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The Power of Choice

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Nicole Derosia ’17

More stories from Nicole Derosia '17

I was searching around the Internet and picking the brains of friends trying to choose a good topic for my opinion article. Then it occurred to me to write an article about choice. I don’t mean specifically about only one thing (though I will touch upon them), like who am I voting for (or who did I vote for; when I publish this, it will be in the past) or whether or not I agree with pro-choice, but just the ability to choose in general.

This may seem like a difficult concept to many, and I believe many people complicate it a lot more than it is worth. So let us start with the basics: what is choice? A choice is a decision between two or more possible outcomes. This is as simple at deciding between regular or diet soda, or whether to watch Bones or CSI. We can all agree at this point that the concept of choice is not a difficult one.

I can understand where confusion arises with opinions on today’s popular debates, whether it be abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control, and so on. There are underlying moral and ethical dilemmas that arise with these topics. Having said that, they should not affect one’s ability to make a choice, and I believe this is where the problem lies.

I am a young adult from the state of New Hampshire. I am going to give an example that I love to give, which illustrates my point very well. In New Hampshire, once a citizen becomes eighteen years of age, they are no longer required by law to wear a seatbelt. Now, let us analyze what exactly this means. Does this mean that, because it is not a law, that you cannot wear a seatbelt? No, you can wear one if you choose to, or not wear one. However, I choose to wear a seatbelt, and that is the point! I wear a seatbelt because it is safer and I made the choice to. If you want to become a human projectile in a car crash because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, then that is your choice. The moral of the story is that the choice is there; whether or not you make the choice is entirely up to you, and that is the beauty of it.

Pretty straight forward, yes? If so, why do debates about things like women’s health and gay marriage still exist? Gay marriage was legalized (finally) in the United States. Some people are outraged by this, claiming that it should have never been written into law. How absurd. Just because it is there as a law does not mean you have to participate in such activities. It is there for the people that do want that option, that do have that choice to make! The same goes for abortion rights. I can understand where the grey area is; whether the fetus (yes fetus, not unborn baby) is alive, “not your body, not your choice”(science would argue otherwise) and so on. People fail to recognize that on a grand scale, this is not a matter of religion or personal belief, this is a matter of choice. If it was written into law that abortions were legal up to a certain length of gestation, that does not mean that you have to get an abortion. It simply means that if a women wants one or needs one, the option is there; it is her choice and her choice alone to make. For all those that are pro-life, this means that you are still able to maintain your stance, and not partake in these activities because you have the choice not to.

People can then argue that this logic should be applied to all areas of choice, such as murder, for example. There are repercussions for everything, like murder and abortion. Am I arguing that abortion is murder? No, but there are repercussions for the mother down the road. If someone goes out and shoots someone on the street, there are repercussions. This brings us to the problem of right and wrong choices. Are there such things as right and wrong choices? That is entirely subjective as we enter the realm of philosophy. Who defines what is right and what is wrong? When does a wrong choice become necessary, and when does a right choice become irrelevant?

People may also argue that I am making false analogies between TV shows and basic human rights. They may be right, and I am willing to listen to other arguments or rebuttals to my argument. How can one rationally be compared to the other? I am not arguing seriousness of topics here, I’m arguing choice and it’s place in American society. The choices are entirely different, but the are, in the end, choices. Regardless of all this, I still choose to publish this article (see what I did there).

And now, you can see that we have come full circle. It is all about choice. It is an American belief and value to choose how we live our lives, and I’m sure that many people would agree with this. If this is the case, then why do we keep trying to take the ability to choose away from other human beings?

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The Power of Choice