Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Then and Now for Politicians

As the Presidential primaries hover on the horizon and the debates heat up, I am particularly distressed by the tendency of each party to penalize candidates who change their views on issues.

In my opinion, all people with intellect and sensitivity formulate their opinions based on the facts at hand and their own life experiences, and then through the years revise these opinions as they gain insight and wisdom. What may have seemed perfectly logical and just to me ten years ago sometimes seems more ambiguous when viewed through the filter of time. Do we really want our leaders to cling to their beliefs no matter what the consequences. Often in history the people who have most damaged society are those who believe their ideology to be indisputable, regardless of any negative outcomes that arise.

Obviously, I am not talking about the politician who provides three different answers to one question during the course of a campaign, in order to pander to his constituency -- this type of waffling gives voters no real basis for educated choice.

I do, however, find it troubling when candidates are criticized relentlessly for changing their minds over time, or even for admitting mistakes in judgement. The longer I live in this world, the more I am aware of the subtleties of this life, and the more I support a candidate who is willing to periodically revisit his views in the context of the world situation, and make any changes he feels are beneficial to our society as a whole.

Instead of pouncing on each candidate when he presents a viewpoint that differs from his previously stated beliefs, let's take the time to listen and evaluate his reasons -- he just might have our best interests at heart!

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