Stop Shaming People For Evolving Their Opinions


Social media - and Al Gore’s Internet - are a gift and a curse. We have more information at our fingertips than at any other point of our history. We have the ability to connect with people around the world. Social media has created careers (and wealth), facilitated marriages and sparked connections between people who otherwise would have been strangers. But social media doesn’t mitigate or change human behavior, and we act just as ugly online as we do IRL.

Social media, especially Twitter, is a time capsule of sorts. We can see what we’ve shared at a particular point in time in our lives, and there are even apps designed specifically to show you what you shared on this same date in previous years. Most of the time I enjoy using Timehop or Facebook Memories and seeing my previous content, but there is the occasional moment where I see something I posted years ago and I cringe. Sometimes it’s because I’ve shared an opinion that doesn’t jive with my current outlook. And it’s in those moments that I’m really lucky to not have people searching my own tweets and sharing screenshots for the world to see.

We really gotta stop cancelling folks or throwing their old opinions in people’s faces.

We’re all allowed to evolve and grow in our opinions.

I mean, isn’t that what we want from people?

Back in the day, everybody had a personal blog, including me. We were all in college or fresh out of school, trying to figure out the world and who we were as people. A blogger once wrote that she feared what life would be like as a single mother, a “baby mama” and she vowed to not become one. And then life came at her hella fast, and she became the very thing that she vowed so many years ago not to be - a baby mama. The Internet, much like The North, never forgets and they never fail to remind her about the words she wrote so many years ago, when she was young and a bit naive. To a lot of folks, it’s a joke - “ha ha ha she became the thing she had so much disdain for!” To me, it’s shortsighted. Yes, it’s probably not a good idea to make firm pronouncements in public, but who hasn’t done that? Youth leads you to see life in a firm black-and-white, with no shades of gray, and without the context of wisdom to understand that life is more complicated than we think.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I talked on Twitter about how much our life views have changed, over the past ten years. She mentioned how she’d grown up with certain beliefs that were passed down by her parents, and that she had to challenge herself to evaluate those beliefs for validity. That self-reflection led her to change her belief system and evolve into a different person, along with age and a lot of life experiences. This is the growth that we want from people!

Last week, Uncle Joe changed his position on abortion, in regards to the Hyde Amendment. Was her just pandering? IDK. I hope not. But if he’s not, and he’s truly moved, why would we down him for that? Our forever POTUS Barack Obama famously evolved his position on gay marriage, as he should have. And he shouldn’t get flack for that. We should WANT people to grow and evolve over time, no matter their age!

I’m tired of seeing folks dig up old tweets or blog posts to prove that someone is secretly terrible. If they are truly terrible, we’ll find out! Why can’t we give people the benefit of the doubt, and believe that they’ve simply changed their opinions on a subject?

Or is that too much like right in our age of hot takes and screenshots?