A call for more thinking, rethinking and thinking anew | SONDERMANN

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About 18 months ago, we went out to dinner with our friends Heather Lamb and Alex Ohms, Heather’s mother, the former first lady of Colorado. After sitting down and ordering a drink, Alex asked the best question I’ve heard in a long time.

He asked simply and directly what issues the rest of us had reconsidered and changed our minds about over the years.

What an inspiring conversation starter. In this age of strong opinion and no quarter guarantees, it was an invitation to talk about issues where we were wrong or where our thinking is now vastly different from what we used to think.

Our crippled political system discourages such reflection and evaluation in favor of indefatigable chicken. Love, dogma and predictable, unwavering loyalty garner Gunner cable views and millions of Twitter followers. The audience for resumes and reviews is too small.

Moreover, a politician who admits to a change in thinking invites unrelenting violence, and is overthrown.

“Henry Hines cannot be trusted. As a graduate student 32 years ago, Hines wrote a paper arguing that America needed stricter immigration controls to slow population growth. But last year he gave $200 to the Refugee Resettlement Agency. How do voters trust the word Hines?”

Simplifying and continuing what passes for political rhetoric. Our hypothesis is that Mr. Hines has rethought his core values ​​in three decades? Have demographic patterns changed and birth rates decreased? Could an aging population now require an expanded workforce? Have world conditions changed the nature of America’s obligations?

Any of these ideas would explain the change of heart over the years. But our political system is the siren call of a series that is fired up to disdain personal growth and evolutionary perspectives.

Attending one of those round-numbered high school reunions last summer, I flashed the words “Never Change” in my friend’s yearbook.

It is the only curse to make a difference to a 17 or 18 year old.

So, in our politics, where mindless consistency is highly prized, re-evaluation is under-appreciated and encouraged on all sides, despite new information and concrete facts on the ground.

Go back to that dinner and the wonderful question that opened the way for an interesting and thoughtful conversation.

At the time, I responded by citing my changing views on the death penalty. Reluctantly, I have long supported the practice as society’s only adequate response to certain heinous crimes.

Over the past few years, though, I’ve come down on the other side of the issue based on both moral convictions and practical considerations. Now I think government should not be involved in death except in war. Additionally, decades of appeals are the antithesis of speedy justice. And there have been many cases where innocent people have been sentenced to death.

The second issue I mentioned was climate change, which was not entirely wrong, but rather slow. For a long time I considered it less of a crisis and returned to the argument that American policy in India, China, and all sorts of developing countries was weakened by rapid growth and industrialization.

The economic concerns remain, but the human role in climate change and the urgency of the problem have long been in doubt. I realized I was late for the dance.

Given these intervening months to ponder more on Alex’s question, my thinking today might include several other topics that have been especially removed from my view over the years.

I was wrong about the second Iraq War and put a lot of stock in the spread of democracy, a fix for most of the Arab world’s problems. (Just like we recently had a Belgian Uber driver named Saddam Hussein. By the way.)

On the other hand, even though I came of political age during the anti-war movement in Vietnam, I have long assumed that the Democratic Party learned the wrong lesson from that war in terms of its need for American strength as a stabilizing force. Of late, the core of the Republican Party has succumbed to the false appeal of neutrality.

Decades ago, proposals titled “campaign finance reform” won my approval when I bought into my mind that we could mend our way around the money-making process. Experience, that great teacher has taught me, is that such pursuits are illusory and multiply our present irresponsible, opaque political spending.

I have always given police officers the benefit of the doubt in my good years. Today, that assumption is no longer automatic.

I grew up believing in the same limits to growth stages and development. With maturity, I understand well that such market interventions can be exclusionary and add a lot to the high cost of housing. Beyond that, my idea of ​​an ugly sprawl may be someone else’s idea of ​​a dream home.

And he goes at it. Living in these rooms means thinking and thinking again and thinking again.

The challenge for political leaders and aspiring parties is not to be a hidden, unwavering, lifelong steadfastness. Rather, it should be about accuracy.

When such types have a change of heart or opinion, discerning voters must assess whether that new information, changing circumstances, is the result of intellectual credibility or simply political expediency.

If a new opinion or belief appears to be politically calculated, the response should be to suspect Abdi’s dismissal. But if that fresh perspective is genuine and free of political intent, it is to be celebrated rather than mocked.

“The consistency of folly is the hobgoblin of the little mind,” offered the famous poet and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

He added, “A great soul has nothing to do with consistency. He may be concerned about the shadow on the wall. Say what you think today in strong words, and what you think tomorrow in strong words today, even if it contradicts everything you said today.

Eric Sonderman is an independent political analyst based in Colorado. He writes regularly for Colorado politics and newspapers. Access it atEWS@EricSondermann.com; Follow him @EricSondermann

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