I’ve seen the tag “flip flopper” ruin a politician’s career and I have to wonder why.
Sure flip flopping does remind one of that way one can lose an argument or debate. If you contradict yourself or become a hypocrite, the rules of logic state that you have lost.
I recognize how flip flopping raises that spectre. After all, over time, a flip flopper appears to have contradicted themselves.
But circumstances change. When you are 10 years old you might say “I’m a kid.” When you’re 20 you might say, “I’m an adult.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with this flip flop in positions. In fact it is the absolute, undeniable truth.
I want a politician who ran on one platform to flip flop if all the facts line up against their original position. This, to me, is the best way to be a good leader. What has been passing for “good” leadership these days is simple head-in-the-sand stubbornness.
Some of the deepest truths that our civilization has come up with exist in the field of science. Newton was our guru for understanding gravity for hundreds of years. But along came Einstein with general relativity and eventually the science community flip flopped. Sure Newton is good enough for making it to the moon, but without the Einsteinian refinements, Global Positioning Satellites wouldn’t work right.
Then there is our understanding of light. For almost as long, light was known as a wave only event. But physics again flip flopped and wave/particle duality resulted. Thus when you look at light one way, the photoelectric effect, where light acts as a particle, occurs. When you look at light another way, wave effects like constructive and destructive interference occur. Wave/particle duality has lead to things like electron microscopes. Flip flopping thus paid off for the scientists.
So in this election in Canada, the NDP referred to Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal Party leader as a flip flopper. Because of what I outlined above, I hope this comment doesn’t sway anyone’s vote. Maybe the NDP will win but it should be for a better reason than this.
And excuse me while I go along my merry way chanting to myself “a flip flop, a flippety flop…”