Flip-flop is one of the most despicable words in the language. But all it means is, somebody changed their mind.
Basically, what is wrong if a person mentally rehashes an issue and arrives at a different conclusion? Think of all the frustration and destruction caused by those with unchangeable minds. You probably know one or two of them. Yet, popular culture buys into a very harmful myth, the belief that changing one’s mind is a bad thing. We’ve allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by a ridiculous-sounding word. Nevertheless, the most pompous asses are somehow capable of uttering it with a straight face.
Flip-flop is said with vitriolic scorn or maddening smugness, and the listener finds it nearly impossible to conceptualize the possibility that the flip-flopper under discussion might have good and sufficient reasons for the change of mind. The accuser does not want you to imagine that the position now espoused by the flip-flopper might be worth a moment’s consideration.
It’s a word that does not discriminate between whether the change of mind is or is not, ultimately, for the greater good. To flip-flop is to do a bad thing. But on the practical, empirical level, we know from our school of hard knocks education that often, when a mind changes – even yours – things turn out well.
When a president openly promises a thing while campaigning, then blatantly does the opposite once in office, he can be said to have flip-flopped, and a certain percentage of the public will boo and hiss. When a former police chief joins Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, he can also be said to have flip-flopped. And a large segment of the public will boo and hiss. So, what’s the difference?
For one thing, the LEAP people come from the experience side. They were and are in the trenches, and they know whereof they speak. Unlike the president, who gets his information from handlers, these people get theirs firsthand. When it was their job to bust people, they busted people. That’s how they know that rational drug laws would definitely be for the greater good.
Why doesn’t America listen to them, instead of to the prison guards’ union?