We are gearing up for an election cycle sooner than ever before. Last night the Iowa Caucus happened and the pundits on TV are going crazy about what it means that Mitt Romney won by only 8 points and blah blah blah I’m already exhausted. I’m going to try to stay out of the whole politics thing for awhile because frankly January is too early for me to start caring about the November election. However, I do want to comment on one aspect of politics I saw in action today. John McCain has come out in support of Mitt Romney. ABC News was interviewing McCain about the endorsement and mentioned the zinger he had for Romney 4 years ago when they were both competing for the Republican nomination. McCain called Romney “the candidate for change” meaning he changed his mind on many issues during his political career. The reporter asked McCain why that didn’t matter to him now. There was a definite sarcastic implication in pointing out McCain’s “hypocrisy” in changing his mind on Mitt Romney changing HIS mind. (confused yet??)
Now I am not writing this to speak about whether Mitt Romney changes his policies based on what will get him elected because frankly I haven’t studied him enough to know if that is true. What I do want to speak about is this idea that during an election year the go to insult from opponents, and even the news media, is to call someone a “flip flopper” and accuse them of always changing their mind. Obviously politiciains change their mind based on public perception. That is not really up for debate. But does it happen as often as we like to say it does? Why is changing your mind a bad thing? For once I would like to hear a politician say “you know I used to think this way about a situation, but after I was presented with more information from people who knew a bit more about the subject, I’ve decided to adust my views.” To me, taking a position and never being open to changing your mind about it is just foolish, and not a quality I would want in a leader.
What’s that you say? You want a personal example? Well ok! A few months ago there was a facebook chain status floating around talking about how Florida was going to pass a law requring that those who wanted to receive their welfare checks would have to pass a drug test first. The chain status was one those “support this by copying and pasting it as your own status” because we all know laws get changed when a bunch of people change their facebook status’ to something. (riiiight) Anyway I thought it was a decent idea. I mean the welfare system is definitely broken and maybe this would have been a good way to fix it. I mentioned it to my mother and what she had to say made me pause. She pointed out that the children of those people on welfare had done nothing to deserve not receiving the money that helps them live. The 6 year old daughter of a drug addicted woman in Florida can’t stop her mother from taking drugs. What about her? What can we do to protect that 6 year old girl while also making sure people do not take advantage of a system that is, frankly, pretty easy to to take advantage of? My mom said maybe Florida could make the welfare money come as coupons that can be used only at certain stores. This way money isn’t being wasted but those who are innocent are not being punished.
After that conversation I changed my mind. Does that make me a flip flopper? How is getting more information and changing your mind based on that information a bad thing? Holding stubbornly to one opinion without doing research on it seems to show an unwillingness to compromise that concerns me. Isn’t it possible, that with my imperfect human mind, I could be wrong about something? Is being open to that possibility bad? Does that make me a “bad Christian?” To that I would say no. Didn’t Jesus when He walked on this earth shake up the status quo of all those that He met? People walked away from him thinking differently than they had before.
“You have heard that it was said ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’, but I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
“You have heard ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
“The greatest commandment is ‘love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and all your strength.’ And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Those that followed Jesus were the original flip floppers…and I’m proud to be in their ranks.