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A stranger here myself: Column's opinion just one in a sea of voices

It’s about time we make a distinction clear. Rather, maybe I should say it’s time we make a distinction unclear. That makes sense.

I’m just like you.

OK, so we don’t have the same interests. Maybe we don’t share the same faith. Maybe you’re more Eddie Adams and I’m a little more Henri Huet. Maybe you want to enter the world of investing; maybe I marched on Wall Street with hundreds of others. Those little details can be tossed out. I’m just a person like every single other person out there in this world, yourself included. My word is merely my own. If you agree, that’s wonderful; if not, all the better.

As much harm as there is in this world (or at least that which I notice), what’s marked down in this column is only one vessel of view in a sea of longing, demonstrating and striving.

This is the stunning, dazzling beauty, though: when one solitary voice can be heard. These are the moments that spark conscious, passion-laden debate. It’s a reminder that we all have such voices. While some are marked down, millions of others linger to be loosed into the world mind. And they are equal in value no matter how or if they’re recorded.

So while you digest my anecdotal takes on the ills of this world, let your own narrative flow. When I claimed that opposing views are welcomed, I didn’t speak rhetorically. I really wish to hear what you value, what you despise, what you avoid. A discussion is needed when that bloodied topic of social reality, meaning and purpose is dug up time and time again. Some say not to mix politics and religion among friends. To avoid censorship, I’ll just say I disagree. That ability to partake in effective discourse concerning difficult topics is what underlies society, and it requires all sides to develop the true narrative.

This is precisely why this column shouldn’t come off as a be-all, end-all rant on social change, though — admittedly and unavoidably — it does at times. Mine is not the only voice in this discussion. That situation would be just as bad as if one said nothing whatsoever.

The next time I ask you to question your faith in some singular thing, break down that command. Really dig at what’s presented. Come bearing your opinions openly. Be prepared for a long conversation. That’s how we’ll get somewhere in this life. It’s when you or I hang dogmatically to our self-righteously constructed yet feeble beliefs that we get nowhere. Maybe that’s why some don’t mash politics among friends.

Though this column didn’t tackle conventional “elephants in the room” for the week, I hope that it did touch on other equally imperative points.

Yes, we didn’t hit on energy use and production. I’m aware that we’ve got to perform some ad hoc balancing concerning seemingly banal purchases. (Which is better: The scrumptious looking jam from here in Athens county in a plastic jar or the glass-jarred, similarly alluring one from New England?)

We didn’t get to those concrete problems — I’m aware. But we had to hit on this topic of “credibility” and “authority” at some point.

One last realization: In fitting irony, this column did preach slightly, didn’t it?

Joseph Barbaree is a graduate student studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Tell him your own opinion at

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