Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cutting Our Hair, Flip Flopping and Evolving

Portions of this entry appear on this submission to the Republican subreddit.

Much has been made this past week over a couple things.  One is the current president's change to publicly supporting/endorsing what supporters call marriage equality and critics call gay marriage.  Another is an alleged incident in which former governor Romney, either assisted or encouraged by a group of fellow classmates, held down a long-haired man and forcibly cut off some portion of his hair.

Firstly, almost all of the outrage directed toward Romney for this incident has been focused through the lens of this man, John Lauber, being potentially gay and that was the motivating factor in this action.  For his part, the presumptive Republican nominee states that while he doesn't remember this particular he did do many things which were stupid when younger.  He also says that the sexual orientation of Lauber was not a motivating factor and in fact was not something even that was considered at that point in time. To play devil's advocate even if such language was used in reference to Lauber it doesn't mean those calling him that were anti-homosexual. At least in my own personal experience epithets such as 'fag' or even the use of the word gay has taken on a derisive, negative connotation in common parlance. Uses of the word, if they were in this case, may have been simply to harass Lauber simply because he was outside their comfort zone, outside their mainstream. Why it doesn't matter to me personally whether the supposed attack was motivated by Lauber's assumed or actual sexual orientation is because bullying is wrong and should be pointed out and stopped no matter what the rationalization is, and I hope if any message may be taken from this entry it be that. As far as the political side goes, if this story is true I think it extremely important for Romney to articulate how he has grown from that point in time and how he has come to be a more mature and accepting man either as a result of it, of his faith, or whatever catalyst in his own personal life which made that happen. To change one's opinion on this matter is an excellent example of a change in heart or opinion on a matter which is due to a maturation of an individual, and not one born or craven or cynical political posturing.

This leads me to the next point, which is President Obama's recent change in support for marriage equality, and some who characterize it alternatively as flip flopping akin to a position on regulations or an evolution or change in honest opinion by him.

To some, and unfortunately it pretty much goes 'both' ways on the ideological spectrum, any change in positions or opinions is deserved of the term. Conservatives and/or Republicans will say Obama's flip-flopping on things such as marriage equality or on matters of national security(and there are those especially among the OWS group that will actually say the same thing), and liberals and/or Democrats will say Romney's flip-flopped on things(and many of the more values-based and libertarian portions of his own constituency will say the same thing).

I don't think either of them are necessarily flip flopping. They may be changing their opinions cravenly for political expediency, or perhaps they had the newer position all along and the previous one was the cop out. Maybe he did it only because Biden and other administration officials had already let the horse out of the barn and it's a political face-saving gesture. Because it's so damn difficult to know what is actually in the mind and soul of someone, though, unless there's some sort of evidence which cements that a change was other than what is publicly stated to be the case, it's unproductive to muse about the 'true' motivations behind that change.

Evolving is sort of a sterile term for what many, if not all of us, do throughout our lives as we are raised, come into our own, and mature(at least in our own minds) in our perspective on issues that confront our heads and hearts. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a change of heart on a subject; even people sharing identical values and principles can have different interpretations on what those things mean in their application to the real world. What I'm disappointed with is that because there's the hostility to this and therefore our elected officials are very averse to changing their minds when confronted with different facts or something which challenges their position, or when they do they don't like to elaborate on the whys or hows or considerations they went through. This includes the recent change in publicly stated position by the current president on gay marriage/marriage equality. He went into it a little bit, but for as long as it's been discussed on the radio television and print, in campaign ads, and gatherings of friends family and coworkers, having too much put out there by a man who identifies as someone who has changed their mind on the issue is simply not possible.

As always, thank you for your time and your consideration of my thoughts and if you think we may benefit from a discourse, please leave a comment and we can engage to better understand the situation together.