As some of you may know, tergiversate was the 2011 Word of the Year. For those who didn't know, it was – at least according to Dictionary.com, anyway. Not familiar with the word that won the top spot, I had to look it up. It's a verb. Ter-JIV-er-sate: to repeatedly change one's attitude or opinions (i.e. flip-flopping). Given what's going on in the political world today, it seems apropos. I believe one of the runners-up in this annual word contest was austerity, by the way. See what I mean? Apropos.
Politicians are always accused of saying one thing and doing another, changing their positions – flip-flopping, as it were – or, dare I say, tergiversating. There, I said it. (You know, I never thought I'd actually use this word.) Are they really flip-flopping, though? Or, is it more likely that over time their positions naturally change? If you believe in a candidate and support their views – which may be different from those previously held – then they've evolved; but if you don't, they're spineless flip-floppers with no convictions. Personally, I tend to support the former half of this statement.
Let's look at some issues. How about Global Warming. Even the die-hard Global Warming enthusiasts have softened somewhat on this issue – don't they call it Climate Change now? That aside, when this first came up, you could see the potential merit. We'd been polluting the land and water, jets have been contaminating the skies and we've been to outer space where we've left behind debris (yes, we've littered on the moon!). None of this is good – common sense would tell you that. So you can see how someone could quickly get on board the go-green-and-take-care-of-the-environment train. And while good stewardship of the planet and recycling materials just makes sense, I still don't totally buy the whole Green initiative. Take electric cars. (Chevy Volt anyone?) As one comedian once said, "Where do you think electricity comes from, jelly beans?" There's a bigger agenda behind Green Technology. If this were a crime-themed plot (and I'm not saying it's not), the detectives would be following the money trail. Maybe we should worry less about those who've changed their position on the severity of this issue and look to see who's actually driving this train.
How about this dicey topic. Roe vs. Wade. (Gasp) This is a big one, I know. I will tell you when I was younger, I considered myself Pro Choice – which is not to say that I was pro abortion. I just felt that a woman should have the right to make that decision for herself and the federal government shouldn't have a say. For me, it was about taking away a right we currently had – it's always hard to take back – and I bought into the brainwashing or… the glossing over of the real issue. See, when this is discussed, it's often spoken of as a condition. The condition, of course, is pregnancy. Should a woman have the right to terminate her present condition, pregnancy? I don't know how much support this issue would have if the question was, "Should a woman have the right to kill a baby?" This is the point Pro Lifers have been trying to make for years. I know this raises all sorts of questions on when is it actually a baby, and I don't have the answer to that; what I do know is that since abortion is legal and, therefore, a viable option to those who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy (see, condition again – no mention of baby), it's been completely abused. Do you know that according to Planned Parenthood statistics (parenthood - anyone see the irony here?) they typically abort over 300,000 babies a year? This figure does not include abortions done at private institutions. And what's worse (as if it could get any worse) is that the tax-payers (you and me) help pay for it. Yeah, Planned Parenthood is subsidized with our tax money and that is just wrong. Why should the federal government be involved in this otherwise personal situation? The fact of the matter is this program makes it too easy for irresponsible people to have irresponsible sex and act irresponsibly thereafter. Abortion is not a quick fix. If it were illegal, would we have women wildly horseback riding and jumping out of trees hoping to induce miscarriages? Maybe, but the one sure thing is that the number of terminated pregnancies would drop dramatically if abortion wasn't so readily available. So what's my position now that I'm a little older? I can't really be Pro Choice anymore since that is, in essence, pro abortion, so I'm Pro Life. If that makes me a flip-flopper, so be it.
On a lighter note, let's look at the issue of spending. My father always told me to put away some of my paycheck each week into a savings account. "Make paying yourself the same as paying a creditor," he'd say. I didn't listen. Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young. When you're in your 20s and the money is flowing (or in Congress with a surplus) and there's not only clothes, but shoes to be had, who puts money away for a rainy day? Back in the 80s no one paid heed to the term fiscal responsibility. Again, with a little age comes wisdom. I am not irresponsible with money now. I do not spend it frivolously. I live well within my means – in fact, I may actually be living below my means. I wish I had been more responsible with my money sooner. What's important, though, is that I am responsible now. I recognized the error of my ways and made the necessary changes for my future. Did I cut back on some things? Yes, of course. Am I better off today because of it? Absolutely. Does that mean my attitude regarding spending has changed? Hey, if the shoe fits…
Changes of opinions are not necessarily flip-flops. Many of them are based on continuing education, maturity and growth. Years ago, one of my favorite bands began to change their style. Sometime around Abacab or shortly thereafter, Genesis went down more of a 'pop' path than they had been known for. When asked about this, Phil Collins said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "As you grow, you don't read the same types of books, do you? See the same types of movies? Or even eat the same foods? So why should we play the same type of music?" Their change in style saddened me at the time, but he has a point, doesn't he? Why shouldn't we change our minds, attitudes and opinions on things as we grow? It's natural. Think about this, if we didn't, we'd all still be playing with LEGOs and eating Pez.