City Times

Equal standards for public figures

Adam Baird and Elizabeth Carson

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Treating politicians the way you’d want to be treated

Any public figure, whether it be a celebrity or a politician, can expect to lose a certain amount of privacy. But how much of their personal lives should matter to the public? Just because we can access personal information doesn’t mean we should, and just because information has been collected doesn’t mean that it’s relevant. 

With access to information on millions of people available to any lonely kid with a Wi-Fi connection, the world today is not as private as it once was. Anybody with a Facebook account could be considered a ‘public figure,’ even if their page only has a few hundred views. So why do we hold politicians and members of the military to a higher moral code than we do with our celebrities, or even ourselves?

The leaders of nations are still human themselves, so expecting them to act like saints in their personal lives is like asking children to act like adults. To think of them as having moved beyond the basic carnal desires that the rest of us have is highly naive. They may be on their best behavior while you’re watching, but the second your back is turned, they’ll do as they please.

The idea that politicians should be above reproach is too idealistic. Of course, we want the men and women that represent us on a national level to be the best specimens that our country has to offer… but they also need to be a true and accurate representation of what this country is about.

There should never be a reason to call for a politician to resign because they had an affair. Nor should they feel that they must resign because they were caught being unfaithful. It’s not like Brad Pitt was asked to stop acting when he cheated on Jennifer Aniston, and you wouldn’t ask your co-worker to quit because they were cheating on their boyfriend. 

If we believe that everyone has a certain level of expected privacy, it should be demonstrated in the way we treat all of our public figures. Unless you’d be willing to air all of your dirty laundry on CNN, you shouldn’t expect anybody else to do it. Before we judge people who have chosen a career that puts them in the pubic eye, we need to look at ourselves. 

Equality isn’t just about race or sex; it also applies to socioeconomic status. Every single person deserves the exact same treatment despite his or her chosen profession or security clearance. If you wouldn’t condemn your best friend for cheating on his wife, then you shouldn’t hold a public figure up to a different standard for doing the same thing.

If we are still in love with Brad Pitt, despite his cheating ways, then we should still have confidence in David Petraeus; your personal life and politics shouldn’t mix. Besides, can you think of a time that your pillow talk involved national security?

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Equal standards for public figures