Do we expect too much from our politicians?

February 11, 2007 4:12am CST
Ok, I'm talking here about politicians and their private lives. Today in the UK there's a big deal being made about the head of the Conservatives having smoked a joint when he was at school. It seems that the media is very keen to jump on this, and I can't help feeling that we expect too much from our politicians. They are human after all (well most of them at least!) and therefore they had private lives, they probably all did things they regret as part of growing up. Surely everyone does. So why then does the media insist on whipping up a storm about these things. Sure, if the individuals were doing things that were counter to the law whilst in office then that is a totally different issue, but I am talking about having done the odd stupid thing whilst growing up, should the politicians or people in public life be judged on that now?
2 people like this
10 responses
@steerpyke (396)
11 Feb 07
Whilst i believe that Cameron, like all politicians should be allowed a past and a private life, the point is here that he has gone to great lengths to oppose the leagalisation arguement making his past actions a touch hypocritical. The same as Ruth Kelly choosing a private school for here familly whilst telling us that state schools are good enough for the rest of us. Most politicians in the UK are self serving and hypocrites.
2 people like this
@jan1972 (80)
11 Feb 07
They should not be judged on what they have done in the past, but if they want our trust and respect they should have the decency to be honest and open about what they have done. Usually politicians try to hide what they have got up to in their private lives, which is why we judge them so badly when something gets out.
2 people like this
11 Feb 07
excellent point jan1972, thanks for that. I agree with you, generally if people are open and honest, there may be a bit of a backlash but most grown ups are wise enough to judge a person on merit for their adult life now rather than private life of the past. Thanks again.
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
12 Feb 07
Everyone has something in their past that they regret. Their is no reason to hold something from the past against them. The issue of smoking a joint has come up a few time in the US. It finally came down to the issue of whether or not someone actually inhaled. The individual involved claimed he did not. The media is nuts anyway, I think that is a requirement of the job. No one should be judged for the same silly mistakes that everyone else makes anyway.
1 person likes this
12 Feb 07
Hi Destiny007, yes I remember that a few years ago about whether they inhaled or not, what a ludicrous argument. Humans are falible, they make mistakes and do stupid things, it's part of life, it's part of growing up and maturing. Even in later life we all do silly things. Mostly those things aren't intentionally done to cause harm, offence or upset. I still think that if you have someone in office preaching one thing but doing another, then that is a very different thing to having made a mistake years ago and having a different view of that action later in life. Thanks again for your comment.
• United States
12 Feb 07
I agree that people do seem to judge most politicians more harshly than just average people. Like you said they are human and they do make mistakes. When they were younger most of them probably weren't thinking about their actions effecting them when they are older. Most young people tend not to think of the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, their lives are under microscopes and so being honest about their mistakes and what they've learned from them probably would be best. But most politicians would never do that.
1 person likes this
@4ftfingers (1314)
11 Feb 07
to be honest i think revelations liek that are a credit to any politician. without generalising, i don't know how the older gneration will view it, but to me it just shows he aint a lifeless robot, without life experiences. with certain thigns, if you're going to be involved in debate over them, you have to have experienced them to know what you're talking about. the law concerning smoking cannabis is becoming more and more relaxed, and i would imagine alot of people are using it at the moment, so maybe there will be alot of debate on the issue in the near future. but politicians should know by now exactly what they are getting themselves into. the tabloids have been harassing them for years. the job of a politician is clearly a stressfull one but only a certain type of person would want to run the county so i'm sure it's a small price to pay for them
1 person likes this
12 Feb 07
Hello 4ftfingers, thanks for your comments. I agree with you that it is better that politicians have some sense of normality about them, some experiences and weaknesses along with the rest of the people that they are supposed to represent. I agree too that a debate around cannabis is something that is needed, but as i indicated above I didn't really want to get involved with that here.
• United States
11 Feb 07
Yes we expect too much. Almost all politicians in the Philippines are corrupt and we're expecting them to actually think of us the people and not themselves. But we're only kidding ourselves really, I think it's too much to ask them to be honest.
1 person likes this
11 Feb 07
Thank you for your comment marief2rnurse. I would have to disagree with you, because I think that if a person goes into politics then they must not be corrupt, they are there as servants to those that elected them and must hold the position in office with integrety. I know that doesn't always happen but that's what they are there for.
@kunalvijan (3422)
• India
11 Feb 07
no.. politics are just gud 4 nothing
11 Feb 07
Thanks for your comment, but surely we need politicians and people in power to ensure that the country remains stable and keeps law and order.
• Netherlands
18 May 07
I don't think the politician should be judge with the odd stupid things whilst growing up as long as proven that they are clean during and after election not just cover it up. Because alot of politicians also make promises but soon as they got elected...promises only stay as promises...reality says different...
@bluewings (3857)
8 Mar 07
I don't think we should be judging our politicians by their private lives from the past ,unless it's detrimental to the present office he occupies.News like the head of party used to run a trafficking racket or leaked papers in his college days won't speak highly about his morality.Though it might be in past and he could have changed since then,public perception of the person is largely based on which part of his life is highlighted and hence,his image might take a beating with that kind of news.However,when it's something entirely private ,I don't think we should try reading too much into it or atleast form an inflexible conclusion about the person based on those facts,especially,if we know to have performed well as a politician in his 'present'.
@Smith2028 (797)
• United States
18 Feb 07
Everyone seems to forget that before they were elected, politicians were people too. They grew up doing the same things that every other normal kid did.