Lisa D. Burrell
Saint Leo University
The Conduct of Political Figures in Their Private Lives
Everyday we hear of someone having an affair. One of the most recent was David Letterman. Letterman is not an elected official; he is an entertainer and simply performs for our enjoyment. It is our choice to watch him or not, he has no obligation to us and we have none to him. However, the "obligation" between the people and their political leaders is much more serious. We expect our leaders to behave in morally responsible ways. To imply that celebrities have the same moral and ethical obligations to the public as our political leaders cheapens the gravity of the social contract we have with political leaders. But does that make us hypocrites to say one is okay and the other is not simply because of what they do in their professions? After all adultery is a sin against God and morally wrong.
When a person decides to become a political figure they are accountable to answer to the people that have placed trust in them to perform their job duties. But, are they accountable for things that happen in their private lives? A debate continues to seethe over the privacy of politicians and their private lives. The biggest question is whether sexual conduct has any bearing on how a public official carries out their duties. On one side you have those that believe sexual misconduct is a sign that a political figure does not have a solid moral background and that the public has the right to know this intimate detail. On the other side you have those who take the frank view that as long as a public leader is "doing a good job," their sexual conduct should be of no importance and that the public has no right to know this information.
“When people are involved in public events there can be no objection on privacy grounds to the press reporting what is already known, together with non-intrusive background or... [continues]
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