November is drawing increasingly closer, bringing with
it another presidential election. As election day approaches,
the presidential candidates are anxious to avoid the
mistakes of previous candidates.
One of the major complaints about former Democratic
presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, was about
his tendency to change his mind on major issues. He
was called a flip-flopper. People worried that he was
changing his opinions on issues only to win votes.
While this was a valid worry- candidates should not
let their desire to win the election interfere with
their sense of right and wrong. Changing of opinions
in general is not something that should necessarily
be discouraged. Moral absolutism is a dangerous thing,
and hardly works out in real life.
The myth of a flip-flopper
Many people are intensely devoted to their sense of
right and wrong, of what should be and what should not
be- at least in theory. Many people, probably even most
people, see their opinions, morality and views on hot-topic
issues as being part of who they are and of how they
identify themselves. But how many people can actually
hold up all of these morals when they are put to the
Of those who have decried gossiping, how many of them
have not actually talked about others behind their backs?
Of those who claim people should not judge each other,
how many have not looked down at others for their sexuality,
religion or political views?
People are always making exceptions in their beliefs
and in their morals. Abortion is wrong, people say,
except in cases of rape or incest- or unless the mother
is their own grandchild, child or friend.
Killing others is wrong, but war and the death penalty
are necessary to a well-functioning world. And of those
who believe war is necessary, who talk about the worth
and value of the military, what small fraction of them
have actually served in the military, or seen their
family members serve? President George W. Bush, after
all, who is responsible for sending thousands of Americans
into war in the Middle East, avoided seeing combat in
the Vietnam War.
To change is human
This pattern of contradiction in beliefs can be seen in
all people, Democrats along with Republicans, parents
along with children, males and females. No one has any
assurance of how they will behave when they are actually
put to the test, and it is, as has been said many times
before, easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk.
Morals are messy and full of contradictions. Often times,
they are based on feelings, not on logic or common sense.
It is easy to live a perfect life until one is confronted
with the real world. People should be more understanding
of those who screw up, who act contrary to what they say
they believe and who change their minds and make mistakes.
After all, it is impossible to be both human and perfect.