Friday, March 21, 2008

Too Quick to Pry and Judge?

Here's a letter I sent to the Salt Lake Tribune editorial page today:

I don't necessarily disagree with the points made by BYU law professor Lynn D. Wardle regarding the Elliot affair ("Infidelity by elected officials rightfully is a public issue," March 21). However, I think it's important to step back and acknowledge that it is within the realm of possibility for a political leader to be both a good leader and an immoral person in his private life.

I find justification for this assertion in the Book of Mormon itself, one of the key scriptures held as true by Wardle's sponsoring institution. The book of Ether tells us about a man named Morianton who rose to power. "And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king. And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms" (Ether 10:10-11).

So while Wardle is certainly right about the importance of example in public figures, perhaps we are too quick to pry and judge when it comes to politicians' personal lives. I say we should keep the spotlight firmly on their public service and be very slow to make an issue of their personal lives. After all, from today's perspective many of us would agree that Bill Clinton was overall a better leader of this nation than Bush, despite Clinton's whoredoms in his personal life.


RE said...

A worse issue, as far as the public is concerned, is not philandering but the hiding thereof. The hiding opens up the elected official to blackmailing, whether overt or inferred.

I don't expect politicians to be perfect. I expect them to be honest about not being perfect. The hypocrisy is rampant and disappointing.

Christopher Bigelow said...

This letter did run in today's Salt Lake Tribune, March 25, 2008.