I tend to follow politics like some people follow football. It’s a good spectator sport. But no matter how much fun it is watching it, I know I would never really want to play in the big leagues. Still, I find myself doing a bit of arm-chair quarterbacking. I see things and think, ‘Well why didn’t he just…” More often than not, I’m sure there’s some sort of reasonable explanation. However, there are some things that come up again and again and they seem to continue to be problems when there are obvious solutions.
One such thing is the concept of ‘flip flopping’. In 2004, you could hardly read an article about John Kerry without hearing how he was a flip flopper. He would say one thing then say something else. He once thought this and now he thinks that. And now with the 2008 Presidential race heating up, it’s coming up again and I don’t get it. Flip flopping isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength and I can’t figure out why no one in politics will say it.
If I were in any political race and someone called me a flip flopper, I’d have to say, “Yes, I said one thing and now I’m saying another. This is because I learned more information or the circumstances changed. And when that happened, I changed my mind. If I had not changed my mind, if I had stuck to a path simply because it was the first path I was on, then I would be repeating the same exact mistakes that led to our current situation in Iraq. I would be making mistakes simply to avoid being called a flip flopper. Personally, I’m not afraid of names and name calling. I’m afraid of people who refuse to look at new information or circumstances. I’m afraid of people who will stick to the wrong course simply because it is the course they are on. Yes, you can call me a flip flopper. I’ll wear that title proudly. But I also want to know, if those who call me a flip flopper have anything more than names to call me. Do they have anything of substance to contribute? Or is it just schoolyard name-calling? Because if that’s the best you can do to tear me down, I have no doubt that the voters will see it for the strength that it is. Thank You.”
Why doesn’t anyone in politics say this? Almost every negative thing thrown at any given candidate is based on a truth. And that truth is likely something that the candidate believes in and can defend. Why not take that negative comment and turn it into something positive? Why not turn it on it’s head? It’s not really all that difficult as long as you’re aware of what you believe in and why you believe it.