One of aspects of politics that frustrates me to no end is the rampant hypocrisy.
In order to pander to their base, politicians say or do just about anything, regardless of their own beliefs on the matter.
And then we’re surprised they behave other than they claimed they would.
Are we surprised, though? Really?
Perhaps more frustrating than the hypocrisy displayed by politicians is our own tolerance of it. It ranges from believing it to be inevitable and that there’s nothing we can do about it to outright denial, coupled with amazing amounts of rationalization.
It’s part of what leads to distrust of politicians in general.
We can’t believe what they say, because their actions so rarely match their words. Yet we choose to believe them wholeheartedly when they say something we agree with.
Of course, they can say something one day — on video, no less — and say something completely different later as their own needs and alliances change. The fact there’s video proof of a contradictory statement is once again either denied (“fake news!”), or aggressively rationalized.
Our obsession with recent news — meaning our willingness to completely forget or at least ignore the past — exacerbates the problem. It means that what they say today carries significantly more weight than what they said yesterday, or the need for the two to even match. The need to provide a consistent message over time is tenuous, since we so rarely call them on it.
It’s not that changing your mind is a bad thing, it’s not. But knowingly taking a position that doesn’t match what you truly believe, doing so capriciously, and then being unwilling to own up to it, certainly isn’t good.
To be fair, we don’t tolerate changing minds very well. We’ll rake someone over the coals for a change in position, no matter how well thought out, if it’s a position we have a stake in.
Let’s face it — we’re just as hypocritical, even about being hypocritical.
As long as you change your mind in the “right” way — whatever that is — that’s OK, but if you do it for the “wrong” reasons, you’re considered two-faced and hypocritical yourself.