The battle in public opinion
It used to be that the ‘war zone’ is quite far and remote from us. But now with the new technologies which have made the world smaller and more tightly interconnected, the ‘war zone’ has spread out quite widely and is now quite near to all us, irrespective of where we are. And many times too close for comfort.
It’s about the battle in the area of public opinion. If you follow the American talk shows in YouTube, for example, you will most likely have a good picture of how things are there—a lot of vicious exchanges interspersed with frivolous commentaries that only show the kind of mentalities, cultures, ideologies people have.
There’s a lot of slamming and bashing, nitpicking and fault-finding, absolutizing what is relative, dogmatizing what simply are matters of personal or class preferences. Yes, a lot of useless noise. Rash judgments, suspicions, reckless comments are having a field day. The large networks cannot anymore truly say that they are being objective and fair since they only cater to some segments of society who share their views. In other words, they have become subjective big-time. They cannot be trusted anymore as purveyors of truth and justice, and active agents of peace and the common good. When they say, for example, that they are “Moving Truth Forward” or that they are the “Most Trusted Name in the News” or that they are “Objective and Balanced,” we can now readily say that we are actually being taken for a ride. Tell it to the Marines. What is now made very clear is that they are all carriers of their own interests and agenda that are over and above what they profess as their service toward the common good.
The world of public opinion is in great need of redemption. And its savior can, of course, be only Christ who is the savior of everyone and of everything in this world. Without him, forget it, we will never have a decent exchange of views in the world of public opinion. What we will have is the remaking of the Law of Talion—eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth kind of discussion. Of course, there will always be those who would say that involving Christ in this business of public opinion will destroy the very character of public opinion and will defeat its purpose.
We need to overcome that myth if we want to remain human, let alone, Christian. Our public opinion need to reflect the dignity that we all have as persons and as children of God who are ruled by truth that will always be infused with charity. For a truth and justice without charity would not be truth and justice at all. It is not true that putting Christ at the center of our public discussion of issues would undermine our earnest pursuit for what is truly fair and just in our life in common. It is not true that putting Christ at the center of our public discussion of issues would simply ask us to pray and suffer and thereby adversely affect our pursuit for social progress and justice.
With Christ, there will always be prudence and tact, delicacy and compassion, broad-mindedness and respect for opposite views in our discussions and debates. Charity will always prevail irrespective of how different our opinions may be.