A or B vs/or Yes or No

I’m tired of the opinion questions of the sort: “Do you prefer A or B?”    Today’s NYTimes offers a good example:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling: His job as President?

The strong implication is you have to choose.   Today, it’s difficult for the informed person to be short of opinion on matters of national opinion, but maybe not always.  For each of us there are varying degrees of how strong an opinion we can muster.

Years ago (’02 – ’06 ) while i was at Benedictine Academy, I thought I was having a joke with the sophomore geometry students when we examined boolean expressions such as:  A is True or B is True.   I’d answer “Yes”, if it was apparent they were mutually exclusive.   e.g. when straight ahead is not an option, the question “do we turn left or right?” i now answer “Yes”.   You might spend a little time thinking about how to rephrase the question to elucidate either “left” or “right” as an answer.

So, back to the pressing question, and my opinion:  “Do you approve or disapprove …?”    For most of the questions under the above link, my answer would be “No”.   The truest statement I could make, on Obama’s handling of foreign policy, “that i certainly don’t approve is not a statement that i therefore disapprove”.    I take the wishy-washy position since (I believe) in today’s hostile political climate,  disapproval implies from the right.   My unverifiable assertion is about one-third of Obama’s disapproval comes from the left.

So, for this class of opinion question, my answer is a resounding “NO”.

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