Darn Right I’m A Flip-Flopper

And So Should You

Flip-flopper! How many times have we heard that yelled at someone we’re mad at for changing their position?

I’m here to tell you that I flip-flop. That’s right, I admit it!

There is a good reason to flip-flop and it’s called new information. I’m not talking about a new poll that indicates a winning position, I’m talking about actual data or experience.

When you change your mind because new information supports changing your position, that is a flip. If you change your mind to be mean or selfish, that’s a flop.

Look, there was a time that being in favor of the British King in charge of the colonies made sense. Protection from the most powerful empire, goods flowing to and from England, and a functioning government to provide structure. New information would’ve included overbearing searches, increasing taxes without proper representation, and a demanding military moving into your house without permission.

With that new information you might’ve flipped and become a rebel fighting for independence.

Or how about a few years earlier in the 16th Century. The great minds and all the people thought the Earth was the center of the universe. Then Nicolaus Copernicus demonstrated the Sun was a the center of our solar system, dastardly new information! Did he cause people to flip or flop?

A few years ago, President Trump was pro-choice, now he holds the opposite position. Do you call him a flip-flopper? Senator Gillibrand used to be hard-core on immigration and now she takes a much softer approach. What do you call her?

The issue for those against flip-floppers is that they changed position to now be against yours. Simple, you want them to have a different position.

Some yell flip-flopper as an insult when a politician is late to the game. I’m guilty of this sin.

You see, I’ve been pro-LGBTQ since the 1990s, long before it was in vogue politically. When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama came around, I was mad. What took so long? Flip-floppers.

That’s the problem for the late to the game flip-flop accusation, I want you to change your position on my time frame.

Humans don’t work that way. They don’t change their mind when you want them to, they do it when they are ready.

In the case of Senator Gillibrand, like many others including myself, she’s softened her approach to immigration once she actually spent time with immigrants, connecting with humans who have a different experience. It’s called first-hand experience.

First-hand experience often is a catalyst allowing us to open our minds more to an issue. You know the Bible says “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). For me, it was becoming friends with a Oaxacan immigrant who is a great member of the community. Let’s call him Luke.

I got to know Luke and his story. He came at 18 to meet family here who told him they knew of jobs, and he needed to eat and earn a living. Once here he met his wife, they have a family, and he is an upstanding man in his community.

With Luke’s story I started to shift my perspective; I flipped.

I want more people to take in new information and change their minds. It’s healthy. It’s growth.

Do you want to be stagnant and stuck in your ways, just because?

In our current climate and with the amount of information available at our fingertips, maybe flip-flopper shouldn’t be a swear word, but one of contemplation and potential admiration for having an open mind.