John Andrist: Is Changing Your Mind Good or Bad?


Is a change of mind an admirable quality, a demonstration that you have continued to evaluate your position?

Or is a flip-flop, a derogatory term for not holding true to a principle, through every conceivable means of resistance?

Perhaps it depends if you were on the other side and have come to agree with my new thinking — or if you agreed with me earlier, but have concluded I have now deserted you.

I was thinking about that when I read a headline that said, “Cramer accused of ‘flip-flopping’ on Paris Accords”.

The accusation predictably came from his adversarial Democratic NPL party. And yet this same organization has persistently found fault with there own Senator Heidi Heitkamp, for not consistently opposing all things Trump.

Well, here’s my dirty little secret: I frequently changed my mind in my Senate career.

Often you get new information that causes the change in mind-set. Other times I may have done it for expediency, realizing that swimming against the current wasn’t getting me anyplace, and was impairing my effectiveness on other issues. Then again looking at some things through “old eyes” brings new perspective for most of us.

When I started my legislative life, some of my friends expected me to vote no on just about everything. Stand on principle!

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…principle without pragmatism is at the dead end of a street called gridlock.[/mks_pullquote]

But like Heidi I soon learned the most important attribute is the realization that principle without pragmatism is at the dead end of a street called gridlock.

It may be true Republicans too quickly dismissed most things President Obama proposed.

But it is eminently clear that Washington Dems are tuned to nothing about participation and everything about resistance.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In the last North Dakota legislative session Democrat members were few enough to meet in a clothes closet.

But by crafting a thought-based resistance they became meaningfully relevant.

A lake home on dry land

In the Red River Valley so many folks have lake homes that it could make you feel deprived not to have one. Unless you are like me.

I never really wanted a lake place. I enjoyed visiting lakes. They are so tranquil I think they are wonderful for a 20-minute meditation. . . or for a nice overnight.

An occasional boat ride can be enjoyable too, but not exciting enough for me to buy or tow one of the things.

I love a 10-minute dip in the water and adore seafood. But sitting around all day waiting for a bite? No thanks.

I may have been influenced by my wife for not swallowing all the water in a lake home. She rarely used her bathing suit.

Perhaps we share a genetic defect, because none of my children have had lake homes. Only one of the three Fargoans likes fishing.

My things were golfing, biking, hiking, cross country and exploring.

I think my lake place was Medora. I never get tired of going there. To me Medora is so, so, so — North Dakota.

I went there last week. Sure, it’s beautiful and full of entertainment. But the thing that keeps bringing me back is the reunion atmosphere — the feeling that you are at a reunion of close friends.

Nobody ever seems to have a bad day in Medora.

Most of us devotees see it not as a destination, as much as a feeling.

Last week was bitter sweet. It was my last as a Medora Foundation board member — and the first for Grandson Levi, my soul mate.

And my whole family was there at the same time. No lake place could possibly offer more bliss.

Medora is one of the greatest opportunities with which I have been blessed in an active life. Just between you and me, I think it is also God’s lake home.

When the call comes to me I plan to be buried at Crosby, near Elaine, my dad and mom, and my brother Cal. But Medora would be my second choice. My heart is still in both places.