Every time an asshole with a microphone calls a politician a “flip-flopper,” he is making the world a more dangerous place.
Often the asshole is another politician who wants you to think his opponent is A) stupid and/or B) an opportunist who will say whatever he thinks you want to hear. Sometimes the asshole is a pundit.
Assholes with microphones are not very good at asking questions. If they were, you might hear them say things like, “What made you change your mind about that, senator?”
“Flip-flopper” is an accusation. It doesn’t allow for the possibility that the accused might have a good reason for changing his or her mind. It’s also fun to say. Once levelled, it sticks like a traumatic childhood nickname. So rather than risk being the next “flip-flopper,” the people in charge of all our money and weapons conclude that they must never, ever be caught changing their minds about anything.
Oh, boy, though. Yikes. People used to think the earth was flat. I used to think “judgment” had an extra “e” in the middle. You probably used to think kissing was gross and so on. Sometimes we’re wrong. We won’t be right until we admit it.