There's a rather crude saying about opinions that I'll paraphrase here: Opinions are like butts; everyone's got one.
And, quite frankly, an opinion is simply a point of view. The problem is that some opinions are more important than others. Or, to paraphrase Orwell (I seem to be doing a lot of paraphrasing today), some animals are more equal than others. In a world that celebrates celebrity (no small amount of alliteration there) like never before, it would seem that the opinions of those with celebrity hold an undue amount of sway over those who seem unwilling to form their own opinions independently. Careful thought and consideration are immediately tossed out of the window the moment some actor, singer or talking head begins to bloviate on any given subject. And, let's face it, in an era where there is no dearth of celebrities who are willing to offer their thoughts and no dearth of places where they can do so, the cycle tends to feed upon itself.
If you don't like the president, then you can listen to the pompous blowhards parading on various media outlets screaming about how he is a socialist who is destroying the moral fabric of the nation. If you don't like the opposition, there is no less a number of opinions being propagated by arrogant elitists about the hypocritical moralists who are nothing more than facist racists. And that is just the two main political points of view. There is a variety of others in between and on both sides of these two. There are also a great deal of opinions on other subjects - religion, history (which is, of course, being constantly revised and rewritten), race and ethics among others.
But what happened to learning about the subject material and then applying critical thought to come to a reasonable belief? What happened to compromise and taking moderate positions that could be discussed rationally? We do not have to blindly follow the opinions and beliefs of a select few (celebrities). We do not have to subscribe to extremist points of view (on any subject) because that is the only information being provided to those who scream their opinions the loudest. We do not all have to agree with each other, only to recognize that we all have different opinions and that we can agree to be civil and respectful of each other's opinions.
Besides, in the age of instant gratification and information, we need only take the few minutes necessary to learn what we can on any subject and then form rational, cogent opinions that can be used to formulate relationships and policies that can be for the benefit of all.
Now I'm off to read the DailyKOS and hear what Rush had to say today...