No, I'm not going to turn my lovely writing blog into a political commentary blog. Politics generally interest me not at all, so you need not worry that I'll spend a lot of time on it. I just had to share this one little thought I had.
When I was in high school, I had an assignment to go to my library and read an article by Charles Krauthammer called In Praise of Mass Hypocrisy. If you have a subscription to TIME, you can read it yourself, here. I recommend it. As will become obvious, after reading it only once, it has stuck with me for... a long time.
The article starts by pointing out that, though the average American of the early '90's was (as the average American still is) rather, shall we say, lax in their personal standards of morality, they still demanded presidential candidates be upright, moral, and generally better than they expected themselves to be.
Then, just when I was getting all "My gosh, he's right! How can we expect the president to have better standards than the country he leads?" the article pointed out that this mass hypocrisy is A GOOD THING.
As I understood from Mr. Krauthammer's article, when the average American holds his elected officials to a higher standard, he is at least recognizing that a higher standard exists. And not only that it exists, but that it is obtainable, desirable, and a pretty good thing to have in someone who will be making decisions which will affect the world. It is an acknowledgement - subconscious, perhaps - that we, ourselves, as an average whole, aren't living up to the standards we admire. Which means that, maybe, most of us are still striving to improve. To attain that standard someday for ourselves.
The article closed by pointing out that the opposite would be much worse than a little hypocrisy. It gave me chills. What if we didn't have mass hypocrisy? What if we elected decision-makers who were every bit as flawed and imperfect and immoral and untruthful as the average American? What if we stopped expecting our leaders to live up to the higher standard? What if we stopped striving for it ourselves? What if we decided that the higher standard was simply unattainable, so it would be unfair and unrealistic to expect anyone to meet it?
This presidential race has me scared. Maybe I'm biased - I probably am - but when someone's past has been peppered with adultery, betrayed trust, failure to fulfill obligations in an ethical manner, and countless other indiscretions, it boggles my mind that so many Americans can hold that individual up as a great option for the leader of the free world.
Is mass hypocrisy dead?