I have tiptoed through political conversations as of late, mainly because I’m tired of the personal attacks based on my political viewpoints. You know, about how stupid I am, and how I am voting based on gender rather than politics. However, after wading through yet another morning that is filled to the brim with social media conspiracy theories and unreasonable criticisms following a democratic debate or town hall, I feel the need to add my thoughts.
Here are my two cents; sometimes people change their mind, and that’s okay.
It’s actually a very good thing to be able to admit that you were wrong and change your views. I certainly wouldn’t vote for someone who would not admit that they were wrong and never evolved on any viewpoint, someone who doubled down instead. I greatly respect my friends that can concede that they made a mistake, and I’m not going to blast on a candidate for changing their mind over the course of 50+ years. Changing ones mind shows that they have gone through a process, that they’re continuously learning and gathering knowledge and growing as a human.
The most absurd argument I’ve seen is that because Hillary Clinton was a republican when she was in college, that means she’s a flip-flopper and can’t be trusted. Because she was a republican, and held an office in her college republicans group fifty years ago, she is a liar and no one should vote for her. Do you remember what you were doing fifty years ago? I wasn’t born yet. Do you remember what your thoughts and viewpoints were when you were eighteen years old? I know that I had a very different way of thinking when I was eighteen, and that was only sixteen years ago. I paid for a psychic when I was nineteen, because I was worried that I would spend my entire life alone. Am I proud of this? No, but I was nineteen, and I did a lot of stupid things when I was that age. Does that make me any less of a critical thinker now, in 2016? No, absolutely not. My husband was a republican and a Christian when he was eighteen, and if you knew him now, you would never believe that. Does that make him less of a liberal, or less of an atheist activist? Not even a little bit.
I find it interesting as well, that I have seen quite a few of my fellow atheists making this argument. Atheists who respect and follow and support leaders in the atheist movement that were Christians six months ago or a few years ago, which is kind of a big flip-flop if you’re going to be calling out flip-flops.
I’m not going to lambast Hillary for leading her college republicans group fifty years ago and saying that she has been on the front lines of change and progress since she was young. Just like I’m not going to dwell on a Bernie’s essay about rape and use that as an argument as to why he shouldn’t be elected. I live in the present, and I am concerned with how they are going to be as President TODAY, not fifty years ago when they were kids trying to figure out the world and their place in it. There are bigger issues with some of the Presidential candidates that I need to think about and use to make my decisions.
Support the candidate that fits you best, that is going to do what you feel needs to be done to serve this country best. Be reasonable in your critiques and criticisms of the others; apply the same critical thinking skills that you use in your daily life to the political process and see where that gets you. And vote, because it’s really, really important.