5/18/13

There are No More Political "Scandals" . . .

What a few weeks we've had for politics in America. We've got Wiener apparently shooting a TV commercial, Mark Sanford is back in office, AP reporter phones are being tapped, and the IRS apparently has a political agenda. In the meantime our Governor and Legislature here in Kansas can not seem to get a budget resolved publicly, our Congress and President can't seem to end the sequester, and - gasp - the Leader of the Free World does not hold his (and eventually her, I hope) own umbrella.

Let me be clear on my own politics . . . I'm a registered Democrat. I voted for a third party candidate for the first time in my life in 2012. I was way, way more liberal when I moved to Kansas than I am now (I would dare say I'm a true "moderate" at this point if you graphed out all my positions and looked at the graph from 30,000 feet away). I'm also a life-long political lover and once aspired to fill my professional days helping politicians better communicate and educating younger people on the impact of communication on political efforts. If you combine all that and net it out here's the point . . .

There are NO more political "scandals." A scandal, by its definition, is an action or event that causes public outrage. And, by now, there is no more real "outrage" because we're no longer surprised, upset, or offended by any thing our elected officials do. Sure - there are short moments of outrage (the guy that was having sexual affairs with under-aged pages and the (proven to be false) allegations that a congressman killed his mistress come to mind) but even those are fleeting because each "side of the aisle" takes those moments and immediately picks an incident from "across" the aisle and either raises or lessens the context of "this" moment to be more/just like "that" moment until we go . . . a consensual affair between an (alleged) 23 year old employee who initiated and the President and a Congressman who (allegedly) had actual sex with young boys is discussed as being one-in-the-same by calling both victims (and, yes, I'll agree that Monica Lewinsky is probably a victim of Bill Clinton's power) "interns" and pretending both men who had the sex are equally monstrous in intent and deed.

How about THIS . . . we stop with the finger pointing, the escalating/deescalating to make "this one" the "same" as "that one" and we actually start to hold those that we elect and entrust to be our the best version of us we can find in any one jurisdiction and when they betray, misuse, or just plain waste that trust we immediately hold them accountable (at least vote them out the next time we can if not encourage them to be help responsible in the moment of their contempt). And let's STOP trying to imply that President Obama not holding his own umbrella (there are photos of 50 years of Presidents having umbrellas and other things held for them and if he DID hold his own umbrella people would complain about that, too) is the same thing as people in his administration snooping on reporters and making lives difficult for political opponents.

To make it all the same ensures that nothing will be taken seriously and that there will never again be a political scandal that Americans can really "unite" behind to get more from those who should lead by example versus follow by mutual guilt.