In the Politics of Sin and Cynicism, Does Infidelity Matter?

Election Day in 2012 will mark the seventh time that I have been eligible to cast a vote for the President of the United States. While the prestige of the office of President has been diminished by the ever increasing divisiveness among the two major political parties, as well as periods of scandals in past years, the position of U.S. President remains a high calling. Our president is not just the leader of our country, but remains the de facto leader of the “free world”; it is important that we chose our leader wisely. I personally take the responsibility to choose wisely very seriously.

When choosing a candidate to support, I watch debates and scan the news for the candidates’ positions on concerns that I care about. If the candidate has held, or is holding political office, I look at what legislation this candidate has proposed, or how that candidate voted. I am most concerned with whether or not a candidate “kept their word” by voting in accordance with their prior campaign promises. For candidates without office, I like to read news articles about what sort of business and education decisions this candidate has made in the past. When researching my choice, I often ask myself, should a candidate’s conduct in their personal life have any bearing on how any of us vote? If a candidate has a prior history of cheating on a spouse, or some other personal character flaw, should that be enough to disqualify that person from holding our highest office if they are otherwise qualified for the position?

The allegations of infidelity against Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, as well as similar allegations against past Presidents such as Bill Clinton, and contenders such as Gary Hart, are nothing new. Some might view my opinion as cynical, but I believe that when we are deciding upon our leader, we should be most concerned with electing an individual who would best serve our citizens’ domestic and international interests rather than being so concerned with flaws in candidates’ personal lives. We are all flawed in some sense. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a presidential candidate that is “without blemish” in their personal life. Unfortunately, I do not believe that any of us are ready to rise above our collective hypocrisy and vote for candidates who are best suited for the position based on their performance in their professional lives, but who are hampered by the personal shortcomings or “sins” that afflict many Americans in their own personal lives. While I can forgive a friend, or a spouse, that cheated, I would never vote for them.

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