Monday, April 4, 2016

In Support of Flip-Flopping

During the election season, there is much criticism over candidates' "flip-flopping," or changing positions on issues. In many cases, the argument is that the particular candidate isn't a "dyed in the wool" person committed to a particular set of values, but rather being someone who came to a new position later.

But why is changing one's mind a bad thing? Especially for leaders, don't we want someone who can consider new information and potentially change their minds? Aren't intelligence, wisdom, and leadership built upon these principles? Someone whose mind cannot be changed and has shown no history of thoughtful development doesn't seem to be a mature person who deserves to be a leader. Especially at the level of President, an individual needs to be able to hear and see new information and make new, informed decisions, which might even surprise themselves.

Another argument against flip-flopping is that the candidate isn't sincere and is just saying what they think people want to hear. Now, I want a candidate who will sincerely uphold what they say they'll do. However, isn't it our elected officials' jobs to listen to the people and uphold their will as much as is possible? If a candidate knows a position is what people want, it is their job to advocate for that position, even if it doesn't match their own perspective.

Now someone who is claiming one thing and doing something else entirely does have a problem. And many candidates do claim a certain value system that is pretty obviously false. These can definitely be issues of integrity and trustworthiness.

But someone changing their mind and stance isn't a problem in my mind. It's mature.

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