As the holiday season gets into full swing, an obscure shadow of controversy follows close behind, as always.

In more recent years, however, this controversy has risen to a level that can seemingly only be understood by those with incredibly clouded judgment. Considering the large quantity of other issues in our world today, that one could (and should) spend their time being “offended’ about — including police violence, the comfort people have developed in using racial slurs, tensions in the Middle East, among many others — a red Starbucks cup, which seems to be the focus of the controversy at this time, is a minute point of interest.

Some are demanding their voices be heard about their claim that Starbucks is “taking away the meaning of Christmas” in removing “holiday” decorations from their cup. That is an exceptionally interesting point considering Starbucks has never featured religious symbols on their cups. Snowflakes and reindeer, contrary to popular belief, have little to do with the holiday, which, in fact, is a religious one. Those who are offended by Starbucks’ packaging choice should prepare to voice their opinion on several other “offensive” concepts pertaining to Christmas. Black Friday, where people have literally maimed each other in Wal-Mart just to purchase televisions in the name of the holiday, doesn’t really seem to follow the original reason for celebrating. In fact, events like Black Friday and the over-materialized and commercialized presentation of Christmastime should raise a larger protest than this.

To refine my point, people nowadays seem to be easily offended by anything. I generally believe that humans have the basic ability to decipher a blatant act of disrespect from something that was unintentionally offensive. However, the trend seems to be that if a person can find anything they can twist and change into something “offensive” or  “wrong,” they will. People like to feel that their opinion and way of doing things is the only way, and sometimes, there’s just not a satisfying amount of agreement with their ideas so they need to make up another point to stand for, noble beings that they are. If more people spoke out and rallied against issues like oppression, racism and intolerance, to name just a few, then maybe the world wouldn’t have so many problems. People are most concerned with trivial things and are responsible greatly for creating issues that don’t even exist in the first place.

Everybody is entitled, and encouraged, to hold their own opinions and beliefs. What is taking that to an unacceptable level is the way people use their creativity and intelligence (or lack thereof) to insult the opinions of others rather than respecting them.

Ideas and interpretation are fluid. Intellectuals are able to understand that concept, and think of all ways a person with a certain thought could be coming from. Ignorant people take a point, densely interpret it, and then blindly fight their side until people are so fed up with the stupidity that they cave in. If someone is truly offended by something, they should intelligently and whole-heartedly fight for change. Otherwise, their argument is a waste.

By Maddi Raymond, Sheridan High School

Editors Note: This article has been edited by The Sheridan Press staff. Permission for publication was given by Sheridan High School instructors.