Opinion

Letter to the Editor

Catching up on accumulated issues of The Malibu Times is the highlight of my frequent business travel, and on a recent flight I was delighted by the diversity of Letters to the Editor in your pages.

By diversity, I refer to the primary attribute that distinguishes our species from others: thought. Kudos to the editors for featuring letters from those of us in Malibu whose thinking, like mine, diverge from the prevailing consensus on issues ranging from presidential politics to regulation policy.

And kudos to those who take the time to write letters to voice unpopular opinions. Do it more often. It’s good for you to express pent up frustration constructively and politely and, preferably, accountably and courageously by signing your name, and it’s good for others who agree with you to feel less alienated and alone.

It’s also good for the majority of those reading these words, scratching your heads, wondering, “What is this woman talking about? What prevailing consensus? What other possibly rational and benevolent points of opinion alternate to my own could exist? And moreover, who would dare voice them?”

I would. And occasionally, I do. I say “occasionally” because, while the fear of social expulsion has long ceased to hold any motivating power over me, it’s so much easier to button my lip when in a community setting, reflexively anti-Republican, anti-Trump comments are shared with the carelessly arrogant assumption that everyone present agrees. I substitute a rolling of the eyes or nothing at all, because the reason we’ve gathered—whether religious or fire-prevention or what have you—is far more important to me than political self-expression (I, fortunately, have ample and more appropriate other avenues for the latter).

But the cost of this maintained comity is borne mostly by the majority, whose lack of exposure to diversity of opinion breeds emotional fragility and a narrowing of intellectual perspective, while depriving them not just of possibly useful feedback and potentially rewarding social connection.

Jennifer Anju Grossman