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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

My valued opinion

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Suddenly I'm a wise old owl.

Everybody wants my opinion about the Gulf Oil Spill, and Mel Gibson's alleged abuse of his wife, and whether jail or the sober house would be best for convicted Lindsay Lohan. And a host of other subjects making headlines.

I never even heard of Lindsay until a few weeks ago but I guess she's a big time celebrity who violated her probation. She seemed to think the law didn't apply to her.

I went for years when my opinion wasn't sought. My kids didn't want to know what I thought about torn ragged jeans or too short mini skirts. They didn't want my opinion about their choice of friends, long hair, or hygiene. They didn't value my view that they needed to turn down the volume on their music because it was vibrating the house. "It's hard on your hearing," I would yell through their closed bedroom doors.

My husband didn't value my opinion on his purchase of a very used second hand snowmobile he bought one sweltering summer while we were living in Northeast Arkansas. Or when he bought that lightweight Volkswagen that jarred our teeth when it went over a railroad track.

Now suddenly everyone, from KAIT to CNN, wants to know what I think about national and local events. They want me to email, Twitter or Facebook my vote, opinion, feedback, and suggestions to their websites. There are opinion polls pertaining to presidential approval, Afghanistan, the recession, banking, illegal immigration, jobless benefits and health care.

Are you happy with your level of saving for retirement? Fill in the appropriate circle.

What's your take on Wall Street reform and the White House's attempt to sell it?

Do you think Sarah Palin will be president? Share your vote.

Dr. Phil wants to know what I think too. And so does Opra. And Larry King.

Then there's U-Tube and social networking. Some networker is always wanting to influence another on issues and people. Every week I get an email lambasting a politician and asking me to forward the email to everyone in my address book. Or just send it to four people, or six or eight.

In some cases, I'm told I must forward or suffer consequences. In others, I might receive a great benefit or monetary reward in a matter of days. There are religious forwards too.

Please, please, please, pass this on to all your friends.

At the end of most broadcasts including news, entertainment, and talk shows, we are asked to send in our view on all manner of issues.

Now I'm not silly enough to think that my opinion is going to make a difference about the Gulf Oil Spill or court decisions or Lady Gaga's outlandish garbs.

For years all these entities fared well without my input. In fact they never asked. It has been only recently that viewers are deluged with feedback forwards from friends, sponsors, politicians and organizations.

Since when have they valued my opinion?

Okay, fine. I know that the pollsters collectively want my say so. It's just a sampling of public opinion.

But the polls are getting as intrusive as t.v. advertisements.

So here are a few questions for you.

Should opinion polls be banned from television? Yes, no, or maybe.

How have you fared without a cost of living raise this year? Good, bad or the same. Circle one.

How do you feel about Congress allowing itself a raise while millions of Americans are unemployed or in bankruptcy?

If your child is a senior this school year, where will you find the money to pay for photographs, ring, graduation robe, prom expenses, and the class yearbook? Could you use a Helping Hand? Yes or no.

Is marriage an endangered species?

Cast your vote.

I double dare you.

Peggy Johnson
From These Hills