We can't expect people to be perfect, whether they are people in government or otherwise. Morally speaking, I am no shining example in terms of my life and the choices I've made, just like most other people. I have made a lot of mistakes in my past, and, when it comes to my personal life, I expect to make more, and in fact relish the experience at times and the growth that comes from it – that's the luxury of not being in such a position and knowing you never will be. Thus, like most other people, I am not seeking elected office nor do I ever intend to. For the normal private sector jobs that I would be going for, it is not and has not ever been required. I don't intend to be the face of a company that would become embroiled in scandal based on my past or present life. Even in the private sector – my goals, pursuits and interests are very average, basic and modest. As far as becoming involved in politics and/or government, other than positing my opinion online, that will never happen. Never.
However, when someone is to be representing me I do require that they have their stuff together somewhat. Their past does not have to be spotless, and in fact I have never once met a person that had a spotless past. People learn in life by making mistakes, and, speaking metaphorically, I would not want a person in charge of a stove that had never been burned by the heat at least, once, even for a moment, and especially if that stove were located in a building that I was to be spending a lot of time in, had loved ones in and/or had a financial stake in.
In fact, to me, the bigger their mistakes, the more I may tend to like them as individuals, even more so if they managed to change their lives and turn themselves around afterwards. That's what builds character. My father was a drummer, and I have been around musicians my whole life, and most musicians have a bit of scoundrel in them somewhere to one extent or another – I'm no different and that's been put to the test. People that have never been tested – are just that, untested. Going into everyday situations that's just fine, but in positions of heavy responsibility, you want people that have been tested – in more than one way.
When it comes to the government there are a few positions of responsibility that go beyond those levels considered normal. Likewise, there are elected government positions that go beyond the average levels of being in the spotlight. These are few and far between, but they incorporate a very delicate balance requiring the ability of the officeholder to handle sensitive government information, remain professional in their job at all times and also to stay clean outside of their job.
If they had a few indiscretions on their way to the job and then learned and stayed clean comporting themselves with discretion and professionalism along the way as an example of what a person in such a position can do, especially as a representative of our government and of our country, then that's what we need for such positions. Even when a person has erred and then changed, there are just some backgrounds we know will never be suitable for such high profile jobs.
I mean it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a person that's a convicted felon and worked in the porn industry, as an extreme example, would ever get elected to any sensitive high profile government positions in our country – or any other country for that matter. It has never happened and probably never will happen. We like rogue elements, scoundrels and people with repeatedly scandalous backgrounds in the movies and in our music, but not in high offices. They can do a great many other jobs in the world and especially the private sector, just not one of those select few that make them the face of our nation's government – that's life, that's reality.
But, if they experimented with drugs, got into a little bit of trouble, cheated on their spouse [a very limited number of times (like one)], didn't pay taxes, etc. twenty years ago, but then got it together and stayed clean that's just an indication of character – good character.
Sometimes people do things and don't get caught, and people protect them and look the other way as they progress up the ladder because of selfish interests. Yet, that almost never turns out to be a good situation, and it certainly does not instill the need for personal discipline and well rounded character.
The people that break those rules as they progress and get away with it and have it excused, covered up and spun just begin to feel special, entitled and somehow beyond reproach. They feel as though they can't be touched and have no reason to apologize, to seek help for their problems or to even admit that they even have a problem that needs to be curbed – unless they feel it suits their political ambitions. However, that's not the same as the level of sincerity required to bring actual true change. In their mind it becomes their right and their privilege as if they go around somehow breathing different air than the rest of us. Really, the people that enabled them let us down as much as the person perpetrating the indiscretions, flaws and/or crimes. They should have warned us. After all, when we are talking positions of great import to the nation it was and is no laughing matter.
When it catches up to the perpetrators, it's often like they are in disbelief or feel as though they should have been able to continue on the way they were. It's like they were interrupted and inconvenienced, as if the trespasses they were committing were their right. But they weren't.
Their positions of extra responsibility, visibility and as the face of their government and their nation does not mean they may dip into the honey jar more than the rest of us. In fact it means they must live their lives with far more restraint than the rest of us. People prone to doing such things on their way into office should be vetted and screened out. It's something we all feel, yet somehow those handling candidates up for election and grooming people in other forms of government service for top spots sometimes feel they have the right to keep such things secret. As long as it gets them what they want, why should they care about the majority of Americans?
When those that have been enabled's sense of entitlement and of being beyond reproach catches up to them, they end up affecting us all. It makes us look foolish as people that supported them and their careers. Further, it makes us look like a nation of dolts. We are supposed to be the most powerful nation in the world, an example to the rest of the world, and what do we say about our ability to choose and vet people for important positions when such things happen? If a person betrays and embarrasses the nation in such a high profile way, do we appoint them to the same position again after they have been kicked out of that position or even to a supporting role after betraying us – especially after we have thousands if not millions of other Americans to choose from? We would be absolutely stupid to do so, and as such, if we knew ahead of time we never would have appointed them in the first place.
And how do we explain to our children that there are people above the law if we did such things? How do we teach them about consequences and about how we are all subject to them, when, in knowing there are thousands if not millions of other people to choose from for such positions, we go back to those that smashed things so badly in the first place? They can redeem themselves by doing speeches, supporting others, writing books, etc as Richard Nixon did, but would we put him in the White House in any position again, especially when there are thousands if not millions of other people to choose from? Why would we? Who would be so stupid? Who would push such a ridiculous narrow minded option when there are so many other choices?
When people betray our trust through their own personal shortcomings, we should learn from the example and do a better job of vetting in the future. It's just too complicated and frankly messy otherwise. We just end up paying the price for the problems of others, like the way we pay for the war between the Bloods and the Crips, the Surenos and Nortenos and of course the Israelis and Palestinians. There should be better more adult ways of going about these things.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.