Donít Be a Sucker

John McCain says: “Senator Obamaís word cannot be trusted. . . .†But the fact is that Iíll keep my word to the American people and you can trust me.”

Okay, now that you’re done chuckling at how childish and transparently “political“†that sounds, read†”McCain’s Flourishing Flip-Flop List.”

And watch this video: “John McCain vs. John McCain.”

This is how politicians waste time, insult the American public, and perpetuate stupidity and ignorance. We all know that politicians change their minds about things. We should expect them to change their minds. Like the rest of us, they constantly encounter new information that may lead to a change in their views. Even if they’re acting from wholly pure motives, why should we expect them never to change their minds?

I would never†vote for someone who appears never to have changed his or her mind, who seems to be flying on an ideological autopilot, without responding to circumstances, which are always changing. Those are absolutely the most dangerous people in the world.

Whether a politician has changed his or her position is and always should be a non-issue. Politicians have always changed their minds and they always will. Get over it. That John McCain is out there making†this non-issue into an issue demonstrates either how far removed from reality he is or how stupid he thinks the American public is.

Worse, McCain’s cynicism shows through when he uses the stupid phrase, “keep my word.” Keeping your word is adhering to a promise to act a certain way. If your friend says, “I’ll help you move on Saturday,” but then doesn’t show up, your friend did not keep her word. If you say, “Don’t worry how much it costs, I’ll make sure it’s paid for,” then most people would say you are morally obligated to keep your word. Elected representatives are in a situation that is not remotely similar to a typical “keep your word” situation. We do not elect representatives to go to Washington and act like contractually-bound drones. That’s what†proxies†do. We don’t elect proxies. We elect people who will go to Washington, participate in the debate, listen to argumentsóboth from constituents and†from other representativesóthen use their informed judgment to make a decision.

There’s no “keeping your word” in elective office. But there is†doing your job. And one of the jobs of elected representatives, like Senators, like both Barack Obama and John McCain, is to exercise discretion. Since they are humans, they are bound to contradict themselves. If you’ve ever met someone who didn’t†contradict himself or herself, then you weren’t paying attention.

And if you are suckered in by John McCain’s talk about “keeping his word,” then you need to take another look. His statement is factually untrue†(i.e., a lie) regarding whether he has changed positions,†because he has in fact changed his mind on many occasions, and substantially irrelevant†because it’s not his job to “keep his word.”

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