Why Can't Politicians Change Their Minds?
I'm no political expert, and try to tread carefully when making any sort of statement or opinion on political matters, but here is something that has always bothered me about the political climate: Politicians are not allowed to change their minds. Ever. Throughout the course of their political career. And if they do, they get nailed for it. Criticized. Hammered. Accused of being wishy-washy and hypocritical.
I've preached a few sermons so far in my relatively short ministerial career, and hopefully I'll preach many more. Right now, I'm fully aware that I am still growing and maturing. Still learning and discovering. And I know that I will never, never, reach a point where this journey ends. Where I can cease learning, discovering, questioning and growing.
I can guarantee you that years from now I will teaching things very well may be different from what I might say today. Does this make me hypocritical? Wishy-washy?
I can promise you that, as I grow, I will find myself reevaluating things I've previously held to me true. Hopefully, whatever community I am in at the time, will give me space and grace to say, "you know what, I used to believe this... but now, looking back, I think I was wrong."
But politicians simply aren't given this space.
It is expected, I presume, that they figure EVERYTHING out at a certain age (before they enter politics?) and then NEVER waiver from their positions. Ever. For if they do, they will be criticized, pulverized, scrutinized, and other things that end with -ized.
Sure, there's something to be said for the gal/guy who is consistent with their voting record and unchanging with their positions. But isn't there also something to be said for she/he who can acknowledge "this was what I used to think. This is how I used to vote. And you know what, I can see now that that was the wrong choice. I have grown and become more aware and educated, and evolved in to a new position."
That's something I think I can respect.
Tonight was the Arizona Republican Presidential Debate, and I thought Rick Santorum might take this posture when he was attacked for "No Child Left Behind." I guess he voted for it back in the day, and now that it has proven to be disastrous he is against it. And people are attacking him for it. If Santorum could have just acknowledged that it was a bad decision , that he's grown and moved beyond that, and that he's changed, then I think it would have come across way better than, "hey, politics is a team sport... The President needed me to vote for it... blah blah blah..."
I may be alone on this, but it doesn't bother me much when politicians change their mind as a result of growing, learning, broadening, etc.
And I hope it won't bother the people I pastor if/when it happens to me.