My Shout: Everyone's got an opinion

Charlotte Guedry
Charlotte Guedry is the Editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. You can contact her by sending her an email at

Oxford Dictionary describes an opinion as: A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. So essentially, an opinion is simply someone’s take on something. It’s a personal assessment about a particular thing, and we are, all of us, entitled to one on whatever subject we choose.

The problem is that, for some reason I will never understand, people are afraid to voice their opinions on a variety of subjects. Sounds odd, right??Why wouldn’t someone want to say what’s on their mind??Why wouldn’t someone want to speak up about the way they view things?

Well, dear readers, there is a simple answer, and it’s one that is unfortunately a bit unpleasant. People are just downright mean sometimes if they don’t agree with a particular opinion. They resort to name calling.?They take things to a personal level by launching into vicious attacks. They become hurtful.?They act like an opinion is fact, which it isn’t, and they berate you for it. Nice, huh?

Take my line of work. I’m a journalist and an editor. I absolutely love what I do, but more regularly than I’d like to admit, someone who reads my opinion column decides that it’s open season to read more into what I write than they should, and they act like they know me better than I know myself.?They become vicious.

Let’s look at some recent examples:

In an opinion column about how I thought parents who operated meth labs should be ashamed of themselves for having children in those labs, one reader emailed me and said, “Who do you think you are? You don’t even have kids, so don’t dictate what parents should and should not be doing!”

Really? In my book meth lab + child = a very bad situation. I don’t think it necessarily takes a mother to figure that one out.

Oh, my favorite is this one. I once wrote an opinion about shopping in only locally owned and run businesses for one week, not stepping foot in a corporate conglomerate. I actually got this one sent to me, “What makes you think you’re so special. You are so self righteous, you idiot. You honestly think that a week's worth of anything makes you a decent person?”

Wow! Yep, you too are entitled to your opinion, but again I say, really? Did we need to take it to  level that was so venomous?

I wrote about people using their right to vote last week, and I got an email from a woman who essentially berated me for everything that has gone wrong in her life. How that was equated with the right to be a part of the political process, I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand. But there you have it, it was and is all my fault, and I should be held accountable.

Nice to hear that people think I have that much power! I don’t, but thanks for thinking I really am that important!

Readers, I’ve been sworn at. I’ve been told to go back to where I came from. People have actually said they hope I get sick, and asked how I sleep at night.

Well, I’ve got an opinion about that!

I will always speak up. I will always have “My Shout.”

One of the things that makes living in?America so unbelievably wonderful is that we are allowed our voices. We are allowed to speak either for or against something.?We are allowed to live lives without the fear of being silenced.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll look in my inbox after this opinion column comes out, and will hear from people who disagree.?They’ll say things like, “Don’t be so naive. You don’t know what I have to put up with,” or “How dare you say we have a voice. We are silenced at every turn.” To that I simply say one thing. Send the email in, it’s your right to have an opinion.

Oh, and I will respond. Why??Because I have a right to my opinion too, and I will always, without a shadow of a doubt, use that right.

Aint rights grand?

Charlotte Guedry is the Editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. You can contact her by sending her an email at