A Healthy Debate

A regular commenter here, who I like to call “Perpetually Offended Tom” (although he uses the pseudonym, Tom Sawyer) was most recently offended because some other commenters gave him heck for being a tool. He thinks everyone was mad at him because he was trying to generate a “healthy debate”.

So, I’m going to make it a little easier for him to engage in a healthy debate by presenting a healthy, debatable topic:

Politicians and Sex Scandals

Britain was the world leader in political sex scandals for a long time (John Porfumo, Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies). America, is however, way ahead these days. Mark Sanford is the latest. Before him there were Clinton, Gary Hart, Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, Wayne Hays, etc., etc., etc.

Most of these people lost their political office because of their dalliances.

Oddly, in many other countries in the world, including Canada, nobody cares too much about their politicians sex life. (A side debate to this one could of course be whether or not Canadian politicians even have a sex life). Still I find it hard to believe that politicians in Canada are any snowier than American politicians. Yet, we never hear much about whatever it is they do or don’t do after work.

The odd thing catches the media’s fancy. Pierre Trudeau was quite the ladies man before he was married and after his divorce. He was reported out and about with a variety of hot celebrities (also once with Barbra Streisand). But those stories were written with a point of view of pride rather than shock.

And there are a few openly gay Parliamentarians. When they get married it makes the papers and a few people gasp and write letters when there’s a big photo of on the front page of their morning Sun of their MP kissing his new husband.

And once a couple of Parliamentarians dated each other and then broke up and one of the called the other one names and we had a bit of a field day with that. But other than that we don’t hear much of anything about our politicians’ personal lives – no “scandals”. And certainly none of these things have cost any of them a career. (In fact, I think, like France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, a little sexy stuff actually increases their popularity).

So the debate question is: Can someone with a mess of a personal life, which features betrayal, dishonesty, weakness, hypocrisy, lies and maybe even some weirdness – can such a person be trusted with a public office?