Jun 30, 2022, 05:55AM

I Don’t Always Have an Opinion

Americans can’t be expected to hold forth on every single political or cultural issue.

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Humans are not experts on everything. We lack the time to give everything thought or try to pick a side on everything occurring in the world. It’s probably wise to hold back opinions on some topics.

A few weeks ago, when I was helping record a podcast with a friend, he asked what I thought about proposals for the federal government to suspend the gas tax. Politically, suspending the gas tax is an issue that keeps coming up in Massachusetts. Republicans are pushing for it, and Democrats oppose it. It’s the opposite of what’s happening federally. Joe Biden and a handful of swing-state Democratic senators are expressing interest in suspending the federal gas tax. Meanwhile, Republicans like Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton oppose it.

I had to tell my friend on this podcast that I don’t know enough about the topic to give an informed opinion. I don’t know the long-lasting consequences nor do I know how much of that savings the consumers would receive. I don’t know if the oil companies and gas stations would pocket the savings and keep the price high or if we’d see an 18-cent per gallon discount on each gallon of gas we purchase. At a time when many gas stations are still over $5 per gallon, that’s appealing.

The state gas tax is a little different. My friend pointed out that gas prices in the states that surround Massachusetts are about the same despite their gas tax suspensions. I agree with that logic. However, he supports suspending the federal gas tax and thinks, for some reason, it would be different; I haven’t seen it enacted, so I don’t know.

Another tough issue that keeps coming up is the war in Ukraine.There’s a lot about that war that I don’t know about. What’s the right course of action for the United States to take? Do sanctions and aid save lives, or do they prolong the war and enhance casualties? Two months ago, a woman I know asked a few people what we’d do about Ukraine if we were president. This was back when this war was still on TV every day—before monkeypox and the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. A friend who works in state and local Massachusetts politics had an immediate thought and shared it. I'm no foreign policy expert. It's why I don’t write about the Middle East. There are certain things I've given a lot of thought and research to: sports, a handful of social issues, a few economic policies, Massachusetts politics, etc.

I know that U.S. military intervention in other countries typically doesn't go well (and it's expensive). Outside of that? I have no clue what to do about the war itself. However, I do know that if I were president right now, I’d be Joe Biden, so I’d resign in shame. It’s hard to know the far-reaching consequences of every action the government takes, especially on issues where there is less of a consensus.

Similarly, if someone doesn’t have an opinion on Roe v. Wade, that’s their right. I think it’s awesome Roe is gone, but others disagree. However, abortion is a complicated topic that touches on not only states’ rights but also the life of a developing human being and someone who may not want to endure pregnancy and have a child. 


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