Change of opinion in the midst of new information and shifting attitudes is normal

Courtesy of Today | With new information always emerging, changes in opinion must be normalized.

11/05/2020

Alyse Kaminski | Staff Columnist

A few semesters ago, I wrote an article on my boyfriend and I. At the time, he was very conservative and I was, and still am, very liberal. Things have since changed for us.

Jarod had a bit of a wake-up call this summer. Between the lack of a response for the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests and eventually, the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Jarod decided that the Republican Party does not represent the things he cares about.

Jarod decided that he wants to vote for people who will take care of the pandemic, support Black Lives Matter and support women and LGBTQ+ people. I am so proud of him for seeing that.

I am not writing this to brag about him or to say my relationship is perfect. I just think that in the midst of everything happening — the pandemic, the election and all of the other chaos, it is normal to have a change of heart. We should not hold it against people who may have voted or thought differently.

It is 2020. We do not live in the same world we did when we were kids. We don’t live with our parents anymore, for the most part. We are free enough to draw our own conclusions about the world. That’s precisely what Jarod did.

Taking the time to educate yourself and keep an open mind to new ideas is really what America is all about. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.”

While Thomas Jefferson certainly had his faults, the man makes a point. As new ideas are presented, we have to adapt. Otherwise, groups become marginalized and society doesn’t change with the times. Never taking the time to educate oneself and think about the injustices happening around you helps absolutely no one. Ignorance is not bliss.

This does become tricky when dealing with how politicians change their minds on topics over the years. For example, the Clintons used to say they didn’t support gay marriage, and at the time, their actions reflected that. Fast forward to 2015 when Obergefell v. Hodges was decided, and Hillary was in support of defending the LGBTQ+ community.

It is easy to say that Hillary changed her opinion for votes. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it isn’t. But she voiced her support for protecting the LGBTQ+ community, and I feel like had she become president, she would have stuck to it because of the Democratic party’s platform on defending LGBTQ+ people.

But take Donald Trump. He could say all he wants that he is accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but what has he done to show support for them? Early on in his presidency, he banned transgender people from serving the country and this year appointed Barrett to the Supreme Court. He does not care about this group. His actions speak way louder than his words.

When politicians change their opinions, we need to see action from them. We need to hold them accountable. And that’s not to say that when a loved one changes their stance, we shouldn’t hold them accountable. I’m just saying that it is easy to only listen to a politician’s words. But politicians are the ones with power. They need to take action.

When I wrote the article about my boyfriend being a Trump supporter and being okay with that, I don’t think I was lying. I think I needed to be presented with more information as to why being friends with a Trump voter isn’t okay. You need to have something in common with your friends. And if a friend of yours cannot vote to protect marginalized groups because they’re afraid of a tax increase, you don’t follow the same moral code.

After four years of this presidency, we have seen that Trump will not change. However, it is okay for your opinions to change about him or about his party. It’s simply an aspect of growing up to evolve and grow. I think it would be strange to age but not change your opinions. We all go through experiences that become formative for us in shaping our moral code or belief system.

Take the time to educate yourself about what’s happening. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. As soon as you do, you’ll begin to change and change is good.