A quick disclaimer on my thoughts on this blog: they’re not set in stone.
I think the fear of being labelled a flip-flopper began in 2004 when Kerry ran against Bush (though maybe that’s just my age showing). Besides the Swifties, the strongest and most-remembered line of attack from the Bush folks was that John Kerry “offered more flip-flops than a Waffle House.” Since then, politicos have been deathly afraid of ever going back on a past statement. The fact that everything gets documented all the time now (by email, cell phone videos, social media, etc.) only makes the problem more pronounced. These factors have led to some bad practices:
- People become afraid to change their minds and get dug in on an issue, even when they’re on the wrong side.
- Compromise becomes a dirty word (because your opponent gets a win on the record).
- Parties engage in scorekeeping to try to prove some sort of dominance.
- Running for office is all about pandering and doing as little as possible to upset people once elected.
Both parties are guilty of this. But with a country on the verge of some serious domestic and global challenges, is now really the time to take up stubbornness, pettiness, scorekeeping, and pandering?
I’m confident the answer is no. We need a practical government, more like a team of engineers than a brawl of barristers. From a scientific standpoint, entrenched ideology is a dangerous thing because it smothers improvement. That’s why you might find me switching sides on some issues on here from time to time. I’m still exploring and learning and evaluating (like you), and as a young person I don’t want to get locked in to defending something that doesn’t work or attacking something that does.
I have beliefs that won’t ever change because they’re the core of my philosophy, but stances on certain issues always get re-evaluated over time. I’m not afraid to say I’m wrong.