The EFM Feature

From reader Luke, a self-identified supporter of Congressman Paul:

It is clear that most of the Republicans see Mitt Romney as the biggest threat and easier than taking on his positions, just destroy his name. Of course they do wish to enrich themselves by destroying his name, but I can’t help feeling in the long run it will hurt us all. I fear it will make our leaders or potential leaders hesitant to pursue new courses if the old prove ineffective. That can’t be good for our country. Changing your mind in the correct direction is desirable. It shows prudence. It shows ability to discern truth and after that truth is discerned have the humility to admit you were wrong and pursue the truth. I am studying the text book The American Founding and it is simply fascinating how many times people changed their minds regarding the Constitution, changing from position to position over and over. We should all be grateful they did. There are a few changes that are just amazing. First Edmund Randolph who came to the Constitutional Convention and “submitted the Virginia Plan in the first place. He had been at the very center of this nationalist group. Now, with heavy heart, he said, he must withhold his own support of the final product.” Edmund Randolph did not sign The Constitution but later when it came time to debate The Constitution’s ratification, “the stage-handsome governor had undergone a change of heart worthy of Damascus Road. Not only was he for the Constitution, he was for it heart and soul, all ambivalence put aside.” Sam Adams staunchly opposed the Constitution, but latter came to support it. Patrick Henry the most fiery and unrepentant of Anti-Federalists during and after ratification, “ironically, in the last years of his life Henry’s fear of the radicalism inherent in the French Revolution caused him to take another look at American republicanism and, fearing it could become too radical, he joined the Federalist party.” Further, “another kind of capitulation occurred on the floors of state conventions after the deciding vote… there were speeches of apology and offers of reconciliation.” All of this change improved, unified and strengthened our country. Finally, on the day Benjamin Franklin signed The Constitution he made this speech:

Mr. President, I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve. But I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error…. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said, “I don’t know how it happens, Sister, but I meet with nobody but myself, that’s always in the right.”

Is it such a bad thing to have a presidential candidate who questions his own infallibility? Is it not a good thing to have a candidate who changes his mind when confronted with the truth? Don’t get me wrong I’m a Ron Paul supporter through and through, but the idea that Mitt Romney is a bad person, bad candidate, or can’t be trusted because he has changed his mind is simply ludicrous. Any way maybe I am the only one who finds this interesting, but I think it is a good historical example of why changing minds or positions can be good for our country and does not make someone ineligible to lead. After all James Madison broke with his fellow Federalist Paper authors to become the second Republican president, did that make him a flip-flopper?

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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