COLUMN: America’s unhealthy fidelity obsession
I respect those willing to change their strongest beliefs.
It hasn’t been long since Republican candidate Mitt Romney received heated attacks for his propensity to “flip flop” on key policy stances.
I am admittedly no supporter of Romney, but I believe this particular criticism is indicative of a backward American conviction: That staying true to your beliefs is somehow more noble than altering your opinions.
I have great respect for those with strong opinions or individuals who stay true to their word. I have, however, no respect for those who live with unquestioned beliefs — those unwilling to critically evaluate their lives, thoughts and actions. To admit mistakes and change.
Americans are obsessed with fidelity, dedication and constancy, to a fault. It’s time to change.
When LeBron James announced “The Decision” in 2010, he was lambasted by media and fans for abandoning his hometown of Cleveland and moving to Miami to play for the Heat. I’m sorry America, life is not best lived statically, and relationships are not meant to last forever.
I admire LeBron for evaluating his life and being willing to abandon an area he was so powerfully tied to while making serious sacrifices in order to achieve his goals.
On the more serious topic of relationships, Americans have also readily ignored divorce statistics and continued blindly defining marriage as a union “until death do us part.”
Half of first marriages within the U.S. end in divorce, (http://www.divorce.usu.edu/files/uploads/Lesson3.pdf) and it isn’t a problem.
Lest you think divorce rates have climbed because couples no longer understand faithfulness, consider that it took until 1950 for South Carolina to legalize the process (http://molly.kalafut.org/marriage/divorce.html).
Rising divorce rates are a sign of naive propagation of the perfection of marriage meeting a newfound freedom to reevaluate the institution. It is brave of many to understand the impermanence of relationships and change their lives.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of cowards in infidelity. One should not take a change of mind lightly but should admit their ignorance readily.
Face it, not all of our opinions are correct and many are hardly worth arguing for. This being the case, it is natural, healthy and beneficial to alter individual convictions.
A presidential candidate should be willing to change when given good reason, but should not change policy stances for political gain.
Professional athletes should be able to make the best career decisions without being called unfaithful, but there also is more to team sports than what’s best for the individual athletes.
Divorce is often ugly and painful, not a refreshing new chance at life.
Fidelity definitely is a positive character trait. But America’s dedication to the notion that one always may “stick to their guns” and be respected for it is wholly detrimental to individual and collective progress. Search out the things you don’t know, adjust your opinions and don’t be afraid to stand up for your right to occasionally flip flop.
If you disagree, please change my mind.
Storm Dowd-Lukesh is an economics freshman.